Truth – It’s not like I have the motivation, the budget or the time to attend our industry’s trade shows. So even when the 19th Annual Remodeling Show and Deck Expo came to MY town (Baltimore) last week, I still only managed to squeeze a few hours out of my schedule for it.
And . . . with no point of reference – I’ll say this; I was impressed by the turn out. Though I can’t speak directly to the number of attendees, I can say I was slightly awestruck by the number of presenters, the smoothness of the event as a whole, as well as by some of the more elaborate exhibits.
And if you think I am here now to provide in-depth coverage on new products or techniques or any other such news, you might as well just stop reading here. I did not attend any workshops, I didn’t do my RRP training, nor did I sit in on any sustainibility seminars.
The only product booths I spent more than a minute at were those of Tile*Redi, DuraDeck and Festool (more on that one down below). I was there, at the Show, for one reason and one reason only . . . no, actually two — to check it all out and well . . . to put some faces to some of the names, OK – in most cases . . . to the twitter handles . . . that I know.
To Network with Others in the Remodeling Industry
* Home Improvement Bloggers
First stop — @SLSConstruction. Sean Lintow (“lint on your toe”), Sr, and nowhere near the 60-year old dude that I always imagined. Sean is an Alabama-based contractor with no noticeable signs of anything southern. An Arizona transplant, a one-time IT guy and avid road cyclist . . . now sometimes blogger (who did a fantastic job with disseminating good information about the EPA’s RRP rule change), Sean hit me quickly with a card for his latest business initiative — Alabama Green Building Solutions. He had some sound advice, too, for me and for Building Moxie – “do it more on weekends . . . as you get it started.”
Next, Sean and I found our way to a blogger’s round table — the table was round and they were just finishing up lunch. We caught – Ethan (who I interviewed previously) @OneProjCloser, Todd Fratzel (Home Construction and Improvement and others) @tfrazel, and Robert RoBilliard (A Concord Carpenter) @robertrobillard as they were talking shop over some remnants of purchases from the nearby food court. I had eaten earlier.
(See a later Interview with Todd Fratzel, there.
Shake hands, exchange cards, and they were about to hit the exhibit floor again . . . and soon. Sean had a cheeseburger and fries, and I still had enough time to bitch about my site’s speed. These guys know about the trials and tribulations of blogging. Each now receives thousands of hits a day, and they served me up some good advice.
* Thought Leaders in Home Performance Arena
Next — Sean and I popped over to see @GreenCurmudgeon (aka Carl Seville) and his exhibit-floor presentation on Home Performance. Not two slides into it, we (Sean & I) were greeted by the charismatic and (*errrrmmm* *errrrmmm* – two throat-clears) well-dressed @michaelanschel – action and distraction in tow.
And only a few seconds later, the poking and good-natured ribbing between Sean and Michael began (picture me, of course, “Focus jb! What did Carl just say?”). Throughout the presentation, Carl spoke several times directly to Michael – and I saw why . . . earlier and at one point, Sean actually referred to them (Carl and Michael) as “the dynamic duo” (or some other equivalent).
What I ultimately heard of Carl’s presentation was outstanding. Based on article he did for Home Energy Magazine, I think I caught Carl saying such things as — “. . . We are looking at an opportunity to retool this industry . . . . As the term ‘design build’ slowly crept into the vernacular so too will ‘Home Performance’. . . .”
Also I think I heard things along the lines of — “. . . It’s in the process and not necessarily the products . . . .” And that — “. . . We in the industry can lead the way . . . we can transform (the landscape) of existing homes to make many more comfortable and healthier, while saving energy along the way . . . .” At least I think I heard Carl say that stuff — can’t really tell you for sure.
* World Class Remodelers
Later and as I tried to squeeze just an hour of *me* time out of the Show, I stopped in one of the more “scenic” locations on the exhibit floor to snap a pic. But as I was doing so, I just happened to glance over to see another face I recognize – yeah, just by chance – Indianapolis-based and Big 50 remodeler @ChrWright of WrightWorks, LLC.
He was hanging at the NARI booth, and I got confirmation almost instantly — this is a guy that is Doing It Wright (ok – Chris you can have that one – no charge). What I mean — Chris, a good looking guy, has done a great job of “branding” himself through social media. (See the facebook link above.)
See a later Interview with Chris Wright, there.
The balance of my time at the show was spent chatting with Chris. We discussed such things as his business operation, the merits of Festool power tools, and (surprisingly) the benefit of forums for the growth of a/the (small) business contractor. JLC-Online Forum as well as the forum at Remodel Crazy came up frequently as Chris heralded the ability of participants to interact, engage, and share in these types of environments.
While I asked several people (and even some random folks in line at concessions) the same question: What has been the highlight of the Show so far for you? I think Sean Lintow said it best, and his response came something like this — “Seeing the people.”
I had to agree and left longing for more time there that week. There were certainly a few more people and things I would have loved to have seen — Maybe next year, they say — but I guess it won’t be quite so convenient. Chicago.
See Sean Lintow’s coverage here.
For our coverage throughout the years from the Remodeling Show.
Thanks for reading & BMoxie BMore!