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Chillventa 2014: the experience of a lifetime

By: Ilana Koegelenberg – assistant editor

In the three days I spent at Chillventa 2014, I learned more about this industry than I did in the nearly three years I’ve been at RACA Journal.

To say I had no idea what I was in for when I boarded the flight to Nuremberg in October, would be a clichéd understatement. Chillventa 2014 really was a life-changing experience in more ways than one.

I cannot tackle an article of this nature without throwing in a disclaimer, because the sheer size of the exhibition made it impossible to give each stand equal attention and covering the event in its entirety would’ve taken at least four of me! So here follows my experience of Chillventa 2014, fragments of impressions pieced together – still merely a glimpse of the great basket of HVAC&R on display.

The build-up
In the months leading up to my ‘big trip’, there was no shortage of people telling me how ‘massive’ the show would be, recounting memories of ‘sore feet’ and ‘unfriendly Germans’. I tried to pay no mind as I made my endless lists and mapped my route with a yellow highlighter on the A3 printed floorplans (Hall 7 was going to be hectic). But it was hard not to get intimidated by the prospect of making my way through the 984 exhibitors in the allocated three days.

Too soon the time to frantically try and fit everything into my suitcase arrived. My diary was booked morning to noon with appointments with our clients (local and international alike); the camera was charged; and the black plastic folder containing all the endless documents I could possibly need to be allowed into the foreign country, was stuffed into my handbag – I was ready. Or as ready as I ever could be.

As I sat at the airport awaiting my first international flight of my life, I ran through the Excel sheet with the appointments again, colour-coded and organised by hall, trying to mentally prepare myself for the days to come. But it was the part I couldn’t rehearse for that really worried me – the 5am connecting flight in Frankfurt, less than an hour after this one was to land. Good thing I was wearing my running tekkies. Sprinting across the airport, desperately willing the gate numbers to approach the A26 printed on my boarding pass, my brain worked overtime trying to come up with ‘Plan Bs’ in case I missed the flight to Nuremburg (or Nürnberg in local speak). It was touch and go for a while, but as the boarding gate closed behind me and I jumped on the bus in the nick of time, I couldn’t help but feel the worst was over, without allowing myself to get too optimistic.

Read the full article on page 27 of the January 2015 issue of RACA Journal.

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