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Demolition contractors and construction and demolition (C&D) debris recyclers will be soaking up the southern sun in February while attending the Demolition 2018 and C&D World conventions, taking place in Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee, respectively.

C&D World, organized by the Milwaukee-based Construction and Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), and Demolition 2018, organized by the National Demolition Association (NDA), Washington, allow members of the industry to network, learn the latest in technology and methodology and explore two of the South’s most popular destination cities.

“[One] thing that is huge is networking, getting together and talking about things,” Troy Lautenbach, president of the CDRA, says. “Our legislative update is extremely important; we’re a heavily regulated industry. We spend a lot of time looking at regional and national regulations, from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to EPA to local regulators.”

A VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE

Lautenbach says the association looked at Nashville as the host city for their event, which takes place Feb. 11-Feb. 13 at the Hilton in downtown Nashville, because it is a location attendees enjoy visiting.

“People love to go to Nashville, it’s a fun place,” Lautenbach says. “We had great attendance the last time we were there around 2014.”

In the past, C&D World took place in larger venues that would allow vendors to put heavy-duty equipment on display, but the CDRA fell away from that approach in favor of what Lautenbach refers to as “a tabletop version” of the show that doesn’t require as much real estate. The association’s new session-based approach allows it to venture to more locations, but Lautenbach says the association is considering going back to booking larger venues to bring back the heavy equipment showcases.

Along with the legislative update, attendees can also expect to hear speakers discuss some of today’s most important topics, such as recycling technology, equipment management, managing the potential of hydrogen (pH) in recycled concrete, social media marketing best practices, C&D fines, succession planning and an update on the biomass market.

The sessions are interspersed with breakfasts, lunches, refreshment breaks and receptions. On Monday, Feb. 12, attendees will close out the day of sessions with a fundraising event at Honky Tonk Central, one of the premier honky tonk bars in downtown Nashville.

The CDRA is also planning to bring facility tours to attendees in the Hilton. On Sunday, Feb. 11, attendees can watch virtual tours of C&D facilities throughout the U.S.

“We aren’t going to a tour, but we’re doing a virtual tour,” Lautenbach says. “We’re going to six or seven facilities in the U.S. and putting together video tours of their operations, then representatives from the facilities will be there to speak with attendees.”

Lautenbach says the CDRA is already planning its 2019 event, which will take place in Brooklyn, New York.

“There are some exciting new facilities there. We’ve never been there, and we thought, let’s give it a shot,” he says.

Launtenbach says booth reservations at the show are currently sold out, but the association is expanding booth space into the hotel’s foyer. He expects 300 attendees and 50 vendors to be in Nashville during the event.

“People are looking forward to it. It’s a pretty tight-knit group. We spend a lot of time commiserating [about the industry] sometimes,” he jokes.

LIVE AND LOUD

The NDA tried to balance finding a destination city that offered great accommodations along with ample entertainment options for their show, which is taking place Feb. 22-24.

“There were a few factors that led to the decision to choose Austin, Texas, for 2018,” Andrew DeBaise, NDA convention chair, says. “They city offers lots of attractions for our attendees. Many restaurants, nightlife and live music venues are located within walking distance of the convention center.”

The NDA also had size in mind when choosing the Austin Convention Center to house its event.

“We also selected Austin because of the space it provides for our event,” DeBaise continues. “We want to provide opportunities for vendors to show off their equipment, and this often requires a lot of space for the expo.”

Austin also provides space for the association’s new outdoor demonstration event, a component DeBaise says “NDA has been wanting to implement at the annual convention and expo for several years.”

The Live DEMOlition Event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 24, and will allow attendees to test demolition equipment and have one-on-one conversations with suppliers and vendors. “At the event, attendees can try out the latest in concrete processing, material handling, robotics and more,” DeBaise says. “The idea of doing a live demonstration event has been on our minds for a few years, and we are excited to finally see it come to fruition.”

A preconference education course will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 21 and Thursday, Feb. 22 and focus on the fundamentals of demolition project management. DeBaise says this is the second installment of the Foundations of Demolition Management series and attendees will receive a certificate upon completing the course.

The Foundations series launched with an estimated-focused course in 2016, and upcoming topics include environmental concerns, safety, risk management and cost accounting. For the project management topics, attendees can expect to hear strategies on successful management of a demolition project, from contract review and prejob administration through execution and tracking.

The course will close with a session recap.

“NDA’s Foundations of Demolition Management series was developed after a survey of our membership, which highlighted a particular need for tailored education in these areas,” DeBaise says.

Other educational sessions include 30-minute in-depth sessions and 15-minute “Fast and Furious” presentations. Topics for the sessions include the revised silica regulations, repurposed materials education and scrap industry market trends.

Along with the Live DEMOlition Event, NDA is also offering attendees additional networking opportunities, including a beer tasting event and an expansion of its annual banquet that includes dancing and bidding in a live and silent auction.

“The relationships attendees make through the convention are key and prove to be an invaluable resource throughout their careers,” DeBaise says. “We have made many efforts this year to strengthen these relationships and create new opportunities for young professionals and those new to the demolition industry.”

The author is assistant editor of Construction & Demolition Recycling and can be reached at hcrisan@gie.net.