By Billy Horner
Although I spent many years in the field side of the construction industry, it’s only since I’ve become the publisher of Arizona Contractor & Community that conferences and mixers that been added to my resume. My first experience at the CONEXPO 2023, the biggest exhibition of construction equipment in the world, was eye-opening! For fun, I’ll contrast the 2023 event with the first CONEXPO in 1969.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG hosted the 2023 event, which was held for five days at the Las Vegas Convention Center starting Tuesday, March 14. Preparations, however, were set up months in advance. The show crushed expected attendance numbers, drawing over 139,000 professionals from 133 countries. It’s the largest trade show in North America, with more than 2,400 exhibitors from 36 countries spread out over 3 million square feet of exhibit space.
“The innovations in the construction industry unveiled this week will play a role in helping construction professionals drive meaningful and sustainable economic growth,” says Phil Kelliher, Caterpillar senior vice president, and CONEXPO-CON/AGG show chair. “Live events in the construction industry are very important because you can see, touch and experience the products. That value was reaffirmed this past week across the show floor.”
This year’s show emphasized how the construction industry is evolving in many ways to adapt to sustainable technologies, products, and practices. Show attendees were treated to sustainability in action, from electric and hydrogen-powered construction equipment to more recyclable materials and waste reduction opportunities.
One of the event’s biggest sustainability efforts is a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, which will result in the planting of 139,000 trees, one for every show registrant in a forest of greatest need.
My wife, Laura, and I were honored to be asked to attend by E&E Companies’ owner, Buddy Escapule, as he brought along his other operators and spouses. We started our Vegas journey on Wednesday, Laura’s birthday, and celebrated at Chef Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen inside Caesars Palace.
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This article originally appeared in the bimonthly Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, May/Jun 2023 issue, Vol. 12, No. 3.