The International Builders' Show Preview

This February, the International Builders’ Show will be in Orlando for the third year in a row. It utilizes the Orange County Convention Center as the launching pad for thousands of new products, and a full schedule of industry speakers and educational programs. Last year the show logged record attendance with 105,000 attendees, and this year’s number is expected to be about the same but with many more exhibitors for attendees to see.

NAHB expanded its exhibit space for the 2007 show to more than 1 million net sq. ft. “We have 420 new exhibitors that we didn’t have last year, for a total of 1,800 exhibitors,” says Wayne Stetson, senior vice president of conventions and meetings group, NAHB. “We will use all of the west hall and 50 percent of the south hall. Last year we used 25 percent of the south hall.”

After last year’s show, NAHB focused improvement efforts on a few areas of concern: transportation around the convention center, getting parking spaces, and food in the convention center including finding enough of it. “Traffic as you approached and left the convention center clogged the roads because of traffic lights and the volume of cars. We’ve been working with the Orange County Convention Center, state police and Orange County sheriff in regard to traffic and directing people into parking lots. We have also been working with the in-house caterer in regard to food variety, food outlets and food pricing,” he notes.

Stetson says people attend the show for four main reasons: it’s an international event; networking opportunities; new products; and educational programs. “As for new products, attendees can visit My Show Planner on which allows them to look up products or company names,” he says.

As for education, NAHB strives to meet the demanding market for the current year. “We are trying to produce educational programs that pertain to the climate of the building industry. For example, this year we are focusing on the housing recession and how to keep your head above water and continue making a profit,” Stetson adds.

In a new educational seminar titled Profit Debate: Cost-Plus vs. Fixed-Price on Fri., Feb. 9 at 4 p.m., RDB columnist Jay Grant will debate builder Dennis Dixon on which is better. Editor Rob Heselbarth will moderate the debate.

This year’s show includes keynote speaker Ted Koppel on Wed., Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m. in the south hall. Also new to the show is the Luncheon and Fashion Show hosted by Cheryl Tiegs on Thurs., Feb. 8 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Gatlin Ballroom of The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.
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