Insights and Innovation on Display in Las Vegas

Written by Nate Hendley

CONEXPO-CON/AGG is back with a bang. The largest construction trade show in North America will take place from Tuesday, March 10 to Saturday, March 14, 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG’s 2020 show promises over 2,800 exhibitors and 180 education sessions, all happening within 2.5 million square feet of convention space. Products will be grouped into categories like business solutions, earthmoving and material handling equipment, pumps, rail equipment, concrete construction, and manufacturing.

This exciting and comprehensive exposition is held every three years and is a must-attend event in the industry. Statistics from previous shows indicate that sixty-seven percent of attendees work in the contracting sector in concrete, utilities, aggregates, earthmoving, and lifting, while others are from mining, manufacturing, and other fields.

To be sure, “The show is shaping up to be one of the best ever; attendees and exhibitors will not be disappointed!” stated CONEXPO-CON/AGG Chair and Vice President of Marketing for Superior Industries Mary Erholtz in a press release.

Certainly, the convention has extremely broad appeal; anyone interested in aggregates, for example, can learn about new trends and methods in plant design and quarry production. Interested in asphalt? It will feature the latest innovations in asphalt paving, plant management, materials, and recycling. Likewise, people who work with concrete can learn about advances in materials, production, and masonry techniques. Technology solutions will abound, with information about the latest in fleet asset management and maintenance systems.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG will be held at the same time and place as the International Fluid Power Exposition (IFPE), a major trade show for the fluid power industry. There will be ‘mix-and-match’ sessions between IFPE and CONEXPO-CON/AGG so attendees can get the most from their conference experience.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) are the principal sponsors of CONEXPO-CON/AGG. Trade group AEM represents the interests of off-road equipment suppliers and manufacturers across North America, and is the show’s producer. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the show’s sponsor.

In addition to exhibits, the exposition offers high-powered education sessions. One of the most hotly anticipated sessions will feature FMI Corporation Principal Gregg Schoppman discussing ‘How to win the war for talent,’ in which he will report on research he conducted with construction executives about recruiting and retaining staff.

“Our recent talent survey has helped uncover what best-in-class firms are doing to control the talent variable. There is no magic potion. Successful companies are strategic, deliberate, and disciplined in their efforts. Their efforts are multi-pronged and happen over a period of time,” explained Schoppman in a CONEXPO-CON/AGG press release.

Companies need to recognize methods for finding replacements for key personnel and explore the importance of cultural fit, according to Schoppman. Those that want to attract new hires who fit into their corporate culture should first identify the specific requirements of a given position, and then use this information to compose a detailed job description. A vague, overly general job description will lead to a flood of applicants, many of them lacking the specific skills and attitude needed for the position at hand, he explained.

Schoppman also recommended establishing a ‘feedback culture’ in which managers routinely interact with staff, praising employees for good performance and providing constructive feedback when needed.

Other sessions include how to ‘Gain a competitive advantage through construction technology,’ as led by Tauhira Hoossainy of Milwaukee Tool; ‘Safety training ninja’ led by Regina McMichael of The Learning Factor, Inc.; and ‘Driving new innovation at complacent companies’ led by James Benham of JBKnowledge.

As part of the show providing information about attracting talent, there will also be events highlighting the role of women in the construction sector. The show partnered with the National Association of Women in Construction and Women of Asphalt to put together a breakfast event called ‘Genders on the jobsite’ and an executive lunch forum called ‘Widening your workforce.’

A popular feature called ‘Tech Experience’ will return for 2020. This conference segment consists of displays, information, and talks about topics such as ‘Driving decisions with artificial intelligence’ as led by Briq Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Bassem Hamdy and ‘Rebuilding better for resiliency’ as led by Global Disaster Innovation Group, LLC Chief Executive Officer Desiree Matel-Anderson.

One particularly intriguing talk will examine ‘The Ray’ project in the State of Georgia. The Ray is an innovative venture featuring solar-paved road, rubberized asphalt, and a solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station along an eighteen-mile stretch of Georgia highway. This talk will be hosted by The Ray’s Executive Director Allie Kelly.

Another highlight centers on a ten-by-twenty-two-foot ‘smart city’ replica. This model will demonstrate how futuristic urban centers can use “sensors and analytics to transform information into digestible data, providing knowledge for the city to work smarter,” explained CONEXPO-CON/AGG information.

The replica will focus on connectivity in the city, using technologies such as telematics, the Internet of Things, sensors, and 5G. Open for viewing throughout the conference, the ‘smart city’ will also showcase what future jobsites might look like.

“Our company has been attending CONEXPO-CON/AGG for three decades now and plans to continue due to the amount of knowledge we gain. CONEXPO-CON/AGG has provided us the resources needed to create greater efficiencies and synergies within our own company,” said Chris Lane, of Ronald Lane, Inc., on the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 website.

“The show is a critical piece to our workforce development efforts,” added Jarrad Whissell, of Whissell Contracting, Ltd. “We send somewhere between thirty and forty company representatives to Las Vegas to see what’s new and bring relevant information back to our company. It’s a great way to build our team.”

If the enthusiasm of past attendees is anything to go by, the event should be a massive hit! For more information about CONEXPO-CON/AGG or to register, visit:



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