By the end of the week, legions of seemingly tired and hungry conventioneers sat on benches with their shoes off, showing various sock colors to the world while they munched food. Others, leaning against walls, just looked beat. In the press room, weary reporters said their feet couldn’t take much more.
For five days, ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014 invaded every square inch of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Paradise Road. The show, produced by the Association of Equipment Manufacturing, estimated it attracted about 125,000 attendees who created an estimated nongaming economic impact of $157.3 million for the city, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
As the show nears its end today, attendees and exhibitors are wrapping up their business deals while local workers prepare to take it all down. Other attendees, already ready to leave, checked their flight statuses from the board posted in the convention center’s concourse.
By late today, crews already will be onsite to begin tearing apart the convention that brought 2,500 companies to the valley. The effort will be led and coordinated by GES with about 1,500 workers employed on a busy day, including Teamsters, electricians, stagehands and carpenters. To help with the show, about 70 full-time GES employees came in from other locales to help out about 400 local employees.
ConExpo-Con/Agg comes to Las Vegas every three years, and GES has been a show partner for at least 40 years.
Before the show started, Megan Tanel, vice president of exhibitions for the Association of Equipment Manufacturing, said her organization was holding a positive outlook for 2014, and contractors are seeing jobs pick up.
“Internationally, we’ve had some growth in South America outside of Brazil, which is positive,” Tanel said. “China is still a little slow, as it has been.”
Average booth size was 2,000 to 3,000 square feet; many of the large construction brands such as Caterpillar and Case took up 30,000 to 40,000 square feet inside the convention center, plus outdoor space in some cases.
Companies occupying space outside included Rain for Rent, which helps people in the construction, agriculture and oil and gas industries manage moving liquids from one place to another.
“The show has exceeded our expectations, actually,” company marketing director Brian Caldwell said. “We’ve had a lot more good leads coming in, not just the looky loos but people who are genuinely interested in our product.”
For him, the biggest surprise this time around was the large amount of international attendee interest. Rain for Rent talked to a number of people from South America, Australia, Canada and Europe.
Among the international attendees was Carlos Vargas, who said he came from Argentina where he works for a paving company. Vargas said this was his first time at ConExpo, but he’d be back.
It wasn’t only attendees who came from exotic locales. Exhibitors, too, hailed from all over the globe. One company, Flip Screen, came from Australia to show its screening attachments, which hook onto skid steers, excavators, wheel loaders, backhoes and telehandlers.
“ConExpo has been awesome,” said Paul Esposito, the company’s sales and marketing director for the United States.
Flip Screen’s manufacturing is done in Australia; its main North American branch is in Dallas. Most of its customers hailed from North America.
“We’ve had great leads and a lot of people have been excited about the product. There’s been lots of traffic,” Esposito said. “We’ve been really surprised with the quality of leads, quality of people and how interested they are.”
ALL ABOUT THE PRODUCTS
The show this week was all about product launches and networking.
MTS Systems Corp., a global supplier of test systems and position sensors, presented an expanded offering for the mobile hydraulic marketplace, the new Model HE hall-effect sensor.
Manitowoc, meanwhile, was showing off new cranes, including the model MLC300 that uses variable position counterweight proprietary technology to engage all counterweight and eliminate the need for passive car-body weights.
Volvo showed off 17 new machines, including its new generation of E Series excavators. Industry heavyweight John Deere had seven exhibit areas showing 35 machines and 15 product simulators. The company exhibited eight new machines at its booth in the North hall, including Final Tier 4 G-Series motor graders and Final Tier 4 wheel loaders.
Today marks the end of the trade show meant for all aspects of the construction industry.
See you in three years, ConExpo.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.