HAVING GUESTS REMEMBER a specific event is terrific — as long as the event is not remembered for being uncomfortably hot or cold,” says Chris Smith, marketing specialist for Onalaska, Wis.-based heating and cooling equipment manufacturer L.B. White. So what can be done to ensure that an event environment remains a comfort zone? Equipment experts talk about their top products and the triumph of temperature-control technology in the battle against the elements.
FOCUS ON FLEXIBILITY
“Larger tents and frame structures have been quickly taking over the market,” Smith says. “Customers want a comfortable temperature for their event, but prefer guests don't hear or see the product that is controlling that environment.”
He notes that the demand for versatility has pushed his company to come up with more flexible products, including its Premier line of ductable tent heaters — the company's most popular event product, according to Smith. Premier units come in three sizes: 80,000, 170,000 and 350,000 Btu, in either natural gas or propane models. Equipped with a gas hose and regulator, easy-grip handles and a remote weatherproof thermostat, plus a choice of air diffusers and ducting options, the direct-fired heaters can be used “for any event where warm air is required,” Smith says.
Communication with event clients is the cornerstone of success for Topp Portable Air, says Ken Morello. The sales manager for the Aston, Pa.-based company, which supplies portable gas, oil and electric heaters and air conditioners up to 25 tons, insists that teamwork ensures an event with effective temperature control.
“Getting all parties together prior to the event and creating a game plan can eliminate most problems,” Morello explains. He says his staff works with event producers from the early planning stages to match equipment to the size of the event area, the number of guests, and the outdoor temperature and humidity at the event location. He adds that Topp's salespeople are responsible for coordinating logistics from permit approval to fuel arrangements, and will arrange equipment setup and tear-down as well as the return of the site to its pre-event condition. “If you never noticed we were there, we've done our job properly,” he says.
BE A SPORT
“We use our 37 years of experience in heating and air conditioning to solve our customers' problems,” says Tom Danley, national sales manager of Burnsville, Minn.-based Temp-Air, which rents a range of heaters and air conditioners to such events as PGA and LPGA golf tournaments and World Cup ski championships, plus festivals, circuses and weddings.
As an example of his company's expertise, Danley cites the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships at Beaver Creek, Colo. — still a milestone for Temp-Air, which provided 21 tent heaters for the event. Having determined that the running heaters would quickly melt the snow in which they were mounted, “We needed to figure out how to keep the heaters at the same level as the tent and limit the snow melt,” he says. To address the issue, Temp-Air constructed a scaffolding system to support the units and rigged additional ductwork so that heaters could be placed away from the tents.
Such measures are par for the course in the current event market, where clients, once content to simply rent equipment, Danley says, are now looking for “a turnkey operation with everything taken care of by the vendor.”
GLOW ON THE GO
For al fresco festivities requiring extra warmth, radiant heaters provide adjustable heat and maximum portability.
Lisa Cowan, director of marketing for Yorba Linda, Calif.-based Infrared Dynamics, says superior durability gives her company's Sunglo standing patio heaters an edge with rental operators. Manufactured in the United States, the Sunglo, which is made up of a dome top, heating element, pole, fuel tank and rock-weighted base, will “survive about 20 years,” Cowan says, describing the units as ideal for walkways and waiting areas as well as conventions, big barbecues and sports events.
Andrew Jennings, sales and marketing manager for Marietta, Ga.-based Stratagistics, says sleek design defines his company's Zubri patio heaters. “We get a lot of calls from producers who have seen our heaters and want them because they've got modern styling and look really cool.” But, he insists, it's lightweight construction — the 27½-pound Zubri can be broken down and packed into a 55-inch hard-shell carrying case — that seals the deal. “If you've got a van,” he says, “you can pack five or six of these in there and go.”
Infrared Dynamics, 714/572-4050; L.B. White, 800/783-5691; Stratagistics, 770/321-2530; Temp-Air, 800/836-7432; Topp Portable Air, 610/459-5515