Rock to Road

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Editorial: Big shows alive and kicking

Still key places for making deals and generating new contacts


March 26, 2019
By Andrew Snook

While being able to turn the page on another winter season is favourable to many in our industry, it also means we are nearing the end of one of my favourite times of the year: trade show season.

Over the years I’ve really enjoyed attending all of the massive trade shows and conferences that take place within the construction and resource sectors between January and March. My first introduction to these shows was as an assistant editor attending World of Concrete back in 2012.

I still remember showing up for my first day of the show dressed for the
office (silly me), while busting up a chunk of concrete with a Hilti demolition hammer, then jumping into a Case CE 621F wheel loader to take part in one stage of the Case Construction Triple Threat Rodeo Competition, which showcased skilled excavator and wheel loader operators from around the world running obstacle courses.

While I was able to successfully complete the course without damaging the wheel loader or any part of the course (with a little guidance assistance from Case’s marketing team), I was almost certainly the slowest operator that day (Fun note: A Canadian operator from Ancaster, Ontario won the competition that year).

While I was excited to see all the various pieces of equipment and technology on display at that show, I remember feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. The combination of having over 50,000 people attend a single show, and the show’s huge footprint really awed me at the time. Then, years later, I was introduced to CONEXPO/CON-AGG. Wow.

The sheer size of shows like the World of Concrete, World of Asphalt/AGG1 (record attendance of 10,063 this year in Indianapolis), the National Heavy Equipment Show (Canada’s largest heavy equipment show, which averages about 13,000 attendees), CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and bauma and Hillhead overseas, show how much importance professionals within the construction industry place on shows like these for making new contacts, catching up with clients, checking out the latest technologies and services for optimizing operations and keeping informed with the latest education sessions.

Although some organizations have attempted online versions of these shows in the past, there really isn’t a replacement for the face-to-face experience you get from a well organized and managed trade show or conference; particularly for the construction sector where being up close and personal with the people and the equipment is so vital.

These shows are equally vital for trade press editors such as myself, who want to to stay on top of the latest technologies and projects in the sector and meet with all the great people within the industry.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to another CONEXPO/CONN-AGG year in 2020.

See you in Las Vegas!