Whether it’s technology, trends or friends that draws the crowd, about 90,000 people will flock to Las Vegas this weekend to attend the National Association of Home Builders’ 2004 International Builders Show.

The show officially kicks off Jan. 19 and ends Jan. 22, but many home builders will arrive early to attend the association’s board of directors’ meetings and education seminars.

The biggest attraction will be the 1.6 million-square-foot trade show that will feature a record 1,600 exhibitors, who will introduce the latest in cabinets, windows, home appliances, home-building gadgetry, power tools, home furnishings and green building, to name a few.

“If it’s in a house, it’s at the show,” said R. Randy Lee, CEO of Leewood Real Estate Group.

This year will be Lee’s 25th attendance at the NAHB event. Leewood develops and builds affordable housing in New York City and New Jersey and Lee sits on the local and national association boards. Each year he goes home from the event with a few new products or service providers he then incorporates into his business, he said.

In addition to the massive exhibitor halls, the event offers attendees the opportunity to learn how builders use home technology to gain a competitive edge. General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt will discuss that topic during his keynote address at the tecHOMExpo Jan. 20.

Attendees also can explore building trends and home designs firsthand during home tours that will take place during the show. This year’s “New American Home” tour features a loft-style house. The Southern Nevada Home Builders Association will present two tours showcasing local homes and developments, and the NAHB Seniors Council will host a tour of active adult communities in the area.

Aside from such usual Vegas personalities as Elvis impersonators, Wayne Newton and Celine Dion, conference attendees might spot former President George Bush Sr., television journalist Leeza Gibbons, home improvement guru Bob Vila and members of rock group REO Speedwagon, who will appear at the builders’ show.

The Innovative Housing Technology Awards show will take place Jan. 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The award categories honor information technology products and home technology products, such as home networking, home automation and lighting, audio, home theater and energy efficiency devices.

Other awards shows include the “Best in American Living” awards Jan. 18, the “Best of Seniors Housing Design” awards Jan. 19, the “National Sales and Marketing Council Awards” Jan. 19, the National Housing Endowment Home Builders Care Project of the Year Award on Jan. 19.


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