It's tough to find good news these days. We're told over and over that the nation--and much of the rest of the world--should brace itself for what could be the mother of all recessions. The forecast for new construction in 2009 points to a decline right along with the economy.

Each week seems to bring more announcements about massive job layoffs or some industry looking for a financial bailout from Uncle Sam. A front-page article in a Chicago newspaper recently offered advice on how to save your job and what to do if you already have lost it.

Amid the gloom and doom comes the annual International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), scheduled for Jan. 26 to 28 at Chicago's McCormick Place. While this year's show may not surpass last year's record-breaking expo in New York City, it appears it will be a well-attended event. More than 50,000 attendees and 1,800 exhibitors will cover more than 375,000 sq ft of exhibit space. Time will tell how it will translate into business for the HVACR industry, but a strong show is a good start.

Building on last year's green focus, the expo will emphasize energy-efficient products and technologies. Green building, sustainable design, and renewable energy are just a few of the subjects that will be covered at the 61st edition of what is touted as the world's largest HVACR expo.

"As a leading information resource for the HVACR industry, it is critical that the AHR Expo keep its attendees on the cutting edge of the latest green products and issues," Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., which produces and manages the expo, said.

The latest trends, technologies, and techniques impacting the HVACR industry will be addressed as part of the extensive educational programming offered at the expo. In addition to 30 educational sessions and workshops offered by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Learning Institute, 18 industry associations will present 29 free sessions at the expo. Free sessions include "Using Technology to Create Sustainable Green Buildings," "Energy Economics in Your Buildings," and "Green Buildings, BIM, and Evolving Energy Standards."

For more information on the educational opportunities at the expo, including a list of courses, costs, and times, visit www.ahrexpo.com/education. For more information on the expo and to register, visit www.ahrexpo.com. I hope to see you there.