Right now it seems there are more construction conferences, conventions, expos, seminars, or 
rade shows than it would humanly be possible to attend.  With only a few exceptions, the vast 
majority of them are in the first half of the  year.  Now the decisions start:  which ones do you 
If you’re just making your decision now, think fast; you don’t want to miss out.  There are several 
large construction conventions on the horizon:  The International Builders Show, January 19-21 in 
Las Vegas; International Roofing Expo, February 17-19 in Orlando; Frame Building Expo, March 8-11 in Indianapolis; and the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo, March 16-19 in New Orleans.  Still to come in just the next few months:  RCI Convention, Western Roofing Expo, Pacific Coast Builders Conference, and the AIA Convention.  Yes, ‘tis the season for conventions, and all of them have something to offer.
The AIA convention in particular should be an outstanding event.  Scheduled to be held in Pennsylvania, May 19-21, this year’s event should be excellent.  In addition to the speakers, trade show and tours, the seminars and workshops will cover everything from public design to sustainability.
As I attend these various gatherings and talk with design, construction professionals, and association personnel, much of the discussion will eventually center on how to get more people involved.  Only a certain percentage of the industry attends, they lament.  “How can we get interest up?” they ask.  The benefits are clear to all those that attend, they point out.  If we could just get them to attend one time, they would come back, they note.
I agree with them about the importance of associations and conventions:  about how we can’t raise the standards of the industry until we get more people involved; about the importance of staying abreast with current laws and regulations; about disseminating information regarding potential costly pitfalls and how to avoid them; and about discussing new construction materials and their proper application.  Unfortunately, these concerns are all too true.  I see the same people over and over at these conventions.  A small percentage of the people in any industry are always the most involved.  Could it be any coincidence that this same small percentage always ends up with the most high profile and profitable projects?  I doubt it.
One of the very important side benefits of attending conventions is the contacts being made, both with your fellow designers as well as the manufacturers.  Casual contacts develop into business relationships.  This is also a benefit you won’t see touted in any convention brochure.  
It’s not a matter of time; it’s a matter of desire.  You’ll never find the time until you decide that you want to go, that you need to go to help improve your business perspective.
So what’s the point of all this rambling?  We’re coming to the start of the convention season.  Between now and the end of June, about two-thirds of the annual construction conventions are held.  Do yourself, and your business, a favor and make plans to attend some.  I know I’ll be attending quite a few, and I hope you will too.

Marcus Dodson
editor & publisher
Its that Time of Year Again!
Convention Time: 
Attending Trade Shows can Help Grow Your Business