OAK BROOK, ILL. — Large annual trade shows are considered the cream of the crop when it comes to networking, seeing the latest in new products and technology, and sitting in on educational seminars. But let’s face it, the cost of traveling across the country may not be in the budget, and time away from office or jobsite is not an easy compromise.

If, for whatever reason, you can’t make the annual association trade shows, look to the local or regional trade shows. They are just as valuable.

“The advantages of attending regional trade shows include putting you in direct contact with suppliers who offer materials that are appropriate for use in your geographical area, and networking with the state and local officials and designers who oversee your work,” said Beverly Potts, executive director of the Illinois PHCC.