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Attendance records could fall as 2006 AHR Expo visits one of its most popular destinations

Based on the number of companies that have reserved space for AHR Expo 2006 in the North and South Buildings of Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center, Jan. 23-25, as well as a number of planned show enhancements, the event promises to be one of the biggest in the AHR Expo’s 76-year history.

According to show management, more than 1,600 companies have signed up to exhibit in the 2006 Expo and 350,000 square feet of exhibit space has been sold. Last year’s February show in Orlando, Fla., set the new record for number of exhibitors with 1,871 companies occupying 372,955 square feet of space. However, Chicago is historically the site of the largest AHR Expos and still holds the record for number of attendees (59,079, including 38,224 visitors) and square footage (400,416).

‘It’s hard to predict at this point in time whether AHR 2006 will surpass our all-time records,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Company, which manages and produces the AHR Expo. ‘However, we do know that our largest shows are always in Chicago and that we have some special features this year that will attract new attendees and exhibitors.”

Stevens said there are several reasons why the show does so well in the Windy City:

It is within a relatively short distance of several major metropolitan areas.
It is home to one of the largest regional manufacturing areas.
It is the center of a huge commercial and residential HVAC base.
It is the headquarters for many HVAC companies and consulting firms.
It is consistently ranked as ‘the No. 1 city in which to do business.”
It is centrally located geographically with the world’s busiest airport.

‘Chicago has always been a great place for the show and if the economy continues to improve, we could see some new records this January,” Stevens added.
Many new enhancements and features have been added to the AHR Expo over the last few shows that have made the event even more valuable to attendees. Among these enhancements are:

A special focus on Green Buildings, featuring ‘green” exhibitors, and conference sessions by the United States Green Building Council.
A variety of association-sponsored sessions, in addition to the ASHRAE conference program, short courses and a free public session, all on such topical subjects as building automation/integration, SEER 13, IAQ and many others.
An expanding New Product Technology Theater where leading companies present brief previews of their latest technologies and products throughout the three-day show.
Two Special Product Sections: the Building Automation & Control Showcase and the Software Center.

This year, AHR Expo will be hosting ‘Radiant House” with installation demonstrations during the show. Designed to provide attendees with the latest information on energy-efficient products, the event will feature a wood-frame structure in which various radiant heating suppliers will give live demonstrations of their products being installed.

‘The Radiant House is a wonderful opportunity for our exhibitors to showcase their latest products to a very focused target market,” said Stevens.

Installations in the Radiant House will include radiant floor tubing, electric elements, pre-manufactured floor and wall panels, ceiling installations, insulation, controls and more. A complete list of companies showcasing their products, and installations, with a schedule of demonstrations, will be displayed at the house on the AHR Expo show floor.

On the educational front, ASHRAE and its Learning Institute will offer an extensive selection of continuing education courses at the AHR Expo.

Attendees can earn continuing education credit for each course they complete at the show: all PDSs carry .6 Professional Development Hours, .6 Continuing Education Units or 6 American Institute of Architect Learning Units. Short Courses carry .3 PDHs, .3 CEUs or 3 AIA LUs.

Visit www.ashrae.org for the latest information about the ASHRAE Winter Meeting. A listing of TC/SPC/TG/GPC meeting schedules is available.

Stevens believes that the main reason that AHR Expo continues to be the leading HVAC/R show in the world year after year is that it provides great value to attendees and exhibitors. According to over 500 responses to a recent survey of 2005 AHR Expo visitors, 95 percent said they ‘found products or information at the show that they can use to improve their business.”

When asked to rate the importance of several factors in attending the show, visitors said:

Finding new/upgraded products: 92 percent said very important or somewhat important.
Finding new suppliers: 83 percent very important (47 percent) or somewhat important (36 percent).
Opportunity to network: 73 percent very important (37 percent) or somewhat important (36 percent).

This year, over 40,000 buyers from 50 states and over 100 countries are expected to attend. The trade show hours are:

Monday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | FON

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