As the housing market struggles to emerge from the prolonged downturn, we’re all looking to ensure that our businesses are as competitive as possible and that we get the greatest value for every penny we spend.

From my perspective, nothing meets that criteria better than attending the International Builders’ Show (IBS).

With countless networking opportunities, almost 200 education programs tailored to our needs by our own professional association, and 1,000 exhibitors showcasing the best products and services available, the IBS is our industry’s single most important event of the year.

The 2012 IBS will be held in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 8–11. Scheduled strategically between the year-end holiday rush and spring activities, this is an ideal time to invest a few days in your business and your future.

We’re especially proud that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak during a special session of our Board of Directors meeting on Feb. 10. This is an outstanding opportunity to hear from a man who is at the center of our nation’s efforts to mount an economic recovery—and a true honor for the NAHB, as such an appearance is relatively rare for the chairman. Registered IBS attendees will be welcomed as part of the audience on a first-come, first-served basis.

Featuring education sessions in 13 different specialized interest tracks, the IBS is an invaluable hub of knowledge for every aspect of the home building industry. Leading experts will provide the insight and information necessary to take your business to the next level, recharge your workforce, and prepare for the long-overdue housing market recovery.

And if you’re working toward earning one of the NAHB’s professional designations, need continuing education credits, or want to dig deeper into a particular subject, be sure to check out the pre-show educational offerings.

The exhibit floor has been the focal point of the Builders’ Show for almost seven decades. It will again take center stage in 2012 as manufacturers and suppliers showcase everything from cutting-edge appliances designed to dazzle home buyers to innovations in heavy-duty power tools aimed directly at improving worker performance on the construction site.

Many of our exhibitors have been showing their products at the IBS for 25 years or more, and some have had a presence at the show for over a half century. The NAHB greatly appreciates their support and loyalty and the great service and products that they provide to the industry.

The New American Home is a perennial favorite at the IBS, and the 2012 home promises to be quite a crowd-pleaser. Equal parts laboratory, education tool, and product showcase, The New American Home uses innovative technologies and the latest building products. It is sponsored by the NAHB Leading Suppliers Council and Builder, and is an outstanding resource for anyone in the home building industry who wants to keep up with leading-edge trends.

The “Centrals” are another great IBS feature. Focusing on specific aspects of the industry, they offer specialized workshops, activities, and educational materials that will facilitate networking and allow people to share information. At the 2012 IBS, there will be Centrals for sales and marketing, custom building, remodeling, apartments and condos, design, and 50+ lifestyle.

We have a number of registration options ranging from “expo only” to full registration, which includes access to all education programs as well as the exposition floor. Full registration will also include a complimentary one-year subscription with on-demand access to the online library of recorded IBS education sessions (does not apply to spouse, exhibitor, or student registration).

NAHB members who haven’t previously attended the IBS can register for $125. For an additional $20, spouses receive the same registration option as the primary registrant.

Fees increase on Jan. 7 and again at the show, so I urge you to register now to attend the 2012 International Builders’ Show.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.