3 Post Show Activities to Make Your Trade Show a Success

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter I don’t know about you, but it seems like every time I get back from a trade show I’m exhausted and ready for a vacation. Unfortunately there is still work to do after the trade show. In this Part 3 of our 3-part series on successful trade shows we’ll look at the 3 post- show  activities you should be doing after every trade show to make sure it is a success. 1. Leads/Inquiries “How many leads did we get?” This seems to be the number one question everyone asks after every trade show. And while this is an important question, I think the better question to ask is “What’s the plan for handling these leads?” 12847read more >

5 Pre-Show Activities To Make Your Trade Show A Success

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter For most companies trade shows are still a key component to the marketing mix. But these shows can be a significant investment, between the booth space, the booth itself, graphics, collateral, travel costs and the personnel to man the actual booth. So it’s critical to maximize the return and success of your trade show. In this Part 1 of a 3-part series on trade shows we’ll look at the 5  pre-show activities you should be doing to make your next trade show a success. 1. Remind people you are attending the trade show 12842read more >

The Eighth Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive Starts Now!

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Today is August 1st, at Sonnhalter it's basically a holiday because it's the start of our annual tool drive to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity does fantastic work building and rehabbing homes for those who need them in an effort to eliminate homelessness and substandard housing. I'm amazed year after year at the work this fantastic organization does and the support that we receive for this tool drive from our clients, vendors, partners, community and even strangers! Our Tool Drive was born in 2010 12830read more >

Independence Day

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect Our team, like many others, is taking today off. The Fourth of July is more than fireworks, parades, cookouts and a day off. It’s a day that we celebrate our country’s independence. All of the red, white and blue that comes out for Independence Day brings U.S. manufacturing to mind. Did you know... Each dollar spent in manufacturing contributes $1.40 to the economy? The majority of manufacturing companies in the U.S. are small?  Manufacturing supports 18.4 million U.S. jobs? In 2014, the average manufacturing employee made $79,533? Taken alone, manufacturing in the U.S. would be the 9th largest world economy? These stats came from NAM (the National Association of Manufacturers). You can find these and other facts about U.S. manufacturing on their website. Have a safe and happy Independence Day!read more >

How to Score Big This Manufacturing Day

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter It may seem like Manufacturing Day (first Friday of October) is still far off on the horizon, but the time to plan is now. With schools getting ready to take their summer breaks, you should contact them now in order to make sure your company is ready to highlight the great careers available in modern manufacturing and the trades. And while the official Manufacturing Day site has great tools to help you plan and promote your event, a panicked phone call I got on Friday gave me another idea to share. Fortunately the panicked call wasn’t from a client, and wasn’t an actual “emergency.” Nope, it was my introduction to the latest craze sweeping schools across the country: Fidget Spinners 12519read more >

Have You Hugged a Plumber Today?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Did you know that today is Hug a Plumber Day? (Sometimes called Plumber's Day.) Often plumbers don’t receive the credit and fame that they deserve, unless they’re Mario and Luigi and trying to save a princess. The Super Mario Brothers are the most famous plumbers, and they live in a Nintendo game. The reality is that without plumbers, our world would be far from sanitary or pleasant. As part of our team's commitment to getting our hands dirty in our clients' work, we've had the opportunity to see plumbers at work, we’ve used their tools and we’ve heard their stories; we know that they deserve to be honored, not just hugged, today. Plumbers do so much more than unclog drains and fix leaky faucets. It’s plumbers who install the miles of piping that make hot, cold and process water and gas utilities possible. Did you know... 12240read more >

The Working Man’s Holiday

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter As any salesman, engineer or manufacturer will tell you: marketing has it rough. Done laughing? Well, here at Sonnhalter, we added a new twist to our vacation plan. Our team members now get one extra day of vacation, no matter their time with the company. The catch? You have to take it on a B2T (Business-to-Trade) holiday. What’s that? As you’ve probably noticed from your social media feed, almost every day has some “official” holiday designation. National Left-Hander’s Day (August 13), National Look Up at the Sky Day (April 14), Cookie Cutter Week (December 1-7). But what you might not know is there are an abundance of days dedicated to the skilled trades, like: 11981read more >

Hands-on Marketing or Boring Booth. You Decide.

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter We’re in the thick of trade show season, and that brings up the age-old argument: Are they worth going to? The ROI of a trade show can be the trickiest equation to manage. Very few feature direct sales, and how do you prove that a sale 6 months from now had anything to do with a 10 by 20 booth? The short answer? You can’t. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go, just that you should make the most of your customer’s experience. I just finished reading a great article from Greg Zehe, from GES. It’s his review of a couple of standout booths at this year's CES and how they succeeded through “hands-on marketing." And it reminded me of some of the other key strategies to ensure your booth is a stand-out: 11983read more >

Spread the Buzz, Spoil the Game

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter Another Super Bowl, er, I mean Big Game is in the books, and like last year, we want to take a look at the ads through the lens of B2T. Are there any lessons? Probably, let’s go to the tape! You Can Protect Your Brand Too Much The NFL is notorious for protecting the brand name “Super Bowl.” In fact, I should probably trademark that last sentence, add a disclaimer about how it’s the property of the NFL and let you know that any rebroadcast without the express written consent of the NFL will have lawyers flying at you like DB’s at the QB. 11997read more >

AHR Expo Heats up Vegas (and probably cools it down)

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter The AHR Expo, the preeminent trade show for the HVAC industry is right around the corner. The show runs from January 30th to February 1st at the Las Vegas Convention Center. AHR just released an optimistic 2017 forecast, based on interviews with more than 1,400 HVACR manufacturers. Because of that, this year’s show promises to be an exciting and educational affair. Here's what you can expect: Over 2,000 exhibitors in 764 product categories More than 60,000 people expected to attend 200+ education seminars and product demonstrations ASHRAE Learning Institute Courses and Certification exams An innovative mobile app complete with agenda maker, interactive floor plan and more features Of course Las Vegas has no end of off-the-show-floor options. If you need help finding best in dining, nightlife and sightseeing, check out the recently updated Sonnhalter Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas.read more >

Design and Construction Week is On in Orlando

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter After four year in Vegas, the NAHB International Builder’s Show and the HKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show move to central Florida for Design & Construction Week . A must-attend event for the industry, these co-located shows continue to be at the forefront of innovation, with more than 2,000 exhibitors and hundreds of education sessions. Here are a few highlights: 11865read more >

Thankful for You

As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches, we’d like to say thanks to you. We have had the good fortune over the years to work with so many great friends and clients. You enrich our lives and make our work enjoyable. We’re running in several different directions all the time, and this time of year we need to slow down a bit to appreciate the things around us. So this weekend, don’t take your briefcase home, and your emails will still be there Monday morning when you get back in the office. Recharge your batteries this weekend. Play with your kids or grandkids, visit an old friend or watch some football and of course enjoy a great meal. We take a lot of things for granted sometimes – our Families and Friends. Enjoy the weekend. We can get back to the grind next week.read more >

It’s Tool Drive Time!

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect at Sonnhalter It's August! At Sonnhalter, August means Tool Drive! We've just kicked off the Seventh Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive which benefits the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. If you don't already know, Habitat for Humanity does great work for communities, helping improve the lives of individuals and their communities. We've been doing this Tool Drive since 2010 and each year the generosity of our clients, partners, community and friends is absolutely overwhelming. Last year, we were able to collect more than $35,000 worth of donations, which brought the total we've collected since our efforts began back in 2010 to more than $176,000. Hosting an annual tool drive just made sense for us since we work with companies who make products for tradesmen. Everything donated is put to use either building homes or sold at a ReStore location. Everything sold at Habitat's ReStores supports building and rehabilitating homes for people who need them. Be a part of this year's Tool Drive! To find out how to get involved, visit visit Sonnhalter.com/tooldrive or contact me at rkerstetter@sonnhalter.com or 216.242.0420 ext 130.read more >

Go Hands-On for Quality Trade Show Interactions

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter One of the most underutilized components implemented by exhibitors at trade shows is the “hands on” demonstration of their product/solution. Professional tradespeople make their living working with their hands, so it should not be a surprise “hands on” product demonstrations are a favorite for this audience. Typically trade shows like to talk about the quantitative stats…number of attendees, number of exhibitors and number of speakers. But instead of focusing on the number of people walking up and down the aisles and attending these shows, maybe we should be focusing more on the quality of the interactions between trade show attendees and the exhibitors. One of the more effective quality interactions would be the “hands on” product demonstrations and skills competitions at trade shows. In general, booths that have some sort of demonstration/activity for their product tend to have more traffic and activity. The first quarter of the year tends to be a busy time for trade shows targeting the professional tradesperson. I recently attended the World of Concrete Show and was amazed at the number of hands on areas. The parking lots of the Las Vegas Convention Center were packed with manufacturer tents highlighting “hands on” demos with everything from cutting and drilling, to polishing and breaking up concrete. In another parking lot across from the convention there were as many as 4,000 spectators in attendance to watch a number of masonry skills contests, including the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500, SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER, MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge and the MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block. It was amazing to see the passion, enthusiasm and support shown by the attendees watching these tradespeople showcase their skills! All of these areas outside the convention center consistently had more active traffic compared to the normal booths inside…read more >

Don’t Miss the Marketing Summit for Building Material Manufacturers

I'll be one of the guest speakers at the Whizard Summit in Boulder, Colorado in April. Mark Mitchell, CEO of Wizard Strategy, has put together a jam-packed 2-day conference for manufacturers of building materials on ways they can address issues with architects, builders and contractors. Here is a taste of what you’ll learn step-by-step in this two-day event packed with insights and strategies you can use immediately to generate sales.read more >

Industrial Reinvention

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter Fabtech Expo wrapped up another great show last month in Chicago. Presented by AWS, CCAI, FMA, SME and PMA, it truly lives up to its billing as the largest metal-forming, welding and finishing event in North America. There are many great wrap ups of this show, including Fabtech’s own, but I want to share a few personal observations: Chicago is a great host city for any show, but especially this one, given its rich history of amazing architecture, manufacturing and Midwest hospitality There was an HUGE number of students and educators there, great news for the future of our industry In the North Hall, the “Big 3” welding companies each had impressive and expansive booths, each playing to their strengths, and full of new products In fact, new products ruled the day in both halls. We truly are on the verge of a 4th industrial revolution. Every booth seemed to burst with new, and most importantly, integrated products, system and solutions. The buzz on the floor and in the seminars was that to survive and thrive, manufacturing needs to embrace new technology. The common perception used to be that manufacturing wasn’t an “early adopter” and that the old ways were best. But the smart companies are now realizing that the two are not mutually exclusive. Look at products like WeldRevolution, where a little-out-of-the-box thinking has led to significant gains in productivity and quality. There are a hundred more examples from any given aisle, but the message was clear: the manufacturing floor of the future will put productivity first, and results will be seen in real-time, in the palm of your hand. Make plans to attend the 2016 Fabtech in Las Vegas, it’s sure to dazzle.read more >

Happy Thanksgiving!

As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches, we’d like to say thanks to the many friends and clients we’ve had the good fortune to come in contact with over the years. We’re all running in several different directions all the time, and this time of year we need to slow down a bit to appreciate the things around us. So this weekend, don’t take your briefcase home, and your emails will still be there Monday morning when you get back in the office. Recharge your batteries this weekend. Play with your kids or grandkids, visit an old friend or watch some football. We take a lot of things for granted sometimes – our Families and Friends. Enjoy the weekend. We can get back to the rat race next week.read more >

Interview with Habitat for Humanity ReStore Manager, Kevin Kelly

Right now we’re in the middle of our annual Tool Drive supporting the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. Since our efforts started in 2010, we’ve found amazing support from our clients, partners, friends and community members. We talked with Kevin Kelly with the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity's new ReStore location to find out more about him, Habitat for Humanity and their Restores. Here’s the conversation: Q. What is your position at Habitat for Humanity? A. Store Manager at our new Eastside location (4601 Northfield Rd, North Randall). Q. What is the Habitat for Humanity Restore? A. Habitat for Humanity Restores are non-profit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used appliances, furniture, building materials and house ware items. We sell to the public at a lower cost than retail. Q. How long have you been with Habitat for Humanity? A. More than three years. I first started as a volunteer for Habitat. Q. What are your responsibilities at the Eastside Restore? A. I manage all aspects of the store including personnel, donations, pricing and sales. Q. Most memorable moment working for Habitat for Humanity? A. The most memorable moment was  a home dedication. Actually seeing a family get their home for the first time that I helped build. Also working with the many volunteers and companies. Q. What's the most unusual donation you've receives? A. The most unusual donation was an X-ray of someone’s broken leg. Q. Most common donations? A. The most common donations are household items, appliances, furniture, knickknacks and  building materials. Q. What’s on the Restore donation wish list? A. Anything and everything. Q. What’s best about working for Habitat for Humanity? A. Being able to affect the community in a positive manner. Q. The Sonnhalter tagline is “Not Afraid to Get Our Hands Dirty." What is your favorite…read more >

Save the Date! Oct 2 is National Manufacturing Day

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect at Sonnhalter National Manufacturing Day, or MFG Day, is October 2nd, which may feel like a long way off from right now, but you should start planning today. If you’re a manufacturer, you should plan an event. Not sure what type of an event to plan? There are a variety of options for hosting an event, ranging from full day tours and sessions to half day learning seminars, or even 1-hour presentations. If you’re not a manufacturer, you should attend an event. You can find Manufacturing Day events in your area using this interactive map. If you’re planning to host an event for MFG Day in October, here are a few tips to make it successful: Set goals for your event. Do you want to improve your company’s image in the community? Do you need to recruit new talent? Do you want to contribute to changing the image of manufacturing? Figure out what you want to accomplish with your event and then create your plan. Identify your target audience(s). Based on the needs of your organization, some potential audiences to invite include local technical school and high school administration, faculty and students; local and regional politicians; local and trade media; family and friends of your employees and/or the local community as a whole. Put together a simple agenda. Include time to introduce your company and tailor your event to the audience that you’re inviting. Plan informative and interactive activities. Facility tours, brief presentations on different roles and Q&A sessions are easy to arrange and are effective. Promote your event. Be sure to list your event with mfgday.com, use your network to promote, and personally invite your target audience and promote your event through your existing channels including on your website and social media. Not available on…read more >

August Means Tool Drive!

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect at Sonnhalter It's August! At Sonnhalter, August means Tool Drive! We've just kicked off the Sixth Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive which benefits the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. If you don't already know, Habitat for Humanity does great work for communities, helping improve the lives of individuals and their communities. We've been doing this Tool Drive since 2010 and each year the generosity of our clients, partners, community and friends is absolutely overwhelming. Last year, we were able to collect more than $35,000 worth of donations, which brought the total we've collected since our efforts began back in 2010 to more than $141,000. Hosting an annual tool drive just made sense for us when we started since we work with companies who make products for tradesmen. Everything donated is put to use either building homes or at a ReStore location. Everything sold at Habitat's ReStores supports building and rehabilitating homes for people who need them. Be a part of this year's Tool Drive! To find out how to get involved, visit visit Sonnhalter.com/tooldrive or contact me at rkerstetter@sonnhalter.com or 216.242.0420 ext 130.read more >

Fabtech Expo Recap

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter I had the opportunity to attend the Fabtech Expo in Atlanta last week. It was my second year at the show and I am continually impressed by the immensity of this industry. The expo brought together more than 27,000 attendees and 1,400 exhibitors covering more than 500,000 square feet of the Georgia World Congress Center. Fabtech kicked off on Veterans Day and it couldn't have been more fitting since Workshops for Warriors was selected as the recipient of the Fabtech Cares campaign. Workshops for Warriors is a wonderful organization that I had the pleasure of writing about last year in Production Machining magazine. Workshops for Warriors, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to training, certifying, and placing veterans in manufacturing careers. It's no secret that manufacturers are looking for new sources of talent. At the same time, many former members of our armed forces are looking for work. Workshops for Warriors combines these efforts, giving American veterans and wounded warriors the skills U.S. manufacturing employers need. Veterans who are transitioning back to civilian life provide a vastly untapped talent pool of hardworking and disciplined talent for the manufacturing industry. Fabtech hosted a panel on the first day of the show on bridging the skills gap with veterans. You can see the progress of the fundraiser (and donate) here. Reshoring of manufacturing was definitely another popular topic. The Day One keynote actually came from Cindi Marsilgio, the VP for U.S. Manufacturing at Wal-Mart. The company has pledged to buy $250 billion of products made in the USA over ten years to encourage the creation of U.S. jobs. (You can read more about the keynote and Day One highlights on Fabtech's blog.) When walking the show and helping out in various booths, I heard the question, "Where are your products made?" Many…read more >

STAFDA Show Recap

I just returned from the STAFDA show which was held in Charlotte, NC. It was the biggest one in some years. The show, for the most part, was upbeat, and the economic forecast for the next few years looks promising for the construction market.read more >

IMTS 2014 Stats and Highlights

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer The 30th edition of IMTS (The International Manufacturing Technology Show) 2014 was the fourth largest IMTS in history and the largest six-day show ever with registration of 114,147 representing 112 countries. [Read the Press Release Here] I was able to attend IMTS two days last week and the one main impression that I walked away with is that IMTS is a huge show. Although I made a point to visit all four halls at McCormick Place in Chicago (North, South, East and West), I regret that I could not see it all. I spent most of my time with one of Sonnhalter's clients in the North hall and kept busy most of the time. IMTS takes place every two years and the 2014 show stats are impressive: 2014 registration was 13.9% higher than 2012 2,035 companies exhibited Exhibits covered 1.282 square feet 17,767 students, educators, administrators and parent chaperones (double the 2012 numbers) I had the opportunity to talk with exhibitors, attendees and media at the show and all of them had similar comments on IMTS being an impressive and very positive show. Here were some of my personal highlights from the show: Every client booth that I visited was busy and their teams reported gathering quality leads There were a lot of students who visited the show and they asked excellent questions at the booths such as, "What does your company do?" "How does this machine work?" "Where would I see your products in my everyday life?" and many more. The exhibitors were more than happy to answer their questions. Manufacturing growth and technology advances were evident everywhere I turned, from the world's first 3D-printed car [more on that here] to highly advanced machines and robotics and many other areas that I'm excited to learn…read more >

Attending a September Trade Show in Chicago?

Are you heading to Chicago this month to attend the IMTS/IANA, ASPE or NECA trade shows? If so, check out our exclusive Insider's Guide to Chicago! Use this guide to help you get around town during your free time while attending the various trade shows being held in Chicago in September.read more >

5th Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive to Benefit Habitat for Humanity

- Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman Habitat for Humanity does great work in local communities to help improve both individual’s lives as well as the community in general. This is our 5th year of the tool drive to help out this worthy cause. Last year we raised more than $31,000 worth of tools and building materials and have collected more than $106,000 in donations since our tool drive efforts began in 2010.   Since Sonnhalter’s major focus is on manufacturers who make things for contractors, 5 years ago we decided to help support our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and hosted a tool drive in the month of August to try to raise money, and more importantly, to gather tools (both new and used) to help in their building efforts, as well as to support them through their ReStore. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6fHo3XdfXE This August... tomorrow, we're kicking off our Fifth Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive! If you’d like to join us in our efforts, visit sonnhalter.com/tooldrive to find out more. You can also contact me at rascherl@sonnhalter.com (x126) or Rachel Kerstetter – rkerstetter@sonnhalter.com (x130) at 440.234.1812. Or, if you’re interested in finding a local chapter so you too can help out in your area, click here. Thanks in advance for your support!read more >

Big Data, Mobile and Social Media Dominate the Conversations at the 2014 BMA Global Conference

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect I recently attended the Business Marketing Association (BMA) global conference which was held in Chicago May 28-30, 2014. The largest B2B marketing conference in the world, BMA14 was attended by a record 950 B2B marketers from 450 firms, 33 states and 12 nations. The 2014 BMA conference also deployed two digital platforms—Livecube and ISEBOX—to enable speakers to take polls and attendees to ask questions, follow tweets, share photos and access conference content. If you are in charge of planning live events/conferences, I would suggest checking out these two resources. The 3-day conference was jam packed with content – featuring 79 speakers and presenters leading 41 sessions—three pre-conference programs, nine panels, 12 keynotes and 17 firestarters. These sessions covered a wide array of topics and trends of critical interest and importance to B2B marketers today. Someone at the conference referenced the amount of information presented was like drinking from a fire hydrant! Here are a few themes I saw throughout the entire conference: Big Data It’s becoming more and more difficult for marketers in today’s environment and I thought one illustration that did a great job of representing our challenge was the Marketing Technology Landscape graphic by ChiefMartec.com. We are surrounded by data, but starved for insights; that is, data does not automatically equal insight. Today’s marketers need to solve both analytical and creative issues as we continue to trend toward extreme personalization…segments of one. Mobile Since mobile devices are the predominant way people globally access the web and information, mobile is a critical factor when planning future marketing efforts. Here are a few stats from the conference that help reinforce the importance of mobile: Mobile data usage doubled in 2013 In the US, 1 of every 5 minutes spent on mobile are on either Facebook…read more >

Happy Plumber’s Day

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter April 25th is set aside each year to honor plumbers. At Sonnhalter, we have a great appreciation for plumbers and the work that they do. We salute the ones who keep everything flowing, and not overflowing. We’re thankful for the dedicated plumbers who answer the call and don’t recount the tales of what they’ve pulled out of pipes. In honor of National Plumber's Day tomorrow, we thought you'd enjoy checking out some plumbing history, compiled by Roto-Rooter.read more >

Build Safety Knowledge on Construction Safety Day

Following is a guest post about Construction Safety Day from James White from Maxwell Systems. We all know that safety comes first, but sometimes that isn’t enough. In construction, safety should come first, second and third. That is what the 7th annual Construction Safety Day is all about. One of the most important aspects of the construction industry is understanding the dangers involved and knowing how to remain cautious and safe at all times. During Construction Safety Day, that understanding and knowledge will be at the forefront of every activity and discussion. If we want to make the construction industry safer, the insight that can be gained during Construction Safety Day is a great place to start. Who, What, When, Where and Why On April 23, this year’s Construction Safety Day is taking place at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup. With the priority of keeping everyone in the construction industry safe, this conference will include exhibits, equipment displays and demonstrations among other activities. Just like last year, Construction Safety Day is being put on by Washington’s Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board. And in the name of making the entire industry safer, many construction companies are sponsoring the event, such as the following: Korsmo Construction Hoffman Construction Company Teknon Lakeside Industries, and more What to Expect With construction picking up again, learning how to prevent injuries is becoming more and more important. That is why we can expect this year’s Construction Safety Day to be an extension of last year’s event. The 2014 Construction Safety Day will introduce and explain the newest injury-prevention techniques, as well as demonstrate the safest ways to utilize new equipment and vehicles. Attendees will also learn proper leadership and communication behaviors to further protect everyone involved within the construction industry. This year’s Construction…read more >

3 Reasons Why The 2014 International Builders’ Show Was A Success

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter I attended the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas (February 4-6, 2014). This was the first time that IBS and NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry (KBIS) were colocated under the Design & Construction Week umbrella. With over 1,700 exhibitors combined, covering more than 650,000 square feet of floor space, these shows delivered more than 75,000 residential construction and design professionals. Here are three reasons why I thought this year’s show was a success compared to recent years: IBS/KBIS Combination – Since both of these shows had been struggling in recent years, it was a no brainer to combine these two shows under the same roof. The synergy of this marriage helped drive renewed energy for both of these shows. Exhibitors benefited from attendees they wouldn’t normally see; that is, KBIS attendees that normally would not have attended IBS and vice versa. It is much easier to walk down to a separate hall than to plan a trip for a separate show. Each show had its own dedicated app to help navigate the vast array of booths, educational sessions and speakers. Although I wished you could search exhibitors for both shows within each respective app. Stronger 2014 Outlook – The 2014 forecast for the residential new construction market is the strongest it has been since the 2008/2009 housing collapse. This helped drive overall attendance from the number of exhibitors to the building and design professionals crowding the aisles. Las Vegas – Like it or not, Vega is still one of the best places to have industry trade shows of this magnitude.  Especially this year, given the terribly cold Midwest/Northeast winter and Polar Vortexes, everyone was more than happy rushing to the sunny and warm desert! Was IBS a success for you?read more >

Five Observations From The 2014 AHR Expo

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter I attended the 66th International Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Exposition in New York City (January 21-23, 2014). For those not familiar with this trade show, it is the largest HVACR show in the United States, endorsed by 33 leading HVACR industry associations and co-sponsored by ASHRAE  and AHRI. This year’s attendance was once again very strong, with more than 61,000 people attending and more than 1,800 exhibitor booths. Here are five of my observations from the show: Strong 2014 Outlook – in addition to the positive sentiment of almost everyone I spoke with at the show, the recent ASHRAE/AHR Expo survey forecasts a pretty good year for the HVACR business. Of the 1,000 HVACR manufacturers worldwide surveyed, 79% of the respondents said their prospects for business were either “excellent” (19%) or “good” (60%) for the coming year, 90% of the HVACR manufacturers believe sales will increase and hospitals/healthcare, light commercial and data/telecom centers were the top three market segments identified to be the most promising for 2014. Trade Publications Are Not Dead – 35+ publications had a presence at the this year’s show, each with their army of sales people combing the aisles for new and potential advertisers; there also seemed to be an increase of international publications covering both Latin/South America as well as Asia. Technology Continues To Play Strong Role – it seems every year at this show more and more technology is introduced to the products and services showcased, whether it is the software driving these products or the tablets used to control and monitor them. Again this year, there was a dedicated AHR Expo app for the show which not only helped you find your favorite booth, but also had valuable information about the speakers, educational sessions, transportation and local…read more >

IBS/KBIS – Las Vegas Insider’s Guide

For those of you that are heading to Las Vegas for this International Builder Show or Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, we put together an Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas by asking friends and business associates about gems in the city that you might not be aware of. It includes Restaurants, Nightlife, Events and more. read more >

Happy Thanksgiving!

As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches, I’d like to say thanks to the many friends and clients we’ve had the good fortune to come in contact with over the years. We’re all running in several different directions all the time, and this time of year we need to slow down a bit to appreciate the things around us. So this weekend, don’t take your briefcase home, and your emails will still be there Monday morning when you get back in the office. Recharge your batteries this weekend. Play with your kids or grandkids, visit an old friend or watch some football. We take a lot of things for granted sometimes – our Families and Friends. And no matter how screwed up our country is in Washington, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Enjoy the weekend. We can get back to the rat race next week.read more >

Happy Thanksgiving!

As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches, I’d like to say thanks to the many friends and clients we’ve had the good fortune to come in contact with over the years. We’re all running in several different directions all the time, and this time of year we need to slow down a bit to appreciate the things around us. So this weekend, don’t take your briefcase home, and your emails will still be there Monday morning when you get back in the office. Recharge your batteries this weekend. Play with your kids or grandkids, visit an old friend or watch some football. We take a lot of things for granted sometimes – our Families and Friends. And no matter how screwed up our country is in Washington, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Enjoy the weekend. We can get back to the rat race next week.read more >

2013 STAFDA Recap

Just returned from the 2013 STAFDA Show in Las Vegas. According to STAFDA, attendance was up to around 4,900 participants. The show for the most part was upbeat, and the economic forecast for the next few years looks promising for the construction market. read more >

2013 STAFDA Recap

Just returned from the 2013 STAFDA Show in Las Vegas. According to STAFDA, attendance was up to around 4,900 participants. The show for the most part was upbeat, and the economic forecast for the next few years looks promising for the construction market. read more >

Flush With Gratitude!

The can, John, latrine, porcelain throne, commode, potty… No matter what you call it, the toilet is an important part of daily life. Today is World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day was started to bring awareness to the global sanitation challenge. Here are just a few facts about the global sanitation challenge: 2.5 billion people do not have a clean toilet Sanitation is a human right Safe toilet facilities keep girls in school Sanitation is a good economic investment You can read more information about World Toilet Day and the facts above here. We have the pleasure of working with companies serving the tradesmen that keep our toilets in excellent flushing order and help maintain the sanitation systems that we rely on. Their jobs are not considered glamorous, but they are so important. Today, and every day, we are flush with gratitude toward them for everything they do!read more >

Flush With Gratitude!

The can, John, latrine, porcelain throne, commode, potty… No matter what you call it, the toilet is an important part of daily life. Today is World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day was started to bring awareness to the global sanitation challenge. Here are just a few facts about the global sanitation challenge: 2.5 billion people do not have a clean toilet Sanitation is a human right Safe toilet facilities keep girls in school Sanitation is a good economic investment You can read more information about World Toilet Day and the facts above here. We have the pleasure of working with companies serving the tradesmen that keep our toilets in excellent flushing order and help maintain the sanitation systems that we rely on. Their jobs are not considered glamorous, but they are so important. Today, and every day, we are flush with gratitude toward them for everything they do!read more >

STAFDA 2013 – Las Vegas Insider’s Guide

For those of you that are going to Las Vegas this weekend for the STAFDA Show, we put together an Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas by asking friends and business associates about gems in the city that you might not be aware of. It includes Restaurants, Nightlife, Events and more. read more >

ISA 2013 Convention – San Diego

For those of you that are going to San Diego in June for the ISA Show, Sonnhalter has put together an Insider’s Guide to San Diego by asking friends and business associates about gems in the city that you might not be aware of. It includes Restaurants, Nightlife, Events and more. It’s available here read more >

STAFDA Convention 2011 – San Antonio

For those of you that are going to San Antonio this weekend for the STAFDA Show, we put together an Insider’s Guide to San Antonio by asking friends and business associates about gems in the city that you might not be aware of. It includes Restaurants, Nightlife, Events and moreread more >

AHR-EXPO 2011 – Las Vegas

For those of you that are going to Vegas at the end of the month for the AHR Show, we put together an Insider’s Guide to Vegas by asking friends and business associates about gems in the city that you might not be aware of. It includes Restaurants, Nightlife, Events and more.read more >

STAFDA Convention-Phoenix

For those of you that are going to Phoenix for the STAFDA Show, we put together an Insider's Guide to Phoenix by asking friends and business associates about gems in the city that you might not be aware of. It includes Restaurants, Nightlife, Events and more. It's available at www.sonnhalter.com/stafda read more >