International Builders’ Show Preview

It’s that time again when builders, manufacturers, industry professionals and educational speakers gather in Orlando, Fla., for the 2008 International Builders’ Show. Manufacturers take this opportunity to present their newest products to the approximately 100,000 attendees that will flock to the show floor. Builders, designers and architects will take time to learn about those new products and attend classes with hopes of setting themselves apart in a down market.

The National Association of Home Builders acknowledges that it’s an investment for builders and designers to leave their businesses for a week and attend the show. “Our members have helped us put together a good design for the education [which covers] strategies for success and survival. They knew the downturn was coming,” says Mark Pursell, senior staff vice president, marketing and sales for NAHB.

In an effort to improve its educational programs, NAHB has reached out to successful individuals in other industries. “We think it’s important to learn from other industries — from their successes and failures. Mark Jarvis, former chief marketing officer for Dell, will talk about how Dell changed its business processes and marketing strategies to be successful. Ken Schmidt, formerly with Harley Davidson, will talk to our members. And, we will also have William McDonough from William McDonough and Partners who will talk about sustainable architecture and cradle-to-cradle design,” Pursell adds.

Exhibit space will again exceed 1 million net sq. ft. with 1,800 exhibitors. The exhibit numbers have stayed the same as last year as NAHB tries to minimize the intensity of the show for its attendees. “We like to have a good match of buyers per square foot. We don’t want to grow [the show] irresponsibly,” Pursell says.

In an effort to minimize how overwhelming the show can be, NAHB continues its My Show Planner tool on the show website, This tool allows attendees to populate their Outlook calendar and create personalized schedules.

“We are also continuing our First Timer [Attendees] Program which offers a discount to first-time attendees. We will have the First Timer Orientation on Feb. 13 which will introduce them to those who run the show, the logistics of it and also our members who have grown their business through the show,” Pursell adds. “The show is a beast and can be overwhelming. We try to mitigate that with online tools and the First Timer orientation.”

To guarantee a well-rounded event, multiple entertainment options are available during the week. The Spike party, NAHB’s membership party, will be headlined by the band the B52s. “And we have a great luncheon called Luncheon Possible that features celebrity chef Robert Irvine from Dinner Impossible on the Food Network,” Pursell says. “Click on the education and special events section of our website to look for fun things to do. It’s not all work; there are opportunities to have fun.”
Pursell adds that attendees should make flight and hotel plans sooner rather than later because the show ends on the same weekend as the Daytona 500. For more information on the 2008 International Builders’ Show, visit