We talk a lot about branding in this magazine. By "we" I mean well-recognized marketing experts like Matt Michel of the Service Roundtable, Blaine Fox of Warm Thoughts Communications, Vicki LaPlant of Vital Learning Systems, and others. We've talked about the importance of you, the contractor, being the brand that your customers identify with. Sometimes, it's just as important for us, the content creaters here at Contracting Business.com to also drink the Kool-Aid®.

Whether the brand is a local contractor serving his or her individual marketplace, or a national seminar and tradeshow event that targets a specific part of the HVACR industry, branding is an important key to differentiating.

What I’m talking about is our live event, known throughout the industry as HVAC Comfortech.

Comfortech was the brainchild of former Contracting Business.com Publisher Jeff Forker and then Editor-in-Chief Dominick Guarino, and was born 16 years ago in Cleveland, OH. It was born out of need. In 1996 there was no open industry event that targeted only the residential and light commercial markets, and there was a need for such an event.

Comfortech became the in-person reflection of Contracting Business magazine, enhancing our editorial brand and educational mission in a way that print, alone, never could.

Over those years HVAC Comfortech grew into one of the most recognized and talked about events in the industry. It still is the only event open to the entire industry and that isn't focused on any one trade association or group of associations. It’s THE place where the industry meets.

In 2010, Comfortech evolved. It became part of something slightly bigger. It became the largest part of HVACR Week. In that year, we decided it made sense to concurrently hold two other events in conjunction with HVAC Comfortech. We added the Engineering Green Buildings conference, which targeted sister magazine HPAC Engineering's audience of facilities owners/operators, and consulting engineers. We also added the commercial contracting audience by moving the Contracting Business Design/Build Seminar (which became the Commercial HVACR Symposium) into the mix.

The three seminar events were separate, but their tradeshows were combined and packaged together under the HVACR Week umbrella.

For the next two years we saw continued changes in the marketplace, and it became very clear that the contractors serving the hydronics and plumbing sectors needed an event that catered to their educational needs as well.

To answer this need, we teamed up with our other sister publication, Contractor magazine, as well as our partners at the Service Roundtable, to create two NEW events that will be held concurrently under the HVACR Week umbrella. Except for one thing — hydronics and plumbing don't fit in so well with HVACR.

In 2012, the event evolves again. The umbrella is now Mechanical Systems Week and it consists of HVAC Comfortech 2012, HydronicsTech, and PlumbTech. Seminars are targeted to individual market sectors (though many that fall under the business management, sales and marketing, and service management tracks make sense across all the events).

The trade show portion of the overall event will serve exhibitors from the residential, commercial, HVAC, hydronics, plumbing, and refrigeration markets.

Mechanical Systems Week is September 19-21 in Shaumberg, IL. Stay tuned here in the magazine, "like" ContractingBusiness on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @ContractingBiz, or check out HVAC-Talk.com for the latest on Mechanical Systems Week and HVAC Comfortech.