March Madness Hits Construction Industry

If you want, you can spend almost the entire month of March at a construction or construction-related show. Early in the month it’s the National Truck Equipment Association’s (NTEA) WorkTruck show in Indianapolis, which is one of the best industry related truck shows because it is focused on trucks, truck equipment and accessories that are focused on the construction industry.

Of course the last full week of the month is Conexpo-Con/AGG 2011, which happens every three years. It is held in Las Vegas and fills the convention center and all it’s outside lots as well as the convention space of adjacent hotels. It’s big! This year’s exhibits top 2.2-million net sq. ft. of exhibit space, hosting more than 2,000 exhibitors. The show is supported by 80 allied associations and is expecting visitors from the U.S., Canada and 13 other countries.

There’s more… Not only is the convention center jammed with every conceivable construction product you can imagine, the meeting rooms are filled with opportunities to learn from some 125 educational sessions held during the show.

Most educational sessions start as early as 7 a.m. to rooms filled with contractors interested in learning and improving.

Along with all this activity there will be an endless string of press conferences introducing new products as well as booth visits for one-on-one conferences with product managers also introducing new products or technologies. It’s like a three-ring circus on steroids.

Over the years Conexpo-Con/AGG has grown into the largest construction show in North America and in recent times has been acclaimed as the largest single show in the country. Construction is a critical contributor to our national economy and while the whole economy has been suffering, this industry is probably one that has the greatest setback. It also has the greatest potential for helping stimulate economic growth. Construction spending translates into jobs. One thing about this industry, you can’t ship it offshore. Roads and bridges have to be built here; so do schools, churches, municipal buildings, hospitals, homes and everything else we build.

Conexpo-Con/AGG is especially significant this year. The last show, 2008, set all kinds of records including attendance. Although that show was strong and upbeat, there was a hint of what was to come. We missed or ignored the signs of what was coming. I don’t think that will happen again. This year industry experts and economists will be collecting data that will give us better insight into our economic future. One of the big questions waiting for an answer is the Highway Bill and the future of our transportation infrastructure. While Conexpo-Con/AGG can’t supply the answer, it certainly will reflect the feelings of a major segment of the industry and perhaps help send a message to the people in Washington who can make a difference. The resolution to this conundrum could very well provide a good barometric reading to our economic future.

I hope you’re going to the show. We will be there covering the show activity, sitting through press conferences and running from booth to booth for product interviews. We will also have a booth – 1809 North Hall. When you get tired and need a rest, stop by and have a seat. If you’re not tired, stop by anyway… we’d enjoy having the opportunity to meet and talk with you. You may want to check, or regularly from March 20 through 26 since I will try to blog and tweet activities. I’ll try to include pictures and even videos of things that are especially interesting and exciting. One product introduction I know that will definitely be posted will be Caterpillar’s new vocational truck. As soon as I get a picture I’ll post it…

Covering Conexpo is a challenge to say the least. This issue is our fourth that focuses on providing you with information about the show and some of the products that will be on display. It also happens to be our annual Buyers Guide issue that has been put together to help you find, locate and contact the manufacturers, dealers and suppliers that serve this industry. It won’t be perfect. We have incorporated all the changes reported to us. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s a start.

We invite you to contact us with suggestions regarding how we can improve this Buyers’ Guide as well as the regular monthly issues and the Web site. If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can reach me at or

-Greg Sitek

This appeared in the March issues of the Associated Construction Publications.

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