A tough economy and shrinking sales did not keep attendees away from the 2009 International Roofing Expo, which took place Feb. 3-5 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

DALLAS - A tough economy and shrinking sales did not keep attendees away from the 2009 International Roofing Expo, which took place Feb. 3-5 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Total attendance was 7,472, with verified attendees just 367 less than the 2008 show. Participants at this year’s event came from all segments of the roofing industry, including commercial and residential contractors, builders, remodelers, building owners, facility managers, manufacturers, architects, engineers and other ancillary industry professionals.

“We’re very pleased the International Roofing Expo was a tremendous success for both exhibitors and attendees,” said Donna Bellantone, Director of the Expo. “With solid attendance during a tough economy, the show continues to deliver a valuable service as the leading industry event for products, education and networking in the roofing industry.” Attendees represented all 50 states, with the largest number from California, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Georgia, New York, Nevada, Florida, New Jersey and Wisconsin. The largest number of international attendees came from Canada, Mexico, Czech Republic, Mongolia, Australia, China, Italy, Philippines, Barbados, Colombia and Japan.

Attendees were amazed with the show and especially with the product selection. “In a down economy, I need new ideas and niches in this market, the show gave me just that with an explosion of new ideas,” said John Marks, Betz Bros Building Supply, Celestine, IN, who attended for the first time.

Exhibit Hall

With 95,000 net square feet of exhibit space and 359 exhibiting companies, the tradeshow floor featured an array of products, new value-added services and the most innovative ideas in roofing materials and related products, including gutters, insulation, ladders, coatings/adhesives, built up, fasteners, machinery equipment/tools, metal roofing, modified bitumen, roof/decking materials, roof pavers, walkways/ballast, shingles, skylights, slate, spray polyurethane foam, tile, vapor retarders, ventilation, waterproofing, and much more.

Energy filled the exhibit halls and exhibitors were pleased with three days of steady traffic and solid attendance. “We received quality contacts at the show, which exceeded my expectations,” said Michael Gray, National Sales Director, RMI, Inc. “The show was a success.”

“Our booth met our attendance expectation,” said Erik Berg, Applications Manager, Umicore Building Products USA. “We were quite happy with the quality of the visitors we had.”

“The show was successful for us in terms of booth traffic and qualified attendees,” said Bill Lyon, Director of Marketing, Dow Roofing Systems. “The show was very successful this year with many quality sales opportunities generated,” said Kathy Fakas, Underwriters Laboratories.

Of the 359 exhibiting companies, 58 were first-time exhibitors or exhibitors who haven’t exhibited in several years, including Lumeta, Suntech America, Wheeling Corrugating Company/Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp, ACM and Steelrock Roof Products. “The 2009 IRE gave us good exposure to a broad variety of roofing professionals,” said first-time exhibitor, Erik Ehinger, PPG Industries, Inc.

Educational Conference

In addition to the show floor’s buying and selling activity, the Expo’s educational conference featured 48 educational sessions addressing a myriad of industry issues, including 10 technical and 4 workplace safety classes, as well as 34 business-related sessions including leadership/management, green building, legal/HR, money matters, sales/service and general business. Of the course, 92 percent offered new topics, with six of last year’s most popular sessions back due to high demand.

“I was challenged by the high level of knowledge, professionalism and attention to detail in the sessions,” said Bob Burns, Rooftop Equipment Inc, New Wilmington, Pa. “As I listened to the panel of roofing professionals I was motivated to a higher level of excellence in my own business. I came away with some new ideas for the coming year.”

Attendance was strong in both the business and technical classes, reinforcing the industry's desire to pursue excellence in all areas of the roofing construction and maintenance industry.

Due to the packed classes last year that focused on eco-friendly topics, a new Green Building track was introduced this year with 10 classes dedicated to energy efficiency, green roofs, solar energy and how the green movement affects the roofing industry.

Show Floor Highlights and Special Events

The New Product Pavilion continued to be a popular stop for attendees looking for 20 of the latest, most innovative products and hottest industry trends.

RoofLogic Mobile was voted “Best New Product” for its handheld technology that allows roofing professionals to collect inspection and job information right on the rooftop, complete with drawings and photos. The second place winner was Bilgin Roof Dock, which offers roofing professionals a lifetime of secure roof access and ladder docking safety. Capturing third place was Chicago Clamp Company's Framing Clamp System – Tube Frame, allow contractors to frame roof openings and support roof loads without welding or drilling holes.

Other participants included AccuLynx.com, Amerisafe, Appian Way Sales, Architectural Building Components, Cosella-Dorken Products, DECRA Roofing Systems, Duraflo-Canplas Industries, East Coast Roof Specialties, ES Products, GeoEstimator, Metal Sales Manufacturing, National Coatings Corp., The New England Slate Co., Perma-Coat, Professional Engineering Co., PWT and Turtle Plastics (Cleveland Reclaim).

“The 2009 IRE was our ‘patented product launch and introduction’ to the industry,” said Todd Dauterman, President, Bilgin Roof Dock. “We felt the show was a great success and through our participation in the New Product Pavilion, we are exactly where we needed to be.”

Another exciting pavilion generating buzz was the launch of the Green Pavilion, sponsored by Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (CEIR). This new area highlighted 18 of the latest environmentally friendly and energy-efficient pool/spa maintenance products and services. Along with CEIR, participants included AccuLynx.com, Advanced Green Technologies, Columbia Green Technologies, Custom-Bilt Metals, Dinoflex Group, Firestone Building Products, GAF Materials, Geocel, Grease Guard, Metacrylics Roof Coatings, OMG Roofing Products, RainTube, Sika Sarnail, SofSurfaces, Tremco, Turtle Plastics (Cleveland Reclaim) and W.H. Maze Co.

Attendees added an extra dimension to their learning process by sharpening their skills at Live Demonstrations. Held on the first day of the show, demonstrations were presented by On Center software, Carlisle SynTec, Fleetmatics and Professional Engineering Co., with topics covering electronic plans, green building, metal coils, and GPS tracking.

Through the Exhibitor Product Clinics, Grace Construction, DaVinci Roofscapes and OMG held 19 clinics that taught attendees tricks, tips and detailed instructions of their products and services.

In lieu of a Keynote Address by NBA star Bill Walton, who had to cancel due to health reasons, a Power Panel, “What You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive,” was held on Tuesday, Feb. 3. Five of the key players and best forward-thinking minds in the industry discussed their insights on the current state of the roofing industry, emerging roofing technologies, economic trends, issues facing the roofing industry and future growth.

Moderated by Bill Good, Executive Vice President of NRCA, the panel included Keith Rozolis, Executive VP of Strategic Marketing & Planning, ABC Supply Co., Mike Vall, President, Firestone Building Products, Bob Tafaro, President & CEO, GAF, Fred Stephan, Vice President & General Manager, Johns Manville, and Marcelino Susas, Vice President and General Manager – Americas, United Solar Ovonic.

The opening night Welcome Party on Tuesday, Feb. 3 was held at TAO at the Venetian Hotel. This high-energy event attracted nearly 800 show participants who enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and soda, while mixing and mingling with old friends, networking with industry leaders and innovators.

Start Planning for 2010

The 2010 International Roofing Expo will be held Feb. 22-24 (Monday through Wednesday) at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. The educational conference will feature 45-50 sessions, with most sessions offering continuing education hours.

About the International Roofing Expo

Formerly owned by NRCA, the show was sold to Hanley Wood Exhibitions in May 2004. The official show sponsor is NRCA; the official show publication is Roofing Contractor; and the official residential publication is Replacement Contractor. For more information, contact Hanley Wood Exhibitions at 972-536-6415 or visit www.TheRoofingExpo.com.