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Learn from Each Other

Originally published: 08.01.18 by Pete Grasso

Learn from Each Other

I recently made a recreational trip to Las Vegas for the first time. Sure, in my capacity as an editor — for this magazine and others — I’ve had the opportunity to go to Las Vegas many times for different industry events and educational conferences.

I’ve stayed at hotels up and down The Strip, explored Fremont Street and the many casinos and world-class restaurants the city has to offer. But this really was the first time I’ve ever been there without a laptop or a suit.

One morning, I woke up early and went for a run. The Las Vegas Strip early in the morning is quite different from the evening hours. There’s hotel and casino workers walking to their jobs, people stumbling back to their hotels from an all night lucky streak at the casino, as well as people cracking open that first beverage of the day as they get ready to party. And, of course, there’s even a few crazies like me who are out for some exercise.

I saw Las Vegas in a whole new light and it really made me reflect on the last time I was there, for Service World Expo last fall. As my mind wandered while I ran, I began thinking of all my previous trips to Las Vegas and other cities for different industry conferences.

I truly believe it’s important to go beyond the planned conference agendas and do something extra. It doesn’t always have to be recreational. At the very least, you should make an effort to spend time networking. This is perhaps the most valuable aspect of any industry event.

The keynote speakers, education seminars and manufacturer showcases are only half the reasons to attend. Sometimes, you get the most out of speaking with your peers. Think about it: every professional event you attend is full of people just like you. They’re business owners, leaders and managers who are eager to learn and improve their businesses.

You all walk in the same shoes. More often than not, you can find someone who has already solved a problem you’re facing and can learn from his or her experience.

Get to know the people you sit next to in the next session. Introduce yourself before it starts and chat with them afterward about their impression of the speaker and material. And, when you go to the next session, try to sit by someone else.

If you bring multiple members of your team to an event, instead of sitting all together, spread out and let everyone meet as many new people as possible.

In the evenings or during “free time,” make plans to get together for coffee, drinks or even dinner with your new friends. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about their business and share what you’ve learned.

Or, if you’re like me and enjoy getting in a run while you’re traveling, maybe the person you sat next to in the afternoon session is also a runner who would enjoy heading out with you the next morning to explore.

You can never have too many friends in business, and industry events are a great way to make them, as well as catch up with ones you’ve made at past conferences.

As we move into fall, there is no shortage of industry events on the calendar. Even though I just returned from Las Vegas, I can’t wait to go back in October for Service World Expo ( Here are some other events you might want to check out:

Women in HVACR Annual Conference
September 19-21, Denver

Nexstar Network Super Meeting 2018
October 3-5, Marco Island, Fla.

Connect 2018: PHCC Convention
October 9-12, Albuquerque, New Mexico

SMACNA 2018 Annual Convention
October 14-17, San Diego

AMCA International Annual Meetings
October 18-21, San Francisco

October 21-24, Huntington Beach, Calif.

ACCA Next Level
November 6-7, Fort Worth, Texas

Any of these events present a perfect opportunity to learn and network. For a complete list of industry events, be sure to visit And if you see me at one of them, don’t be afraid to come say hello … if I don’t get to you first.


About Pete Grasso

Pete is the former editor of HVACR Business magazine. He has spent his career working in and with trade media, both as a public relations practitioner and as an editor. He gained a great deal of expertise in the B2B arena, within large and medium sized advertising agencies. Be sure to follow Pete on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn!


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