By Lauren White, RCS Reporter.
The International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC), previously known as Roof Consultants Institute (RCI), has faced a series of changes in the last few years, adding a virtual conference to their list. Heidi J. Ellsworth, RoofersCoffeeShop® partner, visits with the IIBEC leadership about how they adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott Hinesley, the president of IIBEC, Ted Sheridan, the first vice president of IIBEC, and Brian Pallasch, who is the new IIBEC CEO share about the process of executing the first virtual conference in the roofing industry.
Earning his degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University, Scott got his start in construction services by testing soil and concrete. While at the company, Scott decided to branch out and learn more about the construction industry and started with roofing. He mostly did field work, takeoffs and infrared and nuclear surveys for the roofing division. He later joined REI Engineers in 1998 and has worked there for the last 30 years, becoming the president in 2010. He shares, “To be honest, I don’t think I would change anything. I wouldn’t change any of my trajectory [or] any of the lessons I’ve learned. It’s been a fantastic experience for me.”
Shortly after graduating with a degree in engineering, Ted started doing roof and building enclosure consulting. He was assigned roofing because no one else in the company wanted to do it. Ted eventually started his own business and is now the president of Fishburn, Sheridan and Associates in Ottawa, Canada, which specializes in roofing and other building enclosure engineering.
Brian is closing in on one year working for IIBEC. Previously, he worked for the American Subcontractors Association and then at the American Society of Civil Engineers for 20 years. With a background in public policy, Brian ran their Washington, D.C. office, working on the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and other well-known projects. Throughout his career, Brian has worked with many engineers and architects, which has made his transition to IIBEC seamless since he does “speak engineer.”
Over the last few years, IIBEC has changed their name, brought on a new executive vice president, and currently has been faced with planning and executing the first virtual conference in the roofing industry. The COVID-19 pandemic forced IIBEC to cancel their travel plans and postpone the show as they were packing their bags to go to Houston. “We had to be very nimble and quick and had to make some difficult decisions. It was a hard decision to send an email to the membership and tell them that we were going to postpone,” shared Brian. After spending a lot of time thinking about how to proceed, they used some software tools to host their educational sessions and trade show, virtually.
Attendees will log into a portal, which will have a great hall they will “walk” into and select different sessions they’d like to participate in. Some education courses will be live while others are pre-recorded. The benefit of pre-recording sessions is that the speaker will be able to answer questions in real time, creating a more interactive experience for attendees. “We are really excited that we’re going to be able to offer all of the educational courses that we were going to offer in Houston,” Brian shared.
For the virtual trade show, which RCS will have a booth at, exhibitors will be available live during scheduled times from June 12-14. With the virtual component, attendees can also pose a question to an exhibitor at any point throughout the day. “You can go into that virtual trade show at 10 o’clock at night, and go pose your question to an exhibitor. Then it will send them an email, and they’ll be able to answer that, or go live with you at another time,” Brian explained.
Because of the way the software works, the education sessions and trade show will be available through July 15. Typically at a trade show it’s impossible to go to all of the sessions since there are so many and some of them conflict. “Now all 24 of those sessions, you’re going to be able to participate in, at your own leisure, between June 12th and July 15th,” according to Brian.
CEH (continuing education hours) credits are provided for each presentation attended. If participants attend all 24 education sessions and the virtual trade show, they can earn 24 CEH credits. “People are going to be learning that they can do this now, any time, on demand, which is going to make a huge difference to a lot of people who are trying to keep their credentials up,” Brian revealed.
They’re hoping the virtual trade show will be as successful, if not more successful, than their member meeting. Usually they lure people to the meeting with free sandwiches and 100-150 people attend. This year they proposed a virtual meeting and ended up with 400 online attendees. This pleasant surprise helped IIBEC realize a problem they didn’t know they had regarding the availability of their members for this meeting. Going to the convention requires time and money for travel, hotels and registration for the convention. “With those impediments not in the way, we suddenly got a bump up in our attendance,” Ted shared.
IIBEC has utilized technology and software to not only have a highly successful member meeting, but also provide the roofing industry with a virtual trade show and conference. This progressive approach will allow attendees to meet with exhibitors and participate in sessions in real time, in addition to catering their attendance to their own personal schedules, providing attendees with a very unique and personalized conference experience.
Listen to the podcast to hear more about the virtual IIBEC trade show from the Scott Hinesley, Ted Sheridan, and Brian Pallasch. Check out the RoofersCoffeeShop® podcast page for even more.
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