History at IBS

January 23, 2023

The International Builders Show is a week away, which has me reflecting on our history with the show. Did you know that the first Builders Show was in Las Vegas in 1944? We are returning to Las Vegas where we have experienced many memorable events. Here are a few highlights from experience and history at IBS.

The First Time


The first International Builders Show I attended was in 1995 in Houston at the Astrodome. I was new with Andersen Windows, so it was a big deal to be selected to attend the show. I had never been a part of something so significant and spectacular as the Builders Show. Andersen’s exhibit was 8,00 square feet featuring four different rooms, both the interiors and exteriors. If this was not impressive enough, each night the four rooms and environments were completely changed. It was a huge undertaking and absolutely impressive experience. One that helped form my approach to exhibiting at shows and marketing as a whole.

Off the Floor


Once the show floor closed, the party at IBS began. The events that the consumer publishers Meredith, Conde Nast, and others threw were unbelievable. The food and drinks were over the top. The entertainment was always a major headliner. We would bounce from major event to another to be treated like kings and queens. I recall calling home to my wife to share my excitement for the incredible experiences we were having. She would respond by telling how the kids were tired and crabby and the laundry was pilling up while they were eating Chef Boyardee pasta from a can. I quickly learned a lesson about oversharing. I was also able to have my wife join me at all future Builders Shows.

Sales Meetings


It was not unusual for building products manufacturers to host their national sales meeting immediately before IBS. The idea was centered on cost savings thinking one trip versus two to support both events. Well, in my experience, having a large group of friends and associates in the same city leads to incredible stories of fantastic feats. The one experience that stands out above all the rest is a teammate pounding on the window of a police car screaming at them to open the door and take him to his hotel thinking it was a taxi. The police officer was both patient and understanding, so we were able to find a proper taxi back to the hotel.

The Harley Davidson Eagle


The International Builders Show is all about the firsts. Weather Shield Windows and Doors produced a wall-sized replica of the Harley Davidson eagle as a custom window for the Harley Davidson Museum. This beautiful window featured the work of a well-regarded stain glass artist and nun that worked in the factory with the product team to assemble the window. It was magnificent. Later, Marvin Windows produced a large yellow rose window to showcase their custom window manufacturing and so the large custom window era began.

Dethroning the King


Kohler historically presents the most impressive exhibit at IBS and KBIS, so it is memorable that we produced a 10,000 square foot exhibit that featured wind, snow, rain, sun, and a hurricane simulation for the attendees to experience. The exhibit itself was absolutely fantastic. The best part of the team that worked so incredibly hard to bring this exhibit together was being recognized as the best exhibit on the floor, edging our perennial winner Kohler. It felt good to see an idea come to fruition and be rewarded for it.



I was fortunate enough to be a part of the team that produced the best hands-on experience at IBS I have ever seen in three decades. TTI is the parent company of Ridgid Power Tools. They created multiple job site scenarios for all the different trades to simulate the proper working environments to test their power tools. They invited attendees to drill, saw, wrench, ratchet, cut, and more with everyone of their power tools. Contractors are loyal to their trucks, supplies and suppliers, and their tools. Giving the contractors the chance to try all the Ridgid tools in one place was a huge success and wonderfully memorable.

The Best Parts


The best parts of all the Builders Shows I have attended are the experiences I have shared with the people I work with and can call friends. Honestly, the connections you make and keep through the time we share at IBS is the key performance indicator for the show, both professionally and personally.

One of my favorite memories of IBS, I dared my best friend Dean Horowitz to have a marching band with angry clowns attend one of his strongest legacies, Show Village. I can remember walking out of the Georgia Convention Center to be greeted by a marching band with angry clowns. There are so many stories from IBS. All of them are connections to friendships, some for life and others for now. At the core of IBS is you gaining information, insights, and experiences that help your business and you.

IBS+KBIS 2023 is set to be another memorable show. I look forward to meeting new people, learning new things, and spending times with friends. It would be great to hear your stories from IBS, past and present, so please share them. As a matter of fact, we are planning to ask attendees to share their best IBS story. Follow us on Instagram @DraperDNA or at draperdna.com to see what we learn.



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