That’s More Like It
There was something in the air at February’s National Demolition Association Convention in San Diego, something most of us haven’t experienced in quite awhile—normalcy.
True, COVID-19 is surely not done with the world yet, and anyone who’s suffered a loss over the past two years or is still dealing with “long-haul” symptoms deserves our full sympathy and support. Nor should anyone be criticized for preferring to wear a mask or skip crowded events.
But unlike January’s World of Concrete, which was constrained by the then-pervasive Omicron virus variant, Demolition San Diego was pretty close to a “before times” industry event, one that, with a few exceptions, was not overshadowed by the specter of COVID (nor much of anything else, thanks to Southern California’s trademark sunshine).
That alone would make anyone smile. And one of the biggest at Demolition San Digo belonged to NDA President Scott Homrich, who told PDa that attendance at the association’s 50th Anniversary convention was roughly equal to that of 2020’s Demolition Austin—for many, the last big event before the term “new normal” entered our collective vocabulary.
“The show is a perfect example of how things have rebounded,” Homrich said. He added that while the pandemic and its aftermath posed plenty of challenges for both the industry and NDA itself, “by every metric, we’re back to where we were.”
And Demolition San Diego attendees were eager to make the most of that newly regained normalcy, with most taking advantage of the opportunity to watch dozens of machines in action at NDA’s signature Live DEMOlition event, held at Southwestern College’s Otay Mesa campus, just two blocks from the border crossing to Mexico. (see photos elsewhere in this issue)
Optimism was also abundant back at the San Diego Convention Center, where the NDA Expo was the hub for dozens of industry exhibitors (including PDa). While the opportunity for a return to more routine face-to-face interaction with prospective buyers is certainly welcome, manufacturers continue to struggle with the pandemic’s lingering effects on supply chains. Many have shelved longstanding inventory strategies to scoop up component materials as they become available, preserving their ability to fill dealer orders as quickly as possible, rather than risk impatient buyers and, in some cases, idled production lines.
But any doubts about anyone’s ability to face up to these challenges were dispelled by Demolition San Diego’s Keynote Session Guest speaker Siri Lindley, a former world champion triathlete who shared her journey from last-place, happy-just-to-be-here participant to #1 in the world, only to confront a new opponent in the form of acute myeloid leukemia. (Spoiler alert: she won that race too, and has been cancer-free since 2020.)
All in all, Demolition San Diego was a perfect entrée back to a world mostly released from the pandemic’s restrictions and complications. Homrich said as much in his own Keynote Session speech by saying how good it was to see—really see—everybody there.
“And it was,” he said later. “I think everybody is really happy to be back together again.”
Jim Parsons, Senior Editor