When I joined DWM a little more than a month ago, one item on my busy calendar for 2015 really intrigued me — the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas, which wrapped up last week.

I’d read about it, and I knew that even though it isn’t as huge as it was in the early 2000s, it’s still one of the largest trade shows in the world.

And for this newcomer to the world of doors and windows (and trade shows — I’d never been to one before), it was quite an introduction.

The sheer size and scope of IBS is daunting. It fills the Central and South halls of the vast Las Vegas Convention Center — and that’s not even including the co-located Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. That means miles of walking each day—and the sore feet that go along with it.

But the experience, while exhausting, was well worth it.

First of all, it was educational. If you want a crash course in the door and window industry, there’s no better classroom than IBS. You’ll see a greater variety of products in one place than almost anywhere on Earth. Plus, most major manufacturers are there, so you get to learn more about them.

Secondly, I met a lot of great people. Brad Loveless of Simpson Door epitomizes the kind of warm, funny folks I kept encountering as I visited the booths on the IBS floor. In fact, I met so many people that I ran out of business cards. (Tip No. 5 on this great list  reminds me why I should have brought more.)

Lastly, despite the hours of walking and writing, it was flat-out fun. Of course, Las Vegas has plenty of distractions, but IBS featured lots of its own, including celebrity appearances by Ty Pennington, Vanilla Ice, Anthony Carrino, Bob the Builder and many more.

And before Thursday’s farewell concert with ZZ Top, I lucked up and shared an elevator ride with none other than Billy Gibbons, the veteran rock band’s guitarist and vocalist. A dream come true.

Now that I’ve got this experience under my belt, I can’t wait to go back next year.

With more comfortable shoes, of course.


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