Music blasting from loudspeakers that pumped up the standing-room only crowd who cheered on the more than 20 contestants of the Bricklayer 500 World Championship, in which 800 bricks are placed in an hour flat, was just one of the many exciting opportunities offered to attendees of World of Concrete.
The show, which ran Feb. 2-5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and is owned by Informa Exhibitions, was a huge hit overall, drawing its largest attendance in seven years, according to Tom Cindric, vice president at Informa.
The unaudited attendance numbers were tracking an 8-10-percent increase, compared with last year’s show that drew 55,000.
“The showfloor also is close to 750,000 net square feet, which also is the largest in seven years,” Cindric added. In addition, there were an estimated 1,500 exhibitors showing all the latest products for concrete professionals.
The show had some new areas, such as the pre-cast section of the show, which Cindric said was a “big industry for us,” as well as an expanded decorative concrete area.
The education sessions also grew, with some of the sessions, such as the ones that focused on hands-on training in which they took a class, then an exam and then went outside and put it to practice right away, completely selling out.
Attendees also had the opportunity to take part in an off-site tour to visit the Hoover Dam and see it thought the eyes of a structural engineer.
Back at the Las Vegas CC, at the Concrete Industry Management Auction, which last year raised $850,000 to support attracting your professionals into the concrete industry, someone could bid on items ranging from getaways to the Kentucky Derby to truckloads of concrete mix.
For first-time attendee Wayne Burroughs, who works with Western Star Trucks out of Laurel, Miss., World of Concrete was the perfect place for him to bring two of his customers and show them around.
“It’s just awesome,” he said. “There is so much to see in the concrete industry.”
For exhibitors like Joey Peters, who works with Oldcastle Architectural, said the show also was the perfect place to unveil the company’s new brand – Echelon.
“This is the first place we are introducing Echelon to create awareness,” Peters said. “It’s only a month old, so it’s the initial tease to this group. The primary audience is architects.”
The positive energy on the showfloor reflected the positivity in the overall concrete industry, according to Cindric.
“Right now, (the industry) is going really well,” he said. “The construction industry is coming back, and so are infrastructure and road projects. We have a fundamental problem in the U.S. with bridges. They aren’t sound, and there are a lot of projects happening around the U.S.”
Attendance also has seen a boost from people coming from other countries, with the largest contingent traveling in from Canada, as well as a strong showing from South America.
“About 15-20 percent of our total attendance is international,” said Steven Pomerantz, senior marketing manager for Informa U.S. “We work with the International Buyer Program, and there were 50 delegations that came over.”
Cindric added that the show went from being run by a domestic show organizer, Hanley Wood Exhibitions, to an international one after it was bought by U.K-based Informa.
World of Concrete now has a presence with pavilions at several existing Informa shows, such as Construct Canada and Buildex Vancouver.
In addition, the World of Concrete has satellite shows in Paris and India that continue to grow the brand overseas.
Pomerantz said on the second day of the show that exhibitors “seem really happy so far because the show is really busy.”
Cindric added that resigns for next year’s show were going really well. “We usually book at least 65 percent onsite,” he added.
Having the show do so well at the beginning of the year kicks off a good feeling for the overall concrete industry Pomerantz added. “It builds confidence for the business,” he said.
- Industry News