Photos courtesy of nda

Winter and early spring is show season for the construction, demolition and recycling industries this year. Two of the biggest shows for industry professionals are the National Demolition Association’s Demolition Austin event taking place Feb. 22-25 in Austin, Texas, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM) CONEXPO-CON/AGG taking place March 10-14 in Las Vegas.

Construction & Demolition Recycling (C&DR) spoke with Sandra Mason, public relations director of the AEM and Jayne Corso, marketing and communications director of NDA, about what attendees can expect from the show.

All about Demolition Austin

C&DR: What’s new at this year’s show?

Corso: We are excited about a few new events and education opportunities that we are offering at Demolition Austin in 2020.

During our pre-convention programming, we are offering a new course, the Demolition Superintendent Bootcamp, on Feb. 21. This course is targeted towards the superintendent, foreman or site-supervisor level and includes a second day of hands-on experience at the Live DEMOlition location.

Speaking of which, we are bringing back the Live DEMOlition event for its third year on Feb. 23. This event continues to be a hit year over year. This year, we will be bringing back the obstacle course competition where attendees can test their skills and abilities against others on a skid steer, mini-excavator, and a remote-control demolition machine. This obstacle course will be part of NDA’s fundraising efforts at Demolition Austin, in addition to the cornhole tournament and chicken bingo events that will be happening at the expo’s opening reception and “Toast to Texas” event, respectively.

We are also introducing the Mike Casbon Safety Award, honoring the legacy of the late Mike Casbon, this year. An expert with 25 years of experience in the fields of demolition, decontamination and construction, Mike was a member of NDA’s Education Committee, Safety Committee and Government Affairs Committee. Mike was instrumental in the development of NDA’s Foundations of Demolition Management education series, and posthumously received NDA’s Hall of Fame Award in 2019. In addition to his contributions to the NDA, he was also a subject matter expert for the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) and had trained more than 1,000 compliance officers on field inspection principles.

C&DR: How are you looking to build off last year’s show?

Corso: We are hoping to build off the momentum of last year’s show, specifically with the success of the Live DEMOlition event. This year, we are expecting to expand to 16 to 18 participating companies total, building off the 14 we had last year. In its second year, the event grew to almost 700 attendees and became an all-day event. Registration for the Live DEMOlition Event is included as part of the full Demolition Austin registration. With this large attendance, we are looking to bring new exhibitors to the Expo.

In terms of education, OSHA is returning to this year’s show to speak on the top 10 violations seen in the demolition industry and on regulatory updates for construction that apply to demolition. OSHA’s session has always been a popular topic for our attendees.

C&DR: The show is back in Austin. Why is this a good location for the event?

Corso: Austin is a great location because it is a central point for demolition professionals around the country. Members voiced that they liked the location, as it’s a fun, easily accessible city in the U.S. Also, outside of California, Texas has the largest concentration of NDA members, so it makes sense from that perspective, as well.

Austin gives us the opportunitiy to take advantage of new hotel properties, as well as expansive expo and Live DEMOlition space. The Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) has been a great partner with NDA and you can’t beat their venue for the Live DEMOlition—their exotic game ranch is family-friendly and their large property is a perfect fit for our growing event.

C&DR: For those who are unfamiliar, can you talk about what the Fast and Furious education sessions will offer?

Corso: Fast and Furious presentations are 15-minute education sessions focused on a variety of industry topics. This year, topics include an update on the scrap market, how structural engineering can benefit the demolition industry, and other best practices to improve business. Fast and Furious presentations are always popular with attendees because they provide quick insights into today’s demolition hot topics and create opportunities for questions and further exploration.

C&DR: Now in its third year, how have you seen the Live DEMOlition Event benefit attendees and why is the event a great opportunity for contractors?

Corso: The Live DEMOlition event offers attendees the opportunity to talk to vendors in person about their equipment and test drive machines before purchasing. It also gives our attendees and vendors an opportunity to connect and build stronger relationships outside of the traditional expo setting.

The event continues to grow, and attendees and exhibitors alike have raved about the opportunity to network and test equipment all in one location. Once again, attendees will have the opportunity to test excavators, dust suppression equipment, hydraulic attachments and more at this full-day event.

Plus, we are inviting our attendees and their families to take advantage of the TDS’s exotic game ranch animal tours, which will be scheduled throughout the day.

C&DR: What kind of networking opportunities do you have planned at the show?

Corso: In addition to the expo opening and welcome receptions, we will be hosting a Local Brews Beer Reception on Feb. 24 that will feature local breweries and provide attendees time to network with exhibitors and peers alike.

Plus, we’re looking forward to our Toast to Texas offsite reception. The reception will include outdoor games and chicken bingo—a game made famous at Ginny’s Little Longhorn in Austin.

The NDA Awards Banquet will recognize trailblazers and rising professionals in the demolition industry through the presentation of the NDA Lifetime Achievement Award, Excellence in Demolition Awards, Scholarship Awards, Hall of Fame Awards, and the new Mike Casbon Safety Award.

C&DR: Anything else to note?

Corso: We are excited to welcome this year’s keynote speaker, Seth Mattison. Seth is an internationally renowned expert, author and futurist. As founder and Chief Movement Officer of Luminate Labs, Seth advises many of the world’s leading brands and organizations on the key shifts happening around talent management, change and innovation, leadership, and the future of work. During the keynote address, Seth will be sharing insights on how to manage a team and establish strong leadership roles.

What to expect from CONEXPO-CON/AGG

C&DR: What’s new at this year’s show?

Mason: The show is expanding its 2020 footprint to include the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, located on the Las Vegas Strip adjacent to the Circus Circus Hotel. Types of exhibits in the Festival Grounds will include aerial and cranes, earth moving, hauling and underground construction.

The 2020 show connected campus will also include new and expanded transportation, attendee experiences and registration locations. Features will include multi-site drop-off locations for shuttles, complimentary monorail passes, golf cart shuttles, and various experiential transportation options to accommodate for the attendees throughout the week.

Also new for 2020 is the opportunity to mix and match education sessions between CONEXPO-CON/AGG and the International Fluid Power Exposition (IFPE) for one price.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG will also feature the new AEM Workforce Solution Area at the trade show. The Workforce Solutions Area will invite the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show attendees and exhibitors along with association members, job seekers and local students to experience and learn about a trade right on the show floor. In addition, participants will learn about the industry and take away best practices from what will be an interactive workforce pavilion.

C&DR: Technology is increasingly influencing construction. How will the show reflect that?

Mason: In 2020, we have set up a Tech Experience that will explore three key areas that will transform the contractor’s business in the future: modern mobility, sustainability and smart cities.

Today’s global infrastructure cannot sustain the expected future growth in vehicle traffic. The Modern Mobility sessions at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Tech Experience will focus on the transformation of current systems for moving people and products to meet tomorrow’s demands.

Housing, workspace, infrastructure and utilities all have serious social and environmental consequences. The Sustainability sessions at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Tech Experience will tackle building, vehicle and civil design with renewable energy, recyclable construction materials, and economic and environmental impact in mind.

Contractors and surveyors will also need to be aware of new technology and how it affects job sites as cities aim to become smarter globally. The Smart Cities sessions at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Tech Experience will explore how urban centers can incorporate digital data collection and processing to efficiently manage everything from power transmission to law enforcement to waste management.

A 10- by 22-foot smart city replica will also be on display. This replica will help demonstrate how a smart city, through sensors and analytics, will be able to transform information into digestible data and provide knowledge for the city and its people to work smarter.

The Tech Experience will also feature the 3D printing of an entire house and showcase how an 18-mile stretch of interstate highway in Georgia is becoming a solar energy proving ground.

Ultimately, our goal for the Tech Experience is to show contractors how these new technologies will impact their current work, how the expectations and demands of customers will change and how the current state of infrastructure may change.

Additionally, Tech Talks will be featured throughout the week featuring sessions such as: Driving Decisions with AI, the Design and Print of Future Structures, Rebuilding Better for Resiliency, and Creating the Highway of the Future.

C&DR: This year’s show features Highlighting Women Events. What will these encompass?

Mason: To highlight women as a viable force of the construction industry, CONEXPO-CON/AGG has teamed up with The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Women of Asphalt (WOFA).

Together, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, NAWIC and WOFA are seeking to draw attention to and celebrate the important role women play in the industry. Throughout CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020, they will not only showcase women industry leaders, but reinforce the career growth potential for women, who today represent a small percentage of the workforce and the opportunity to diversify the industry.

These three organizations are pooling their collective influence to sponsor and engage in education and other events at the show. They will kick things off on March 11 with a breakfast event, “Genders on the Job Site.” Two special guests for the event, Vicki O’Leary, founder of Be That One Guy and Lorein Barlow, director and producer of Hard Hatted Women, plan to have a candid discussion on how women experience job site opportunities and challenges and explore how everyone has a role in keeping job sites productive and safe for all workers.

Other events include:

  • Widening Your Workforce: Executive Lunch Forum
  • New Approaches to Building Female Construction Leaders
  • Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Construction Technology
  • Attracting and Training Your Workforce: Operating Engineers’ Innovative Solutions

C&DR: What kind of networking opportunities do you have planned?

Mason: IFPE will be hosting a special networking reception for engineers and executives for the first time. The IFPE’s Fluid Power Hour, presented by Bosch Rexroth, will be held on March 11 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the IFPE show floor. The event includes a bonus hour on the IFPE show floor, complimentary hors ‘d oeuvres and cocktails and entertainment.

There will also be a social media influencer panel discussion and networking event in the Tech Experience featuring construction business owner Missy Scherber who will be joined by influencers including Aaron Witt of BuildWitt, Keaton Turner of Turner Mining Group and Stacey Tompkins of Tompkins Excavating. The group will answer attendee questions on using social media to recruit new hires, developing corporate values and culture, taking your marketing to the next level, and the changing face of the construction industry.