The International Roofing Expo (IRE), by Informa Markets, was thrilled to bring together the roofing and exterior construction industry for its first in-person event full of innovation and knowledge sharing since February 2020.
Thousands of professionals gathered in Las Vegas to connect and engage with their peers, source the latest products and technology, and learn from top industry experts and thought leaders.
During the opening day of the show Roofing & Exteriors (R&E), the new official digital media brand of the International Roofing Expo, was launched.
"The event had a more intimate feel than our last edition, yet we were excited to bring 9,126 industry professionals together at this year's event," said Ray Giovine, group director for the International Roofing Expo. "The energy at the show was very positive, and the people in attendance were happy to be back at a live event."
“This year’s IRE was one of the most interesting in my lifetime due to COVID-19," said Reid Ribble, CEO for National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). "Although smaller than usual, attendees report having a terrific time reconnecting with friends, visiting with exhibitors, and learning from the top leaders in the industry. I can’t wait to do it again in New Orleans in 2022.”
Attendees covering the entire spectrum of the industry explored 105,600 square feet of exhibit space during the three-day event. Over 325 manufacturers and suppliers showcased the latest products, services, and technology for the roofing, window, and siding industries, including notable companies such as SRS Distribution, Owens Corning, and Beacon Roofing Supply.
The 2021 IRE event brought new experiences to the show floor. In addition to the classic Exhibitor Presented Seminar sessions, attendees absorbed even more on-floor education with the introduction of the Windows & Siding Education classes. This new education area featured sessions from new IRE partners, including the Vinyl Siding Institute and Certified Contractors Network.
The RoofersCoffeeShop team brought their Coffee Conversation podcast to life by hosting live from their booth. RCS Owner Heidi Ellsworth spoke with leading roofing contractors to discuss trending topics such as material shortages and price increases. Ellsworth also caught up with the winning team from the 2021 Roofing Alliance Student Competition, Clemson University.
“RoofersCoffeeShop had the great honor of bringing the 2021 IRE show to everyone who could not attend through LIVE Coffee Conversations and ongoing LIVE interviews on the RCS YouTube! The event was amazing and the First-Time Attendees Reception was not only LIVE but on Tik Tok. Such a great show and RoofersCoffeeShop was proud to be a part of this industry event,” Ellsworth said.
There was a buzz on the show floor as people stop to watch the NRCA ProCertification® Hands-On Performance Exams that moved inside this year. Attendees who were familiar with ProCertification were excited to see a mockup and exam details firsthand, and those who were not familiar were interested in learning more and were intrigued by this first-of-its-kind program for roofing professionals. During the show, 26 roof system installers completed their hands-on exams. Roofing professionals also tested their readiness for the ProCertification by taking a free knowledge exam during the event.
“Being able to conduct and demonstrate NRCA ProCertification hands-on performance exams on the expo show floor was an exciting opportunity for NRCA to show the industry what ProCertification is all about,” said Frank Perna, director, Certification Development for NRCA. “Many IRE attendees were familiar with ProCertification, but giving them the opportunity to see the testing mockups up close, watch hands-on performance exam demonstrations and speak with experienced roofing professionals on-site allowed attendees to understand how the program is poised to elevate the roofing industry. NRCA ProCertification is a game-changer for the roofing workforce, and we are thrilled to have been able to share it with IRE attendees.”
Attendees were encouraged to step beyond the expo hall and enjoy outdoor events in the parking lot. SRS Distribution hosted their annual Extreme Tailgating Party, and it was hard to miss with the SRS branded RV and Jeep. A newcomer to the outdoor area was the JobNimbus Kickin' Asphalt Rig and their Crew Happy Hour.
Adding new product lines, ways to improve marketing, growing and expanding business were prevalent topics covered during this year's conference program. The program included over 40 educational sessions divided into nine educational tracks, including a new Windows & Siding track. "We had great engagement between our presenters and conference attendees during the sessions," said Brandi McElhaney, senior conference manager for the IRE.
“For me, as a newer roofing contractor, it was a great opportunity to network with both existing vendors as well as exploring building relationships with new ones," said Jen Silver, president of Roofing Utah, Inc. "As a woman, it was empowering to meet others in the industry, and discuss some of the adversities that we face and how we can support each other in overcoming those. I also really enjoyed building relationships with peers nationally, which enables me to have people in my circle to discuss ideas and challenges with other owners.”
There was no shortage of networking opportunities during this year's event. From catching up with old friends to building new business relationships, it was clear the industry was excited to reconnect. And you could see this during events like the First-Time Attendees Reception sponsored by RoofersCoffeeShop and the Welcome Party sponsored by ABC Supply Co. "We had a fantastic turnout at the Welcome Party," said Shelby Snelson, show manager for the IRE. "Everyone was able to relax, grab a drink, and have some fun with their peers. Towards the end of the evening, we even had a conga line going!"
In partnership with Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada, the 12th Annual Community Service Day Project went digital this year with the goal to raise funds to help replace a couple of HVAC systems and a roof for residents in need. Between the donations from attendees and the portion of paid registration fees from the International Roofing Expo, just under $8,000 was raised for the project. Commercial Roofers, Inc. and Beacon Building Products generously donated supplies, time, and labor to make the roof replacement happen.
Roofing & Exteriors, the official digital media brand of the International Roofing Expo and the new website, was formally launched to the audience at IRE 2021 during an opening day 9 a.m. session “Industry Solutions, Connections, Community & Intelligence.”
“R&E leverages industry partnerships, speakers and thought leaders seen at IRE but goes beyond that to be a 24/7, 365 resource for the industry,” said Rachel Williams, the site's chief editor. “Its mission is to empower the roofing and exterior professionals with news, market data and industry resources that can grow their revenues and expand their businesses."
Save the Date for IRE 2022
Next year's event is headed to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Feb. 1-3, 2022. The show is looking forward to bringing back events such as the keynote speakers, NRCA training sessions, and an in-person Community Service Day event. Housing for IRE 2022 is now open through the official hotel provider, onPeak. We encourage everyone to book early for the best rates and selection. Book your stay today. Get notified when registration opens this fall by signing up to receive show news and updates from the IRE.
To learn more about Informa Markets events, visit www.informamarkets.com. For more information on IRE, visit www.theroofingexpo.com. Visit www.roofingexteriors.com to read the latest industry news and to sign up for its e-newsletter.