Despite the frigid Chicago weather and cold U.S. economy AHR Expo 2003, held January 27-29 at Chicago's McCormick Place, set all-time attendance and exhibitor records. The numbers from this year's event are the highest in the 73-year history of the show.

More than 58,000 HVACR professionals (over 38,000 registered visitors and 20,000 exhibitor personnel) from 117 countries filled the aisles during the three-day event to see thousands of the latest products and technologies from an all-time record 1,860 exhibiting companies. Of the total listed number of exhibitors participating at the 2003 AHR Expo, 1,408 were contracted exhibitors and 452 were co-exhibitors. Additionally, the more than 38,000 registered visitors are the largest ever to attend an AHR Expo.

At more than 400,000 sq ft, the 2003 show also set an all-time record for exhibit space. New all-time records were also established for the number of foreign exhibitors 286 (233 contracted exhibitors and 53 co-exhibitors) and number of first-time exhibitors 297 (261 contracted exhibitors and 36 co-exhibitors).

Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Company, said he hopes these excellent results bode well for the economic health of the entire HVACR industry. "The exhibitors we spoke to were very pleased with the quantity, quality and upbeat mood of buyers looking to purchase equipment."

Some new features were added to the 2003 event that helped attract the record number of attendees. The New Product Technology Theaters provided a valuable resource for exhibitors to preview their new products at the show and share their outlook on the industry. Another popular attraction was the inaugural presentation of the AHR Expo Innovation Awards to companies in seven different HVACR product categories. The competition is jointly sponsored by ASHRAE; ARI; and International Exposition Company (IEC), producers and organizers of the AHR Expo.

"The 2003 AHR Expo has set new records in square footage occupied by exhibits, total number of exhibiting companies and total registered visitors (excluding exhibitor personnel) in very challenging economic times," said Stevens. "This can be taken as a clear indication of the importance of the HVACR industry in our global economy and the essential role played by the AHR Expo in our industry's growth and development."

The 2004 AHR Expo moves to Anaheim, CA at the Anaheim Convention Center, January 26-28.