LAS VEGAS—Close to 37,000 attendees gathered at this year’s World of Concrete, the annual trade show that serves the construction and masonry industries, which was held Jan. 17-20 at the newly expanded Las Vegas Convention Center.
Featuring indoor and outdoor exhibits that showcased the latest products and technologies, the 47th annual event, which is produced by Informa Markets, took over 632,000 square feet of space, with exhibits from over 1,100 suppliers including Caterpillar, John Deere and Bobcat, plus over 150 first-time exhibitors. The show’s educational programming included more than 11,000 expert-led sessions that explored topics ranging from 3D printing in concrete construction, women in construction, waterproofing and more.
Due to concerns related to the pandemic, last year’s convention, which had been slated for January, was rescheduled to June, making it the first large trade show to use the convention center’s new West Hall and its underground people mover system.
And while the omicron variant posed a threat to this year’s in-person event, the biggest hurdle was organizing another large-scale show in a short time frame. “The 2021 edition, which had a unique set of challenges being under national scrutiny as the first event to return after the pandemic halted in-person meetings, did open our eyes to learnings that we were able to apply to this year’s exhibition,” explained Jackie James, the group director of infrastructure and construction at Informa Markets.
“Among the opportunities included understanding how our audience wanted to engage with customers and which segments were growing in the industry and should be a focal point for the expo floor and in education. While this year’s trade show was a challenge in that our run-up time was cut in half from a year to six months, our learnings were top of mind and enabled us to more than double our 2021 registration and curate an educational schedule that addressed timely topics.”
As for COVID-19 safety protocols, James said that organizers “operated in accordance with mandates enacted by the city of Las Vegas, which included the requirement of indoor masks regardless of vaccination status, and hosted an on-site testing station where attendees could receive a rapid COVID-19 test. ... Furthermore, the convention center increased the air circulation and cleaning frequency, and three-feet physical distancing was recommended to all participants.”
New this year, organizers demonstrated their commitment to sustainability by collaborating with renewable energy partner and sponsor HILTI. The event’s electricity use was powered by sustainable and renewable energy sources, saving an estimated 204 tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).
“Sustainability is a core pillar to World of Concrete and is an initiative we take very seriously and will continue to evolve over the years,” James said. In addition to using renewable energy to power the event, organizers reduced the use of lights, power and HVAC during move-in and move-out times, introduced online exhibitor service manuals instead of paper copies and reused booth furnishings and carpet resources. Plus, 77 tons of brick and block were donated to Habitat Las Vegas, a nonprofit that builds single-family homes.
Also, a record $1.74 million was raised by the Concrete Industry Management program through its silent and live auctions. The CIM program helps provide students with a four-year degree in Concrete Industry Management.
“We understand in-person connection remains crucial to the longevity of many businesses within the construction and masonry industries, and because of our dedicated efforts in producing a safe event, we were able to confidently host an event that fueled industry innovation and brought economic prosperity back to the Las Vegas community,” James said.
World of Concrete is set to return to Las Vegas next year Jan. 16-19.