World of Concrete (WOC) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and event organizers say it’s the place to see and learn about anything and everything new in concrete.
The annual conference is taking place in Las Vegas Jan. 22 to 25. It will feature over 1,400 leading industry suppliers.
“We have three halls and in each hall there are different sectors of the industry,” said Jackie James, VP of WOC. “We pretty much cover it all from concrete production, to forming, to placement, to finishing, demolition, repair, treatment of it…site prep. It’s literally everything that you can imagine or need for your business.
“We have so many exhibitors who have wonderful demonstrations and they (attendees) can try tools and equipment. It allows them to see what’s new in concrete and masonry and to network and strengthen their skills and gain knowledge about the industry overall. They benefit from the new technologies that they see, new products, and they’ll be able to take it back and use it in their place of business and make recommendations on products to share with their peers.”
The theme of this year’s event is A Legendary Event for a Legendary Year.
“With this being our 50th anniversary, it’s really about the exhibitors and the attendees that come to our show,” James explained. “Many of them are legends in their own right. They’ve been with World of Concrete from the beginning. So many of them are very passionate about the show and still continue to exhibit and attend and now their children’s children are coming.”
This year’s education program boasts 183 sessions.
“Education and skill building is a big part of World of Concrete and we have many new education programs this year that our contractor base will be very interested in,” James said. “We feature train the trainer sessions; luncheons; interactive workshops; industry training…We have over 300 people who will be taking the editorial tour of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge.”
New this year are eight sessions for emerging leaders and one-hour Fast Facts sessions offering the high points in popular areas.
“About a third of our speakers have been with us over 20 years and are true experts in their fields,” James said. “We have a group of speakers that people really value their opinions and their input and they come back every year for more education from them.”
Other notable events are a panel of business women presented by the Women’s Association of Concrete Professionals and the Concrete Industry Management auctions which raise money for the concrete industry management programs at five different universities throughout the country.
“We’re also very focused on sustainability at World of Concrete and Informa. One of our initiatives for the past couple of years has been donating trees to the city of Las Vegas to reduce the effects of the heat dome,” James noted. “We’re donating 50 trees this year in honour of our 50th.”
The conference will once again host the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 and the Western Star Trucks Get Tough Challenge, both popular annual events with big prizes.
New additions this year are Expressions in Concrete with artists creating artwork on concrete panels as well as a new artificial rock sculpting live event.
The Decorative Concrete Experience will focus on the history of decorative concrete, how it has changed throughout the years, different techniques and how it can be added to a business to enhance what a contractor does. One of the most popular demonstrations is Decorative Concrete Live, showcasing decorative concrete techniques and artists working on different projects.
Also on the agenda is an Autoclaved Aerated Concrete demonstration. There are also three luncheons during the show: one for polished concrete, one for slabs and one for 3D printing.
The first WOC show took place in 1975, with planning for it underway in 1974. Informa now owns and produces the show and has 17 co-sponsoring associations.
“It’s changed significantly just because it’s grown so much since 1975,” James said.
“We have almost 1,000 international delegates coming from 37 countries. The education program has changed and grown significantly. We’ve listened to our audience, the exhibitors, our advisory boards and co-sponsors to determine direction and emphasis for the next event.”
The show has been taking place in Las Vegas since 2005.
“It really exists because exhibitors, they do great business at WOC and the attendees love the show. I think that’s what its all about, putting buyers and sellers together,” James concluded.
The Daily Commercial News will be on the ground at the World of Concrete providing in-depth coverage of the event throughout the week.