Messe Frankfurt, the organizer of the biennial ISH show, has formed a partnership with ASA, CIPH and PHCC-NA to introduce ISH North America in the fall of 2002.

Messe Frankfurt, the organizer of the biennial International Sanitar Heizung Clima, or ISH show, in Germany, has formed a partnership with the American Supply Association, the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association to introduce ISH North America in the fall of 2002.

The new event will incorporate the existing North American Expo but follow the traditional ISH concept, presenting six major technology themes: heating and ventilation; air conditioning; kitchen and bath; installation, which includes plumbing, hydronics, pipe, valves and fittings; measuring, testing, control and regulation; and building automation.

"We have heard from our customers and the industry that they are looking for the ISH concept to happen in North America," said Roland Bleinroth, president of Messe Frankfurt. "One of the things that differentiates us is that we take a more long-term approach. We concentrate on the buyers'side.

"ISH North America is tentatively planned for October 2002 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The organizers estimate 20,000 domestic and international buyers will attend and 600 exhibitors will participate.

The new show is not intended to integrate NEX and continue it, but to create something else, Bleinroth said.

Unlike its German counterpart, initially ISH North America will be an annual show, Bleinroth said.

"Ultimately we would like to go to every second year for the show," he said. "That is what the industry has been telling us.

"ISH North America will travel around the continent. Plans are to stage the event in Chicago, Toronto and Las Vegas. Educational seminars and annual meetings of the partnering associations will be scheduledin conjunction with the trade show and will not compete with exhibition hours.

A new beginning

"NEX was a good start on show consolidation," said Inge Calderon, executive vice president of ASA. "This is show consolidation from another point of view. We have confidence in the marketing and brand power of ISH. We are looking to increase the participation of international exhibitors and attendees. Our convention will take on a new complexion because ISH will start out strong and end up being the focal point.

"While the new show will be marketed as international, it is going to be a show for North America and is expected to draw a balance of domestic and international exhibitors and visitors comparable to the German ISH, Bleinroth said.

The breakdown of exhibitors at ISH 1999 in Frankfurt was 1,193 Germany-based vs. 1,074 international, said Horst Niedlich, vice president/technical fairs at Messe Frankfurt.

Most Canadian buyers, wholesalers and manufacturers and many contractors have been to the ISH show in Germany, said Ed Hardison, president/ general manager, CIPH.

"We see ISH as the premier plumbing and heating show in the world," Hardison said. "The goal of ASA, PHCC and CIPH is to create an ISH show for the Americas. ISH has the secret for building attendance and getting exhibitors. Messe Frankfurt understands our industry.

"The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute has long been an advocate of fewer, larger North American building products trade shows with international attendees, said Barbara Higgens, executive director. In 1999 PMI issued a statement calling for consolidation of North American building products trade shows by 2005.

"While our ultimate goal is the consolidation of existing trade shows, PMI is cautiously optimistic that this cooperative effort is a first step toward that goal," Higgens said.

One of the potential partners that could eventually participate in ISH North America is the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

The NKBA is open to discussing trade show consolidation with Messe Frankfurt and the NEX partners, said Cecilia Balasz, chief operating officer.

"We tried for a couple of years to do something with NEX," she said. "We know the industry is clamoring for consolidation. We're surprised that ISH would try to start a new show.

"Messe Frankfurt is looking for integration and hopes that most of the industry will join ISH North America, Bleinroth said. However, existing major shows in the United States are not expected to disappear, he said.

"They have their market and audience and justification for being there," Bleinroth said. "What we are offering is a platform that offers a different benefit. We do not expect ISH exhibitors to make the decision not to participate in other shows.

"The partnership with NEX is the initial step that had to be taken, Bleinroth said. "We want to extend an invitation to other entities including publications and other industry associations to join us and create a unified approach."