HVAC Trade Events – What is the Purpose?
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The symposium is a pretty close-knit trade event where people tend to know each other quite a bit more often than larger events like AHR Expo or the HVACR Education Conference. AHR Expo has a bunch of executives at the event, including AHRI and ASHRAE, so individual contractors and technicians may have a harder time fitting in. However, AHR and ESCO Group have made a bunch of great strides to include contractors and technicians to make the events appeal to everyone, not just executives and manufacturers.
The Education Conference is quite a bit larger than the symposium but smaller than AHR and is more training-focused than the latter. Like the symposium, the Education Conference has plenty of classes taught by high-quality educators. However, those classes are geared toward a variety of audiences, including people already in the trade and young people looking to get into the trade. At any HVAC trade event, there will be people talking about how much they love the trade and appreciate what they’ve learned, and the human element is what makes us love being in the trade.
You will find a lot of extroverts at large expos, especially the sales-oriented people, but trade events tend to be work-focused and are great places for introverts to come out of their shells because they have context around human connections.
Bryan went to “Building Science Summer Camp” and felt a bit like a fish out of water. It’s easy to feel that way in the classes. However, the connections we make at events during and after symposiums are completely worth it, and they make it much easier to feel comfortable and appreciate the tradespeople around us.
As of right now, we aren’t sure how we’re going to grow the symposium. We appreciate the close-knit nature and blue-collar comraderie of the event in its current small state, and we don’t want to lose that as the event grows. Every class was maxed out, and we understand that many people want to experience the symposium. We are doing the symposium next year close to the end of January for milder weather, but we’re considering ways to expand the symposium, such as by having a destination training center in a rural or suburban setting. Florida is a great travel destination, and it’s easy to hold events here, so we will likely keep the symposium local to Kalos.
We loved the speakers at our event, including Craig Migliaccio, and the conversations we had beyond the HVAC training. People can come to an event with the intention to learn new things about HVACR, and they can walk away from the event with lasting friendships; conversations about mass flow rate can lead to conversations about each other’s families.
The symposium was imperfect, but many people continue to believe in its mission. It has gotten better each year, and we’re optimistic about next year’s symposium. We appreciate input from others who wish to share ideas as to how we can make the symposium more suitable for a larger in-person audience next year.