Showcasing the Best in Modern Construction

Written by Mark Golombek

Las Vegas, Nevada is the site of what is the North American construction industry’s largest trade show, one which takes place just every three years. The show’s roots stretch back over 100 years to 1909, and its size and scope have been increasing ever since…
This year’s exposition will see close to 130,000 people converging onto the Las Vegas Convention Center to see more than 2,500 exhibits spread across 2,600,000 net square feet. A record number of educational seminars will highlight the newest technologies, latest trends and best practices in today’s construction sector. Indeed, 2017’s show should prove to be the most extensive display for the construction industry ever showcased.

CONEXPO and CON/AGG began as two separate entities at the turn of the 20th century. The inception of CONEXPO was in 1909 in Ohio. At the time, the majority of heavy machinery was powered by either humans or animals, and the first CONEXPO was seen as an experiment, a type of road show. Forty exhibitors were trying to change that by displaying the latest advances in machinery, meant to replace and advance upon the limited technology of the day.

“CONEXPO became more comprehensive with each show, growing at a record pace during the construction industry’s boom years following World War II,” says Dennis Slater, President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “In the 1980s, the show made Las Vegas its new home to make room for the growing number of attendees as well as exhibits.”

The CON/AGG kickoff also began around the same time, with manufacturers’ exhibits at annual conventions. In 1970 it officially became known as “The Concrete and Aggregates Show.” The two entities joined forces in 1996, and together, the shows demonstrated an unprecedented scope of equipment, products and services for the construction industry. It also became the definitive international event for the industry to come together.

The CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 layout is designed to create better synergy between outdoor and indoor space product areas and make it easier for attendees to navigate the show.

The new layout includes an expanded Gold Hall, which extends to Las Vegas Boulevard. A new Bronze Lot (with Bronze Hall) has been added south of South Hall, spanning the length of the building. The show floor redesign was necessary in order to accommodate the increased demand for exhibit space, a testament to the growing popularity and success of this event.

One of the most exciting aspects to this year’s show is the Tech Experience, which will encompass 75,000 net square feet. This will give attendees a glimpse into the future of the construction industry, and will promote ideas and technologies that will help businesses become more efficient and profitable. Also featured will be a Tech Talks educational forum and the Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative of the Association of Equipment Manufacturer (AEM).

The Tech Experience will reveal the world’s first fully-functional 3D printed construction excavator, and the first large scale use of steel in 3D printing. The 3D printed excavator is known as Project AME (Additive Manufactured Excavator). Various machines from Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility will create and assemble three components: the cab, the boom, and a heat exchanger. The theme for 2017 is “Imagine What’s Next,” and the excavator will provide a glimpse into the future of a technology that could reshape the construction industry. In addition to the pre-printed excavator, show attendees will be able to view a demonstration of the 3D printed technology.

The CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio Network, hosted by Peggy Smedly of the Peggy Smedly Show, airs Tuesdays at 10am CST on iHeart Radio. This is a podcast that discusses the future of equipment technology and how it will change the landscape of the construction industry.

In addition, the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Comprehensive Education Program will offer over 150 education sessions. These education sessions allow contractors, business owners, construction material producers and end users to observe and take up the latest industry knowledge and best practices to improve their professional skills and company productivity. These sessions will span ten areas of concentration: Aggregates; Asphalt; Concrete; Cranes, Rigging & Aerial Lifts; Earthmoving & Site Development; Equipment Management & Maintenance; Management –Business Best Practices; Safety & Regulations; Technology; and Management – Workforce Development.

The Technology sessions or tracks will look at the latest in drones, autonomous machines, 3D imaging, smart apps, gamification, big data and developments in the IoT (Internet of Things). The technology track complements the new Tech Experience, showcasing the ideas and technologies that will transform construction in the future.

The co-located IFPE (International Fluid Power Exposition) is involved along with the CONEXPO-CON/AGG in the unveiling of the excavator, and IFPE 2017 will host the fluid power industry’s prestigious Energy Efficient Hydraulics and Pneumatics Conference (EEHPC) in addition to offering four hands-on, half-day courses running from March 8 – 11, 2017.

Four half-day IFPE college-level courses will emphasize hands-on technical knowledge on the effective use of hydraulics in mobile equipment: fundamentals of hydraulic systems; hydraulic fluid properties, efficiency and contamination control; hydraulic system design strategies for mobile applications; and electro hydraulic, system design and control.

The IFPE show will feature more than 400 exhibitors, and its aim is to keep attendees to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG up to speed on the latest innovations and product advances, and to offer expert insights to fully equip engineers and others involved in the design and manufacturing process. The results should help to increase attendees’ efficiency, contain costs, and improve the performance of their hydraulic and pneumatic systems and applications.

As for further registration details, a new “Badge Pack” is available for both exhibitors and attendees. It includes a free multi-day Las Vegas monorail pass and deluxe coach bus transportation between most official hotel partners and the shows, as well as discounts at Las Vegas bars and restaurants. The shows are the first to partner with the Las Vegas Monorail Co. to offer the pass. The Badge Pack covers admission to both exhibitions.

Not lost on the CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the need to give back and recognize the importance of United States military veterans’ contributions. With this in mind, there will be funds raised for the Call of Duty Endowment, a nonprofit organization founded by Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, in 2009. Activision Blizzard is a highly successful interactive entertainment company, and Call of Duty is just one of the iconic franchise titles in its portfolio. The Call of Duty™ Endowment aims to help veterans secure high-quality jobs after their military service and to raise awareness of the value vets bring to the workplace. The Endowment has placed over 29,000 veterans in jobs to date by finding and funding the best nonprofits in the country.

Every dollar raised by the Call of Duty Endowment initiative will aid in finding veterans high quality jobs. The classic rock band, Foreigner, will be performing on March 8that the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas, donated by Terex, with attendance limited to 2,350 people. Additional fundraising events planned for the Endowment include on-line silent and live auctions with 100 percent of auction proceeds aimed at helping military veterans find jobs. The benefit auction is presented with the support of J.J. Kane Auctioneers. Attendees or exhibitors wishing to donate an item to be auctioned can contact Grant Williams at 205-706-1389. All items up for bid will be available on the J.J. Kane online auction page,

The scope of CONEXPO-CON/AGG is so large that many international visitors flock to it. The show has been named to the U.S. government’s “International Buyer Program” (IBP). “The IBP works to increase international attendance at U.S.-based exhibitions and create global business opportunities for show exhibitors,” says Rich Goldsbury, CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 Show chairman and President of Bobcat Company and Doosan. “A select number of U.S. trade shows each year receive the IBP designation from the U.S. Department of Congress after a vigorous selection process.”

Certainly, this is an event not to be missed. To find out the latest information for CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 and to register online, go to or



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