Happy New Year and welcome to 2024. This month’s focus is on the commercial HVAC market. Besides looking at the outlook for this marketplace (ncilink.com/2024CommOutlook), and the ever growing need for High-Performance HVAC Contractors to take advantage of the opportunities this new year brings (ncilink.com/0124OMT), we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize the industry’s largest tradeshow and educational event: The AHR Expo.

Over the AHR Expo’s 75 years, the focus was on the technology, products, tools, and services offered to all the values chains of the industry: manufacturers, distributors, contractors, and more.

That is still at the core of this gigantic event. However, over the last 24 years or so, the organization has developed a robust educational program that is worthy of every HVAC contractor’s consideration.

Back in the early days, most of the education came from endorsing organizations like ASHRAE and were often held off-site from the main event. But AHR Expo recognized the need for an on-site open educational forum and, according to Kim Pires, the Expo’s operations director, it has grown from a very small addition to the show experience to a robust program.

Kim Pires, Operations Director, AHR Expo

“We’ve seen the value of investing time and energy in mining topics that are important to our industry audiences over the years as the program has grown.

“Each year we pay close attention to our social media channels, industry media outlets, and conversations with the community in an effort to serve up the discussions that will address relevant topics,” she says.

Pires adds that AHR Expo’s endorsing associations continue to “do a phenomenal job of coming to us with well thought out sessions, and from there we seek and source anything that may need supplementing.”

She points out that one of many great success stories are the panel discussions that have become more prevalent. These panels (of which National Comfort Institute often participates in) aim to open the lines of communication to topics that have some effect on all areas of the HVAC value chain.

“Through this we’ve seen our exhibitors foster relationships with new communities, as well as our ability to support the wider growth of networking opportunities. In short, it’s been well worth the effort and we are excited to continue on this path,” she says.

The growth of their educational programming is something that Pires is very passionate about. In fact she has been at the heart of developing the programing.

“As a lifelong learner myself and as a servant of this industry, it just made sense to evaluate and secure a strong foundation for long-term success of our programming as we continue to build it in partnership with the industry.”

Though AHR Expo is an annual event, Pires says no two shows are alike. Their investment in education also changes with the idea to build a bigger and ever-more complimentary knowledge sharing event side-by-side with the product showcase.

“The innovation, new products and technology, regulation updates, and the wealth of new information that changes so rapidly in our industry can be overwhelming. AHR Expo is an ideal opportunity to dig in and see what’s ahead.”

This year’s event is in Chicago, January 22-24 at the McCormick Place Convention Center. You should plan to go, and while there stop by our booth (S9043 ) to say hello.