OAKBROOK TERRACE, ILL. — If a tradeshow made specific attempts to be in your backyard, why wouldn’t you attend? Why wouldn’t you want to see the current products and technology that affect you, here and now! If you can’t afford to leave your business for more than two to three days at a time, then check out a local show. For example, state and local PHCC chapters put on local and regional shows all over the country. You can’t beat the price of admission since most of the shows are free.

Every year, contractors flock to their local PHCC trade shows to connect with fellow contractors and to see the latest and greatest in products and technology. With more than 90 exhibitors to visit, and a few demo trailers outside — Metropolitan Industries and Sioux Chief, for example — nearly 1,800 licensed professionals traversed the show floor this March. And, for those attendees seeking continuing education classes, it was reported that there were approximately 845 registered contractors for those specific classes. “We were very pleased with the numbers,” said Bev Potts, executive director of the Illinois PHCC.

Obviously smaller than the national PHCC show — held in Las Vegas, Oct. 16-19 — the show still has a draw from the local plumbing, heating, hydronic and mechanical contractor. Sure most of these shows feature some manufacturer reps and smaller versions of their bigger brethren, but you can still connect on a smaller, yet equally, important scale and learn about the new technology and products from some of the manufacturers.

“Most contractors feel that the local shows are important because you are dealing with representatives from the area and products that are being used in the state and approved by the state,” said Potts. “Likewise, the exhibitors can relate to local contractors who are familiar with the area and their needs.”

With a smaller tabletop show, the Illinois PHCC 119thAnnual Convention — June 13-15, in Normal, Ill. — will feature a more intimate setting, with contractors getting more one-on-one time with manufacturers, and a chance to network and partake in some excellent educational classes.

Show highlights

At the Illinois PHCC Show, this March, Tony Garcia Jr., a sales rep for Riddle & Associates, Downers Grove, Ill., represented product lines such as Bradley Corp., Advance Tabco, Delany and Froet, just to name a few. Garcia gave attendees a rundown of Bradley’s new Advocate Lav System, the definite highlight of the booth.

The Advocate features an all-in-one lavatory unit designed to provide a sink, soap, faucet and dual-sided hand dryer in one sleek and touchless unit. In addition to user convenience and functionality, this uniquely integrated design ensures that water goes down the drain, not on the floor or down the walls.

At the Viega booth, Dan Courtney, sales rep for Viega, conducted a working demo on Viega’s MegaPress system. The MegaPress and MegaPressG systems are for installing Schedule 5 to Schedule 40 black iron pipe in sizes 1/2" to 2". The systems make secure watertight and airtight connections in a matter of seconds. The Viega MegaPress and MegaPressG systems use modern cold press connections for pipe installation. The Viega MegaPress system is ideal for hydronic heat, chilled water, compressed air, fire sprinkler systems, low pressure steam and vacuum lines.

“Within five seconds you have a complete press, which will save you close to 30% to 60% over threading, cutting or brazing in your installation process,” said Courtney.

Knapheide was highly visible at the show, with a van stationed at the entrance of the show floor. The van featured upfittable shelving units and storage; side panels are constructed of lightweight, innovative plastic, and shelves and trays are constructed of rugged powder coated 20-gauge galvanneal steel for a minimal impact to payload.

Ridgid’s Jim Madden kept busy by talking with attendees about Ridgid’s locating equipment, which is available to meet the needs of the contractor for fast and accurate identification of buried electric, cable, water, gas, oil, drain and sewer utilities. Convenience made easy, contractors can store and share inspection videos on DVD, laptop or on the Internet.

In addition to putting on great local shows, the Illinois PHCC’s objectives are to protect the Illinois plumbing license law and codes, and focusing on education and government affairs; it is very active on the state level in terms of regulation and legislative areas. Take an afternoon to visit one of these shows. Here is a list of upcoming PHCC events.