The AHR Expo returned in the last week of January to Las Vegas after a forced hiatus in 2021, International Exposition Company (IEC), the organisers of the show, said through a news release.
After two years of uncertainty and a longing to reunite the industry, the event represented an eagerness to return to business, drawing 30,678 attendees, IEC said. What’s more, the success of the show signals a reignited energy for all things HVACR and the community’s readiness to take on the challenges and opportunities ahead with renewed optimism, IEC said. “It was impossible to miss the energy in the halls this year,” said Mark Stevens, Show Manager. “There have been some heavy ups and downs across the industry in recent years, and we, as a community, needed to feel the inspiration that happens when we gather together under one roof.
The 2022 AHR Expo surpassed any expectation – our exhibitors, attendees, associations, speakers and everyone involved made this event one of the most special we’ve ever hosted. If you were there, the camaraderie was hard to miss. This industry is strong, and we are back on track to tackle the challenges before us.”
According to IEC, attendees were eager to be back in the booths experiencing new products and methods that support their work in the field. It was evident from every corner of the show floor that this industry is bursting with prospects, IEC added. “My main reason for attending the AHR Expo is the whole experience,” said Arizona tradesman and first-time attendee, Brendan Bowie. “You get to meet all the people who make the things that we buy and look up to and use every day. It is a lot of the vendors that we spend money with, because they make superior products. I talked to presidents and CEOs of companies that I buy products from every day, every week, every month. Instagram stories are not going to tell what AHR is, it’s the whole experience. Going to AHR matters, because you have to see what’s going on out there. I had the opportunity to see so much new. We’re trapped in vans every day on the job, you need to see what’s out there.”
According to IEC, a total of 1,573 exhibitors spread out over 443,769 square feet in the Central and North halls, packing the floor with an explosion of innovation and new products. Given the time apart, there was plenty to take in, as exhibitors launched new technology, products and ideas that came to life since we last gathered in Orlando, IEC said. “We and our [manufacturer] member companies that exhibited were very pleased with the quality of the Las Vegas Expo,” said Stephen Yurek, President & CEO, AHRI. “We heard comment after comment about the quality and number of attendees and how grateful everyone was to get back together with their industry colleagues and customers.
We are grateful to our [manufacturer] members for moving ahead with what turned out to be a really good show, and we look forward to seeing some of them in Guadalajara in September and more of them next year in Atlanta.”
According to IEC, inside the exhibitor booths, this year, company reps and attendees were busy catching up on lost time. The challenges in the supply chain and other COVID-related delays have opened the door for new ways of thinking about partnerships, IEC said. Emerson, one of the exhibitors, endorsed the organizer’s statement. “Emerson has always valued the customer engagement opportunities provided by the AHR Expo and the forum to showcase our sustainable solutions that are helping to reduce global impact while improving comfort, efficiency, performance and food safety in the HVACR industry,” said John Schneider, President, HVACR Technologies Americas, Emerson.
“After last year’s pause, the Expo provided a much-needed, in-person touchpoint, and we were thrilled to have our valued customers join us in celebrating our Copeland brand’s 100-year milestone during our pre-show customer event. This year, we also sponsored the Podcast Pavilion, which was a great opportunity for us to align with industry influencers, as their role in this industry continues to expand. Ultimately, all our businesses and brands experienced a great turnout, and we are looking forward to even more attendance in 2023.” Added Sarah Beyerlein, Everwell Parts: “It does not matter where you come from or where in the industry you’re involved in, the AHR Expo is the most remarkable yearly event where we all share our passion and expertise in the HVAC industry. It cannot be missed out.”
Innovation sets the course
On Monday, January 31, the show celebrated the 2022 Innovation Award Winners with a private reception. Members from each winning company were invited to share food and drink and be among industry cohorts also being recognized as leaders in shaping the future of HVACR, IEC said. The 2022 AHR Expo Innovation Award Product of the Year Award, IEC said, went to Danfoss, for their Danfoss Turbocor VTCA400 Compressor, a winner in the Cooling category.
Lisa Tryson, Market Communications Director, Danfoss, said: “Danfoss is honored to be recognized with the product of the year award for our VTCA400 oil-free compressor. Our industry is at the forefront of many critical trends, and innovation is vital to meet the challenges ahead. The AHR Expo is a great way to showcase these latest technologies.”
Stevens, speaking on behalf of the organizer, said: “We were honored to celebrate our 2022 winners with a more intimate celebration. The pace they each are setting for the future of HVACR is astounding, and collectively in each of the sectors they are raising the bar on how we are shaping the industry.
Congratulations to all our 2022 winners, and to Danfoss for their leadership in innovation. As the industry looks ahead to changes on the horizon for HVACR, innovation from our exhibiting companies continues to push to new levels.”
Partnerships born through crucial in-person networking help to propel new ideas into the marketplace, IEC said. Jacques BeaudryLosique, CEO, Enginuity Power Systems, said: “The AHR Expo is an environment uniquely suited to making high-level connections and business partnerships, as well as finding the latest state-of-the-art appliance product technology as well as supply chain and distribution channels. We were honored to be awarded the 2022 Sustainable Solutions Innovation Award, further validating our products to help homes and businesses save energy and achieve their sustainability goals.”
Education Program… something for everyone
In the Education Program, attendees were invited to sit in on more than 80 free sessions, covering topics from a wide range of industry experts, IEC said. Added to the roster this year was an industry panel discussion led by leaders representing all sectors of the industry, including Mick Schwedler, 2021-2022 President, ASHRAE; Yurek; Talbot Gee, CEO, Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors (HARDI); Roberta MacGillivray, President, National Air Filtration Association (NAFA); and Dominick Guarino, CEO, National Comfort Institute (NCI).
Bryan Orr, of HVAC School for Tech by Techs, and industry podcaster and well-known training advocate, moderated the panel, which included a discussion on the current state of HVACR as well as threats and opportunities, as the industry recalibrates to a new normal post-pandemic. Speaking during the discussion, Yurek said: “Our focus used to be on the box, on the equipment and the installation of it. Now, we need to address the entire HVAC system to provide efficiency and comfort.
The change we will see over the next few years will be nothing we’ve seen before.” Schwedler said: “Our industry has never been more essential. The public became aware of what our industry does. We are fully connected as a world, with more people involved in problem-solving.” And MacGillivray said: “Before COVID-19, there was a tradeoff between energy efficiency and human health. As we solve the pandemic issue, we must continue our focus on how IAQ affects human health and productivity.”
Additional education program highlights included an overview of intellectual property in HVACR, by Wil Rao, an IP and Patent attorney in the greater Chicago area; a breakdown of warranty and callbacks from Bryan Orr; lessons learned from the supply chain, a panel discussion hosted by HARDI and moderated by the HVAC Jerks; and many more targeted discussions highlighting current opportunities, threats and methods across the industry. “It is absolutely fantastic to see the AHR Expo make such a strong comeback in Las Vegas,” said Jeff Littleton, ASHRAE Executive Vice President. “Bringing professionals from around the world back together to learn and share new technologies, with health and safety as a top priority, affords us the opportunity to continue moving the critical work of our industry forward.”
Strength in community
Perhaps one of the most inspiring sentiments shared throughout the floor this year was the sense of community that HVACR embraces, IEC said. Many of the industry’s workforce remained on the frontlines throughout the pandemic and relied on the daily connection with professionals through social media and other points of communication, it said adding there was an overwhelming sense of relief and contentment to be gathering again face to face at the industry’s largest event. “My first AHR was amazing, I really enjoyed meeting my social media community in person,” said Ashley Lynds, Texas tradeswoman Ashley Lynds. “Everyone was so welcoming, and I was able to network and make additional connections for future business. I can’t wait for Atlanta!”
The Podcast Pavilion returned for its second year as a show feature, IEC said, adding it was a clear fan favorite, as attendees packed the pavilions each day for live recordings from their favorite industry talents. Eric Aune, with Mechanical Hub, said: “We’ve been attending this show for over a decade. This year was different, there was a new connection with social media and a great podcast lineup. I like the direction they are taking things.”
Until we meet again
AHR Expo will head back to Atlanta for the 2023 show, bringing with it the positive energy established in Vegas, IEC said. Eager exhibitors have already reserved booths and discussions of travel plans among attendees are underway, IEC revealed, adding that it’s safe to say we are back to business! “Vegas is one for the books,” Stevens said. “We’ve been hosting this show for many years, and while it is always a great showing of our industry, this year felt like a new chapter for HVACR. We are a strong community, and we now have the attention this industry deserves to thrive on the global stage.
“We look forward to hosting many of our international attendees who couldn’t make it this year because of travel restrictions and supply chain issues. We have big problems to solve and hefty aspirations to meet, as our industry touches literally every part of society and our everyday lives. The success of the 2022 AHR Expo is proof that we are poised to take on anything together. We are all excited to be a part of such a vibrant community, and we look forward to planning a stellar show for you in Atlanta. We’ll see you soon!”
According to IEC, the 2023 AHR Expo will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Registration will open in summer 2022.