By Steve Smith

The Radiant Panel Association has announced that next year's REX trade show and annual convention will become a part of ISH North America, scheduled for Oct. 13-15, 2004, in Boston.

"Combining numerous related events into one location such as ISH NA allows exhibitors and attendees alike to make more efficient use of their time and resources," Larry Drake, executive director of the RPA, told us after making a formal announcement during the general session at his group's meeting, May 7-10 in Sacramento, CA. "Exhibitors will be exposed to a much larger audience, and attendees will still be able to visit the exhibitors they would have at REX as well as many other areas of their businesses."

The trade show consolidation is expected to increase exhibitor booth space for ISH NA and attract additional attendees to the show. This year's REX show attracted 93 exhibitors and more than 1,000 attendees.

There are a number of synergies for the 9-year-old radiant trade group to join the relatively new ISH NA, which will hold its second show Oct. 1-3 in Las Vegas.

  • Both REX and ISH NA attract much of the same attendees and exhibitors.

  • The educational programs held in conjunction with the two events also address similar topics.

  • By combining the two trade shows, the educational sessions, as well as the RPA's annual meeting, attendees and exhibitors will be able to decrease their participation costs.

  • The RPA can take advantage of increased attendance and promotion by integrating its show with ISH NA.

"The agreement between RPA and ISH NA strengthens the consolidation mission that has been the launching premise for the ISH NA concept from its very inception," said Roland Bleinroth, president, Messe Frankfurt. "As the authority in the radiant industry, the RPA's additional educational courses will be attractive not only to its own members, but to other contractors and specialists in allied fields. We're also excited that RPA members will be joining thousands of other industry professional on the show floor."

Drake says the RPA had had ongoing discussions for many years about co-locating REX with another trade show. However, Messe Frankfurt initially approached the RPA about a year before the first ISH NA held last year in Toronto.

"Early on in our planning for consolidating similar industry trade events to join the ISH NA event, we identified the RPA as a perfect fit," Bleinroth said.

In fact, the RPA already was a sponsor of the first ISH NA and hosted several seminars and meetings. "Since radiant heat has moved into the mainstream of the heating industry," Drake added, "the timing is right to join ISH NA, which has a most promising future."

While Drake admitted that there may be some loss of intimacy for his closely knit group of radiant renegades, he still intends on keeping that independent spirit thriving. For example, the RPA's annual convention will be held prior to ISH NA. Certification exams, System Showcase awards and many educational events will take place just as they have been in the past. And although the REX name may not be present on the trade show floor, there will be an expanded hydronics and radiant panel section.

"Some current exhibitors may opt for larger exhibits, and we expect a number of new exhibitors," Bleinroth added.

Bleinroth expects to see the first results of the consolidation at this year's ISH NA. The RPA, for example, will be hosting its Radiant Basics and Radiant Precision classes in Las Vegas.

Messe Frankfurt has attracted a total of 18 other trade groups that have endorsed ISH NA, including most recently IAPMO, The American Backflow Prevention Association and the World Plumbing Council. But the RPA development marks the first time since the American Supply Association, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating first backed ISH NA that Messe Frankfurt has attracted a major trade association and accompanying trade show.

"Our educational program will be even better in the future with the additional support and input from RPA," said Ike Casey, executive vice president of the PHCC-NA. "With our extensive multi-track seminar program and other onsite events, ISH NA is packed with events designed for out multi-discipline audience."

Bleinroth hopes the RPA consolidation will spur other trade associations. "We'd like to think that this is an 'industry wake-up call' and that other groups will consider the advantages of joining ISH NA," he added.

For more show information, contact Messe Frankfurt, Inc., 1600 Parkwood Circle, Ste. 515, Atlanta, Georgia 30339, (770) 984-8016, (866) 984-8016, Fax (770) 984-8023, e-mail,