I'm an English major so didn't choose any plumbing or heating classes as electives. What I've learned about our industry over the past decade is primarily what I've picked up from the many smart people I work with at Uponor. And from visiting customers and jobsites and attending trade shows, like IBS and KBIS most recently.
Held in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, it was the first time combining the two shows. With 1,700 exhibitors and 650,000 square feet, it was a lot of ground to cover. I don't have one of those Fitbits®, but some of my coworkers do and they walked something crazy like 24,000+ steps daily.
I'm not sure if I walked that many steps, but did see and hear some great things while at 2014 IBS/KBIS. Here are a few highlights.
- Strangers like Uponor
Our shuttle bus was a no-show, so our hotel gave us a limo ride. It was a bit crowded so I became friends with my neighbors quickly. I sat next to a residential builder and his wife, and was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to explain PEX to them (you need to check out Alan Squires' hilarious blog when he talks PEX to a stranger on a plane). In fact, he said that every home he builds has PEX plumbing and has only had one home owner specifically ask for copper. He added, "I don't know why anyone would want copper. PEX is less expensive, easier to install and reliable."
He's a brilliant man.
- If I can do it…
I like to tell people: "If I can do it, you can do it." I'm referring to making a ProPEX connection using a Milwaukee Tool expansion tool. And I'm not the only one who can do it.
Two couples (a builder and his wife and his contractor and contractor's wife) came into our booth. When our sales guy asked the contractor if he wanted to try and make a ProPEX connection, he said no, but both wives jumped in and said, “Let me show you how it’s done” – and both made a connection with no problems. Then they said to their husbands, "If we can do it, your installers can too." Both men agreed and asked to have a salesperson contact them after the show.
Brilliant women…and men.
- Builders (and attorneys) like Uponor
An attorney from a national builder visited our booth and was very impressed with our ProPEX fitting system and how the Uponor system could potentially reduce liability (strong visual connection and fewer fittings).
- Multifamilies like Uponor
One multifamily developer/owner agreed to make Uponor the basis of design for all its multifamily projects after taking a tour of our booth. We're pretty excited as they design about 200 apartment/condo projects each year.
- Truly an international show
One of our sales directors alone met with attendees from Nigeria, Chili, Mexico and St. Vincent. And it wasn't a drive-by/walk-by. They had researched Uponor and were convinced they needed to find a way to get our product.
Let's continue the conversation
If you liked what you saw at AHR and IBS/KBIS – or if you missed them – let's connect at @Uponor2014 Convention in Vegas.
We've got a huge expo and some exciting breakout sessions where you can learn more about:
Deadline to register for @Uponor2014 Convention is coming up soon: Feb. 28.
And you can always stay updated online. Like, follow and join Uponor today.
Karen Mellott-Foshier is communications manager for Uponor North America as well as a hockey mom, lacrosse mom and football mom