Reason #1 - It's YOUR show.
There's no shortage of trade shows featuring PHCP products, but you won't find another one aimed specifically at the trade channel of distribution. You won't find many interior designers, retailers, consumers and other peripheral customers occupying the attention of ISH NA exhibitors. Mostly they'll be holding court with contractors, wholesalers, specifiers and other industry players.

Reason #2 - The big shots will be there.
Unlike local and regional trade shows staffed mainly by field sales personnel, most companies exhibiting at ISH NA will include top executives and marketing staff. It's a chance to discuss deals, ideas and complaints with decision makers.

Reason #3 - ASA is meeting there.
ISH NA follows on the heels of the annual American Supply Association convention. ASA is a full-fledged partner of ISH NA, and if you're a loyal ASA member, it deserves your support. If you haven't attended an ASA meeting for a while, it's time to get reacquainted. If you don't belong to ASA, here's an ideal chance to find out what they're all about. Contact ASA at 312-464-0090 or and tell them you'd like to explore their convention. I bet they'll welcome you with open arms.

Reason #4 - PHCC is meeting there, too.
ASA is holding its convention concurrently with PHCC-National Association in an alliance billed as “Network '06.” It's a chance to mingle with some of your customers and prospects.

Reason #5 - Educational programs galore.
This probably deserves to be Reason #1. ASA is hosting a sizable agenda of speakers, roundtables and workshops, plus collaborating with PHCC for several more. There are two keynote speakers that I'm looking forward to hearing - James Bradley, son of one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers and author of "Flags Of Our Fathers," a terrific book about the lives of those men; and oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer and explorer of the wreck of the Titanic. Plus, there will be 36 separate educational programs held during the three-day ISH NA exhibition. They span business management, plumbing, codes, HVACR, radiant/hydronic heating and environmental systems topics. You'd have to be dead not to learn something useful at these sessions.

Reason #6 - The best one yet.
This year's show is well on track for an all-time record of exhibitors - 470 as of this writing in late June, including 127 new exhibitors. That doesn't include the 30-40 companies within the China Pavilion. Companies from 17 different countries thus far are slated to exhibit.

All of them are interested in selling through the PHCP wholesale distribution channel. Why would any wholesaler want to miss out on this opportunity?

Reason #7 - Fun & games.
There's a golf tournament benefiting the PHCC Educational Foundation and a bunch of other social activities hosted by ASA or in conjunction with PHCC.

Reason #8 - It's in Chicago.
My home town features an array of world-class restaurants, museums, architecture, music, sporting events, shopping, night life and activities for virtually every interest. You'll also find Chicago to be one of the friendliest, most unpretentious big cities to be found anywhere. The downtown area where the conventions and trade show will be held is well policed and has one of the lowest crime rates in the city. You don't need to feel afraid of walking around at night even if you stray a few blocks from your hotel. (Don't wander off for miles, though. Be sensible about the world we live in.)

Reason #9 - The weather should be fine.
Nobody can make promises about this, but late September weather in Chicago usually is quite pleasant. You might encounter a little fall chill, especially after nightfall, but nothing extreme. Daytime temperatures likely will call for short sleeves to light jackets.

Reason #10 - Serendipity.
This is a fancy word that means making fortunate discoveries by accident. It happens all the time at trade shows and conventions. You might discover a lucrative new product, establish a fresh business relationship, run into old friends or learn something significant. Serendipity is most likely to occur when we expose ourselves to networking and educational opportunities.

Don't miss Jim's program, "50 Simple Tips To Boost Your Business Writing," to be presented at this year's ISH North America trade show in Chicago, Sept. 28-30. "It's guaranteed to freak out some English teachers," Jim says. For more information, visit: