The AHR Expo returned to the Las Vegas Convention Center, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, after show organizers had to cancel last year’s rendition.
Despite the show operating under mask mandates and inclement weather in the Northeast the weekend before opening day, a total of 30,678 people attended the show to view products and services on display at 1,573 exhibitors spread out over almost 444,000 square feet in the center’s Central and North halls
“It was impossible to miss the energy in the halls this year,” said Mark Stevens, show manager. “There have been some heavy ups and downs across the industry in recent years and we, as a community, needed to feel the inspiration that happens when we gather together under one roof. The 2022 AHR Expo surpassed any expectation — our exhibitors, attendees, associations, speakers and everyone involved made this event one of the most special we’ve ever hosted. If you were there, the camaraderie was hard to miss. This industry is strong and we are back on track to tackle the challenges before us.”
While we attended some live trade shows toward the end of 2021, AHR Expo marked a great return to more face-to-face meetings after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In fact, a week after the AHR Expo concluded, more than 70,000 home-building professionals and kitchen and bath remodelers filled the exhibit halls of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for the annual Design & Construction Week, comprised of the NAHB International Builders' Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.
In all, DCW featured nearly 1,200 exhibitors occupying approximately 725,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibits.
Taco Leads Off
If it’s 9 a.m. on the first day of the AHR Expo (keep in mind, the trade show starts at 10 a.m.) then you know it’s time to start the week with Taco’s annual press breakfast at the company’s booth.
Cheryl Merchant, CEO of Taco Comfort Solutions, begin the event with remarks on staying in touch with PHCPPros during the pandemic.
“Even though it has been two years, Taco never went away,” she said. “We fired up our online training and through Taco After Dark and Taco Tuesdays, 62,000 people took part in training.”
Merchant also reviewed how Taco continues to innovate with product introductions, including 40 new ECMs and 30 stainless steel plumbing products in the past five years.
She also outlined what Taco has been doing to keep its employees safe due to COVID-19.
“They call it ‘deleaning,’ ” Merchant explained. “Spreading people out, putting masks on and plexiglass up. But never shutting down because there are hospitals, medical facilities and data centers that all needed our products, and we don’t let people like that down.”
Afterward, John White III, senior vice president/OEM sales at Taco Comfort Solutions, presented Bob Barbour with the Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award.
Barbour – called “Mr. Taco” by White III – is a Taco veteran with more than 44 years at the company.
“If you look at the whole Taco family,” Barbour said upon accepting the award, “they are all trying to pull on the rope together in order to service our customers and grow the overall business. And because we are a family, we put that extra effort forward to help you and the rest of the industry.”
The show also celebrated the 2022 Innovation Award Winners (read more on all the winners of various categories here: bit.ly/3gFAFJx) with a private reception on Jan. 31.
The overall 2022 AHR Expo Innovation Award Product of the Year Award went to Danfoss, for its Danfoss Turbocor VTCA400 Compressor, a winner in the Cooling category.
Attendees could sit in on more than 80 free sessions, covering topics from a range of industry experts.
Added to the roster this year was an industry panel discussion led by leaders representing all sectors of the industry, including Mick Schwedler, President of ASHRAE; Stephen Yurek, President and CEO of Air Conditioning Heating Refrigeration Institute (AHRI); Talbot Gee, CEO of Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors (HARDI); Roberta MacGillivray, President of National Air Filtration Association (NAFA); and Dominick Guarino, CEO of National Comfort Institute (NCI). Moderated by industry podcaster and well-known training advocate Bryan Orr, of HVAC School for Techs by Techs, panelists discussed the current state of HVACR as well as threats and opportunities as the industry recalibrates to a new normal post-pandemic.
We’ll include more about new products we saw at the show later in print and online, but in the meantime, we did conduct a series of 19 interviews with manufacturers who talked with us about some new developments at their companies.
The companies include the following: Aalberts Integrated Piping Systems-Americas; Ariston Group; Armstrong Fluid Technology; Caleffi Hydronic Solutions; Fujitsu; IPEX; Lochinvar; Lync by Watts Water Technologies; Merit Brass; Milwaukee Tool; NIBCO; Precision Plumbing Products; Raypak; RIDGID; ThermOmegaTech; U.S. Boiler Co.; Viega; Weil-McLain; and Westinghouse Electric Corp.
With the help of a professional production crew from LIVE STREAM Las Vegas, PHCPPros streamed the interviews with top executives to thousands of social media followers during the first two days of the show on our Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube channels.
If you didn’t have the chance to tune in live, you can view the interviews by going to our YouTube page, www.YouTube.com/phcppros, where you can easily find the PHCPPros LIVE at AHR Expo 2022 playlist.
“Vegas is one for the books,” Stevens added. “We’ve been hosting this show for many years and while it is always a great showing of our industry, this year felt like a new chapter for HVACR. We are a strong community and we now have the attention this industry deserves to thrive on the global stage.”
The 2023 AHR Expo will be held Feb. 6-8 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Registration will open in summer 2022. Sign up for the AHR Expo newsletter to receive updates and news as it happens at ahrexpo.com.
In other news, AHR EXPO Mexico will take place Sept. 20-22, 2022 in Guadalajara, Mexico. For full details, log on to ahrexpomexico.com.