2020 IRE Show Breaks Records, Makes History


By Gary Thill

Everything is bigger in Texas, and this year’s International Roofing Expo in Dallas was no exception. 

As of press time, final numbers were still being tabulated. But show organizers said there was no question that the 2020 show broke records in attendance and size. Size wise, more than 540 exhibitors showed their products and services across 171,000 net square-feet of exhibit space — dwarfing the next biggest show, which had 152,000 net square-feet of space and 497 exhibitors. All those exhibitors brought in record crowds as well with attendees from across the globe filling the halls at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. 

“The roofing industry came together in a big way last week and we are thrilled with the outcome of the IRE 2020 and the record-breaking attendance,” said Ray Giovine, Group Director, Informa Markets. “There was palpable energy and excitement throughout the week and the city of Dallas was a fantastic host and backdrop for this year’s event. We look forward to releasing our final show results soon.”

Along with the thousands of exhibits, attendees availed themselves of multitudes of seminars, product demonstrations and on site educational opportunities, including the National Roofing Contractors Association’s newest offering, ProCertification. 

“The 2020 IRE has once again exceeded attendees expectations. With a record crowd, record number of exhibitors and record attendance at the education classes, the IRE has become the must attend event of the year! Plan now to attend the 2021 IRE in Las Vegas,” advised NRCA CEO Reid Ribble.

In addition to setting impressive records, the 2020 IRE also went down in the history books as featuring the first female keynote speaker, Charlotte Jones, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer of the Dallas Cowboys. In a dynamic presentation, Jones praised the roofing industry for the growth of women-owned companies and told the packed audience that diversity is key to ongoing business success. 

Jones also spoke about the power of partnerships — 24 Hour Fitness, Omni Hotels and the City of Frisco among them — that have helped transform the Dallas Cowboys into an international brand worth more than $5 billion and the importance of staying focused on a vision. 

“If you lose sight of why you’re in business, you will fail,” she told the audience. 

For women roofers, Jones sent a positive message to the rest of the industry and served as a reminder of how important it is to welcome more women into the trade. “I think the word is out that the industry needs women now more than ever,” said Susan Degrassi, vice president of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing. “Having Charlotte Jones serve as keynote speaker sends a message that diversity in this industry is welcome and celebrated.” 

Degrassi, who also serves with the National Women in Roofing association, said currently women represent about 9% of the roofing workforce, compared to about 2% in 2005. 
Finding ways to attract quality new workers male or female with the necessary skills was high on many attendees list of concerns. But many said they came to the show largely to see what new products might be available to help them grow their business and diversify in other ways. 

“We’ve got all these great customers and we want to see what else we might be able to sell them,” said Logan Nicholson, of Nicholson Construction who attended the show with his brother Reece. “We’re here to see if we can learn something new and maybe come up with a plan B if residential slows down.” 

Learning something new was also important to Daniel Aranas, an estimator with Epic Roofing & Exteriors in Canada, who praised the quality of the information and education he was receiving through the expo’s seminars and demonstrations. 

“There’s a lot of really great information,” said Aranas who had just come from a pricing strategies seminar. 

Like other attendees, Aranas also noted the sheer size of the show. “It was really surprising how big it was,” he said. “There’s a lot more on the market down here in the U.S. from different manufacturers than there is in Canada. I’m really glad I came.”