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Whether the chilly weather has you pining for an escape to a spectacular mountain range or a city of lights, two of the construction and demolition industry’s largest professional conventions this spring have you covered.

Straddling opposite ends of the country this year, Construction and Demolition Recycling Association’s (CDRA’s) C&D World and National Demolition Association’s (NDA’s) Demolition Rockies will once again offer weekends filled with exhibitors, tours, demonstrations, educational sessions and professional networking opportunities. The 26th annual C&D World will take place March 9-12 in Brooklyn, New York, at the New York Marriott near the Brooklyn Bridge. Just a few weeks later, demolition buzz will continue at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado, during Demolition Rockies March 22-25.

While both conventions cover the C&D space, their distinct locations and schedules are sure to offer diverse experiences for industry participants.

C&D World

The first stop in the Big Apple will provide not only information about construction and demolition recycling, but also a closer look into some of the country’s most innovative initiatives currently underway in NYC, from using recycled glass in concrete structural applications to developing techniques that bring processed gypsum back into wallboard manufacturing plants. Paul Kuhar, the CDRA convention committee chair and vice president of Dallas-based Champion Waste & Recycling Services, says those initiatives, among others, are what attracted CDRA to the city this year.

“New York City is pushing the envelope on C&D recycling with several innovative projects going on,” Kuhar says.

A select number of attendees will get the chance to see some of those initiatives in action in some of the city’s premier C&D recycling facilities during the conference. For $200, up to 40 people can attend a tour of Cooper Recycling, the largest construction and demolition debris recycling facility in NYC, according to its website. With more than one mile of conveyor belts connecting over 100 pieces of machinery, the facility’s new sorting line is designed to process 2,000 tons per day and recycle 95 percent of incoming material.

If material recovery facilities (MRF) are of more interest, up to 40 people can choose instead to tour Sims Municipal Recycling’s MRF for $150. The facility opened in December 2013 and processes the majority of NYC’s commingled curbside material. Situated on an 11-acre pier, the MRF is the largest plant for commingled residential recyclables in North America, according to its website.

During information sessions spread over two days, C&D World will focus primarily on general business themes in the broader scope of today’s trends and challenges in the industry. Forums will touch on the industry’s evolving technology and provide an economic forecast for 2019. Meanwhile, breakout sessions will touch on more focused topics, from concrete recycling and biochar to gypsum recycling and material beneficial reuse. Speakers, such as Jim Schug of the Fails Management Institute and Dave Coe of Hiring Veterans, will also touch on some of the industries’ largest challenges, like labor force retention and diversification.

“Diversification for businesses is important for long-term survival, and we will have presentations from two members of the Sheehan family, which heads an English recycling company that has at least a dozen enterprises that are sometimes vertically linked to each other,” Kuhar says. “C&D World has always been more focused on providing quality education than anything else.”

Along with scheduled sessions, nearly 40 exhibitors will be at the conference throughout the weekend for the anticipated 300 attendees to check out. An awards presentation will kick off the day March 11, honoring individuals in C&D recycling who have made significant contributions to the industry in several categories. CDRA’s annual fundraiser later that night will offer at least one bout of brews before the conference ends, along with networking opportunities with industry leaders and experts, at Circa Brewery.

Demolition Rockies

A few short weeks after C&D World wraps up, Demolition Rockies will kick off at the Gaylord Rockies Resort with some returning offerings mixed in with new features for the anticipated 1,000 demolition professionals in attendance.

“We were looking to bring the convention to the central region of the United States to accommodate our attendees. The Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center opened doors this December. Being new, the resort offers state-of-the-art accommodations and a large exhibit space ideal for our expo,” says NDA Executive Director Jeff Lambert. “In addition, the resort is very family-friendly, offering on-site dining options, trails and games for kids to explore, as well as many local attractions.”

The weekend will kick off with an education opportunity new to the expo this year. On the first day of the conference, NDA will host its final course in its new Foundations of Demolition Management series, which will culminate in a certificate of Demolition Management for those who participated in all courses. The next day will provide a more hands-on experience as NDA hosts its second Live DEMOlition event, where over a dozen manufacturers will display and demonstrate a variety of tools, including excavators, shears, robotics, material handlers, concrete breakers, hammers and hand tools.

“This event was a great success last year, and we are planning for even more opportunities for attendees to experience the latest equipment supporting job sites,” Lambert says. “New this year, we will be hosting a competition where attendees can test their skills and abilities against others on a skid steer, mini-excavator and a remote-control demolition machine.”

That night, NDA will debut another first for the conference: a Texas Hold’em tournament, where participants will receive $500 worth of chips for various card and casino games, and finalists have a chance to win several prizes, including a trip to Cancun. All proceeds will support the 2019 scholarship fund for aspiring demo professionals. Other recreational events planned for the expo include a family-friendly carnival on March 24 and then the annual NDA Banquet and Gala on the final night.

Along with NDA’s returning “Fast and Furious” 15-minute education sessions focused on a variety of industry topics, the conference will also feature a keynote speech from Charlie Morecraft, who will speak on the safety lessons he learned after an explosion on the job burned over 45 percent of his body. There will also be two panel discussions with engineering firms and large power company representatives to discuss upcoming projects, plant closures and ways attendees can become prequalified for their work.

“From a professional development standpoint, we believe our sessions with the engineering firms and power company representatives will truly be a benefit for our attendees. As many coal plants begin to close across the country, these sessions create a unique opportunity for attendees to ask questions and understand best practices for bidding on jobs,” Lambert says.

When attendees aren’t learning from info sessions, they can browse through the expo hall, which will be filled with about 90 vendors, including suppliers of excavators, wheel loaders, rotators, drills, hydraulic products and more.

“Demolition Rockies truly is a family affair. From our choice of location to social events, we always keep families in mind,” Lambert says, adding that the demo event and carnival will feature activities for children as well. “NDA recognizes that the demolition industry is often family-focused. We look for ways to support the families of our member organizations, whether it is through our annual convention or scholarship investment in their future.”

The author is the assistant editor for Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine and can be contacted at tcottom@gie.net.