As we start to look ahead to 2020, one of the major highlights on the calendar comes in March. No, it’s not St. Patrick’s Day – it’s ConExpo 2020.
Formally ConExpo-Con/Agg, this largest construction trade show in North America is planned for March 10-14 in Las Vegas. Held every three years, this massive event is the must-attend show for anyone working in the construction or materials fields. But how did it get to be the major event it is today? Let’s take a look at the evolution of the industry’s biggest show.
ConExpo itself started as a simple event held at a fairground in Columbus, Ohio. The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association says that this first show in 1909 began as a road show with 40 exhibitors showing off new equipment that “could do the work of 15 horse-drawn units.” Horsepower was a comparison back then as it still is important in modern machines – albeit in a much less literal sense.
Several years later, another event – Con/Agg – convened for the first time to highlight concrete and aggregates for use in road building and other construction applications. Exhibit City News says the first of these shows was held in Detroit in 1928, and like ConExpo, continued to grow and evolve, truly becoming a major event with the boom in construction that followed World War II.
After growing dedicated followings on their own for decades, in 1996 the two construction events came together to become a single massive occasion that united manufacturers, vendors and providers of services and equipment across the construction and materials industries into a single exhibition.
This new event, led by the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association and the International Concrete and Aggregates Group, marked the start of a new era and made the inaugural combined event the largest North American construction show, according to reporting at the time from Construction Equipment Guide. The show featured more than 1,140 exhibitors spanning more than 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the newly created Landmark Exhibit Area located across the street from the center.
CEG reported 80,000 to 100,000 visitors were expected for the four-day show in 1996, including more than 20,000 delegates from outside of the U.S. By co-locating the two events into a single, massive convention, the new ConExpo offered both vendors and visitors the convenience of seeing everything they could possibly need all at one venue. It also provided an opportunity to compare and contrast different manufacturers, suppliers and machines side by side, creating an opportunity for both attendees and vendors to save time and money by committing to a single triennial event.
Since that first combined show in 1996, ConExpo has stayed at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the venue has continued to grow and expand alongside the scope and scale of the massive event. Just over a decade later, attendance reached its peak – 144,600 attendees at the 2008 show, according to reporting by Equipment World. And, at the last show in 2017, ConExpo swelled to cover its largest footprint yet, spanning more than 2.8 million square feet of event, training and exhibitor space.
Seen as a hub for vendors to show off the latest innovations, technologies and advancements, ConExpo is always the hottest show to watch for anyone in construction. Past shows have highlighted the capabilities and possibilities offered by telematics, remote fleet monitoring and fleet utilization reporting, the “Internet of Things” and connected devices, computer-assisted workflows and even 3D printing in construction, with the 2017 show featuring the world’s first-ever 3D-printed excavator.
Beyond the incredible range of vendors and providers, the access and showcasing of new tech has made this show continue to draw crowds looking to see the latest and greatest the industry has to offer year after year. In 2020, ConExpo is also co-locating with the IFPE exposition for fluid power, motion control and power transmission, further expanding opportunities for attendees to see new products and services all at one convenient destination.
In addition to being an opportunity to showcase new products and innovations, attendees can also take advantage of a diverse array of different educational programs, seminars and activities. At the 2020 show, visitors to ConExpo can choose from 10 different topic or industry education tracks to meet their interests. These include:
• Cranes, Rigging & Aerial Lifts
• Earthmoving & Site Development
• Equipment Management & Maintenance
• Business Best Practices
• Attract, Engage & Retain Talent
• Technology Solutions
Each content category features dozens of different sessions offered in locations across the ConExpo grounds each day. This allows attendees to choose the sessions they are most interested in and plan their day around the events they wish to attend. Plus, many sessions offer an opportunity for participants to earn professional development hours, perfect for attendees looking to fulfill ongoing educational requirements in their field.
With so many vendors, activities and educational opportunities in one place, ConExpo continues to be the can’t-miss event every three years. And SANY wants to help make sure you get there. Enter for your chance to win a trip for two to ConExpo 2020, including airfare, hotel stay and tickets to the show. Fill out an entry form online now and we’ll look to see you in Las Vegas.