So much to learn, and I wish I could somehow absorb it all at once, but as Chris Carradine (my new boss and Vice President of Marketing at ecobee) assures me, “it’s going to take time”. My name is Stephanie Clarke and I recently joined ecobee as the new Manager, Marketing & Communications. Coming from the contract furniture industry—my transition to ecobee and the HVAC controls industry has been a great adventure thus far. An example? Well, it’s only my third week at ecobee, and here I am in Chicago at North America’s largest HVAC tradeshow—AHR—doing product demos, blogging, Tweeting, and photographing the show.
Joining the Hive
As you probably know, ecobee lives and breathes its commitment to provide products that are easy, smart and green. And when asked, I can’t help but describe my new coworkers the same way. Easy—simply because it’s such a relaxed, friendly, easygoing working environment (we wear jeans to work every day!). Smart—because there are so many really (and I mean really) smart and talented people employed at ecobee. From the Software Development team, Customer Service, and Quality Assurance group, to the Sales and Marketing teams—I know I am going to be dreaming of algorithms, software upgrades, and mobile apps for months. Green—because the team shares a passion for sustainability that is truly inspirational. And it doesn’t stop when they leave the office. The ecobee bike rack is almost always full—even in January (in Toronto!). When I say that that many of my coworkers ride their bikes to work even when the wind chill is enough to freeze your nose hairs, I’m not kidding.
AHR—One BIG Show
I’ve been to lots of tradeshows before. IIDEX/NeoCon and Greenbuild with attendees numbering in the 20,000’s to name a few. So, naturally what shocked me most about AHR was its sheer size—it was truly astounding. For those who haven’t experienced AHR before, let me paint a picture for you. The booths literally go on forever—and you could walk for hours without even covering a small fraction of the space. Every hotel and restaurant in the city of Chicago was booked solid, and taxi/shuttle lines to leave the Expo was rumoured to be upwards of 60 minutes. Many of the people on my flight to Chicago on Sunday night were travelling to the windy city for the same reason as I—AHR 2012. The annual expo is home to 2000 exhibitors from over 30 countries around the world, visited by over 50,000 attendees from over 120 countries.
Arriving at the ecobee booth on Monday morning gave me a real sense of pride. I promptly began taking beauty shots of the booth, and photos of the team working together to prepare for the arrival of thousands of people passing through the ecobee booth. It wasn’t long before I noticed through my tiny camera lens that the booth packed with visitors, and exciting product demos were taking place at every turn. I promised myself I would refrain from using too many “bee” puns, but the booth was literally buzzing with excitement. I’m talking 10 people deep at all times, crowding around to catch a glimpse of the new Smart Si thermostat and Contractor Web Portal. Stuart Lombard, ecobee’s President and CEO spent most of his time over the course of AHR giving product demonstrations and interviewing with industry media—several camera crews even showed up to take live video. Needless to say, we can’t wait to see the final cuts!
In its fourth year exhibiting at the AHR Expo, its plain to see that ecobee is here to stay. And I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it all.