Young Pros Reveal the 3 Most Valuable Take-Aways from IBS 2017


One of NAHB’s top initiatives is to introduce the younger
generation to the benefits of attending the NAHB International Builders’ Show®
(IBS). To help facilitate this, two years ago the association launched the IBS
Scholarship Program—a scholarship program for young professional NAHB members
under 35. 

NAHB welcomed 22 scholarship recipients to IBS 2017, and afterwards
they shared their experiences and found these aspects to be the most valuable
take-aways from the show. 

The Expansive
Variety of Products on Display

Seeing hundreds of new products first hand and learning
what’s trending in construction and design is one of the top reasons why
building professionals, designers, architects and other attendees enjoy walking
the exhibit hall floor. 

A first-time
attendee, Laila Reilly, a client relations manager at MaGrann Associates based in Mount Laurel, New
Jersey, said, “It was absurd—in a positive way! It was bigger than any other
conference I’ve attended, and I’ve never seen such sophisticated demonstrations
before. Many of the booths were
interactive, so that was valuable from a learning perspective.” 

With over 569,000 net square feet and more than 1,500
manufacturers and suppliers, the show is often
where manufacturers unveil their new products. It is also the place to find out
what’s hot, and what’s not, in fixtures, finishes and in building applications. 

“I learned about the new products that are coming out and
got new ideas—both of which are critical in my profession, the high-end custom
home building market,” explained Nicole
Chappie with Magleby Construction,
in Lindon, Utah. 

Additionally, with more than 75 exhibitors and over
20,000 square feet of display space, nextBUILD was the spot where attendees
could explore state-of-the-art business software solutions, back-end office,
design and personal technology tools. 

“Probably the biggest thing that I took away from
attending the show is that I signed up with a project management software
vendor that was there,” noted Nathan Cooper, owner
and president of River Valley Builders,
in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Those types of vendors were conveniently
grouped together on the show floor [nextBUILD]. As such, I was able to get all
of my questions answered and make a decision right there.” 

The Vast
Educational Offerings

Last January, thousands of building industry
professionals attended at least one of the more than 160+ education sessions
available in 8 tracks covering 55+ housing, building performance, design,
sales, remodeling, high-performance building, business management and multifamily. 

These sessions are a mix of 30-, 60- and 90-minute
presentations led by proven, industry-leading speakers, and with over 80% of
the content new, veteran attendees never have to worry about the content being
stale. This is why the education offered at
IBS is always a top draw. 

“Education was my primary reason for going. I learned a lot of great tips,
techniques and trade secrets—things that I’ve been able to apply to my business
already,” said Dan Souther, owner of Round Here Renovations, LLC in

Mike McArthur said, “I am early in my career, so the
education sessions that focused on how others got started or the mistakes they
made that we can learn from were extremely valuable.” 

While some attendees may question the investment of a full
and whether or not they’ll benefit from it, others, like Chris
Corder, owner of Coastal Restoration
in Gearhart, Oregon, said it best: “Rather than fussing around with education
throughout the year, why not go to something like IBS where you get it all in
one spot?” 

Networking with
Like-Minded Pros

Perhaps the top reason why building industry
professionals of all ages attend the Builders’ Show is that they get to meet and network with like-minded folks from all
across the country. Whether it’s walking the show, attending a large gathering
such as the Young Pro Party or getting to know others during a networking
event, there are always opportunities to make connections when you are open to

“The show was great. I got to meet people from all over
the nation,” said Jordan Okimura, a
financial analyst for Brookfield
Residential Hawaii
. “We all come from such varied backgrounds, so it was
interesting getting to learn their history, where they are from and what they

Regarding the scholarship program, Cooper added, “It’s a
great opportunity for a young builder to talk to other young builders. It’s a
way to gauge yourself based on others your age rather than talking to a builder
who is older and has more years of experience.” 

“I enjoyed the whole aspect of being involved in the IBS
scholarship program,” noted Jonathan Janack, of Janacek Remodeling, a
fourth-generation contractor based in Northwest Arkansas. “I made some good
connections with many in the group. I enjoyed finding out what some of their
struggles are and learning how we are similar in some respects and different in

Planning for IBS 2018?

The IBS Scholarship Program will once again be available to young professional NAHB members between
the ages of 21 and 35 for IBS 2018. Applications will be accepted beginning May
15 and must be received by June 21. Get
the details now.

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