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How the 2024 IIBEC Convention and Trade Show Renewed My Purpose as a Budding Building Enclosure Expert: A Student Diary

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April 2, 2024
Lupe (right) with Andromeda Veer.

By Guadalupe Mendez

Editor’s Note: Guadalupe Mendez is a graduate student at the University of Houston studying architecture. As part of her student sponsorship, she was asked to keep a journal about her experiences in Phoenix at the 2024 IIBEC International Convention and Trade Show. This was her third IIBEC educational event as a student attendee.

March 8, 2024

I woke with anticipation of my departure for Phoenix, Arizona. The excitement of reconnecting with old acquaintances and delving deeper into the world of building enclosures filled me with energy. Arriving ahead of schedule, I seized the opportunity to explore the city and familiarize myself with the venues hosting the weekend’s dynamic educational opportunities.

My immersion into the building enclosure realm commenced with the Emerging Professionals Committee Meeting. We introduced ourselves, and I absorbed each attendee’s professional background. The discovery of IIBEC’s mentoring program through the committee discussion stood out, as it bridged generational gaps and facilitated invaluable knowledge exchange. Ice-breakers with our student host dissolved any lingering shyness, paving the way for fruitful discussions. I exchanged insights with my host, Jo Madrid, about our respective workplaces and motivations for attending the convention. Her guidance throughout the events enriched my experience and expanded my professional network. I also had the honor of encountering her co-workers Sarah Woodley, Jeremy Bridwell, and Bryan Staffel. As the day ended, I felt a mix of contentment and longing. I cherished the connections made yet yearned for more conversations with fellow professionals.

Student attendees at the 2024 IIBEC International Convention and Trade Show.

March 9, 2024

Today offered a valuable opportunity to reconnect with familiar faces from past conventions and trade shows—a welcome reunion amidst the bustling atmosphere. Among the myriad exhibitors, one, Detec, stood out with its showcase of cutting-edge equipment designed to pinpoint even the most minute roof penetrations that cause interior damage. Witnessing the machine in action was truly remarkable; it detected breaches by spraying water on the roof’s surface and emitting a beep upon contact with a hole. Furthermore, observing the intricate dialogue between building consultants and manufacturers shed light on the complexities of material sourcing for projects. These interactions underscored the importance of collaboration and informed decision-making within the industry, leaving me with a deeper appreciation for the multifaceted nature of building enclosure management.

March 10, 2024

As sunlight gently filtered through the window, I awoke with a start, convinced I had overslept and missed the day’s sessions. Rushing to prepare, I hurried to the convention center, only to realize I was early. Embracing the unexpected free time, I leisurely explored the trade show floor, seizing the chance to engage with booths I had previously overlooked. It was a serendipitous moment—an opportunity to forge connections before the day’s end, during which I had the pleasure of meeting Kimani Augustine and Mallory Buckley from Walter P Moore.

Student attendees stand by the side of the stage at the 2024 IIBEC International Convention and Trade Show.

One education session, “Cold Weather Condensation Problems in Fully Insulated Low-Slope Roof Systems to Meet NFPA 13 Requirements,” particularly resonated with me. The session delved into the complexities of condensation on low-slope roofs, addressing causes ranging from temperature fluctuations to occupancy patterns. Amidst a whirlwind of educational sessions, one event stood out—the Emerging Professionals Networking Reception, scheduled as the day’s finale. Here, I found myself immersed in dialogue with professionals new to the field yet brimming with knowledge beyond my own. Conversations with IIBEC Past President Michael Williams, building consultants, manufacturers, and architects enriched my understanding of the industry. It was a gathering suffused with camaraderie and shared enthusiasm, reaffirming my dedication to the building enclosure path I’ve chosen.

March 11, 2024

It’s truly remarkable to realize that today marks the conclusion of such an extraordinary convention and trade show! The day began with a whirlwind of educational classes, each brimming with insights to share with my fellow students upon my return to school. The atmosphere was vibrant as we gathered for the Foundation Live Auction and Reception and the President’s Annual Banquet—laughter filled the air, and exchanged jokes created moments of pure joy.

As the event draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the connections forged and experiences shared. I’ll dearly miss the camaraderie of my fellow scholarship students and the chance encounters with acquaintances from past conventions in Houston, Texas—Julie Palmer and Russell Raymond—who have provided constant reassurance. Yet, it’s the new connections made—both at this year’s event and during the IIBEC Building Enclosure Symposium—that truly resonate. I had the privilege to engage with Richard Smith, Karl Schaack, Allysia Youngquist, Caroline Smrokowski, and Violet Spiewak. This convention has reaffirmed my commitment to pursuing a career in building enclosures—a path defined by problem-solving and innovation. As I bid farewell to this gathering of industry peers, I carry with me a renewed sense of purpose and determination.


Now that I’ve returned to the usual grind and stress of my final semester in the master’s program here at the University of Houston, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the individuals who made my student sponsorship possible and incredibly enriching. A heartfelt thank you goes to Rick Gardner for facilitating connections between students and hosts, making navigation of IIBEC events much easier. I also want to extend my deepest appreciation to Jo Madrid for being an exceptional host at the 2024 IIBEC International Convention and Trade Show. I am immensely grateful to our student scholarship sponsors from the RCI-IIBEC Foundation Board of Directors: Mike Blanchette, Helene Hardy Pierce, Sidney I. Hankins, Patrick Banning, Andre Desjarlais, Michael DuCharme, David R. Hawn, Scott Hinesley, Brian Pallasch, Ralph Paroli, Walter Rossiter Jr., Ted Sheridan, Richard Voyer, and Lionel van der Walt. Your contributions to the student sponsorship program have made a significant impact and are deeply appreciated. Thank you so much for your generosity and support.