What A World. What A World.

Published: 4/3

That was my reaction many years ago when I first heard of World of Concrete. Having worked mainly in the design and engineering arena, I was new to the construction side of things and, understandably unfamiliar with the industry’s many trade events. Plus it just seemed like an odd name—“World of Concrete.” Why not a more conventional convention name, something along the lines of “Concrete Show” or “Concrete Expo” or “Concrete-o-Rama”? (Of course, I soon learned about Conexpo-Con/Agg, but that’s another story.)

It didn’t take long to discover that World of Concrete is indeed a pretty big deal, regardless of what it’s called. And as noted in our report elsewhere in this issue of PDa, it’s a one-of-a-kind event well-suited to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. Though I’ve lost count of how many I’ve had the pleasure of attending, both the show and the experience of being there have never disappointed.

(A personal history tangent: my first World of Concrete was also my first trip to “Sin City.” Thanks to some serendipitous cable TV programming in the preceding weeks, I was brought up to speed through the literal and figurative lens of the original “Ocean’s 11,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” and “Casino.” I arrived still very much a rube, but at least not a total one.)

So what makes World of Concrete work, at least for me? For one, like the city, there’s a little bit of everything—displays, demonstrations, and always something new or out of the ordinary that restores one’s faith in human ingenuity. And unlike trade shows that may look the same from one year and location to the next, you absolutely know you’re in Las Vegas, whether it’s exhibitors with over-the-top displays, the preponderance of adult beverage refreshment stations, or the looming skyline of the Strip, with the addition this year of the watchful “eye” of the Sphere.

While World of Concrete’s size ebbs and flows in step with the economy and other factors, it’s just the right size for a two- to three-day visit. A megashow like Conexpo or Bauma truly has “everything”—except unlimited time to see it all. As such, time and footsteps must be budgeted accordingly. 

Size also lends an element of resilience to World of Concrete, as evidenced by the COVID-delayed, 2021 edition. Downsized though it may have been, the show soldiered on. And just being there was a badge of pride for attendees and exhibitors alike.

And like any large gathering, World of Concrete is an industry melting pot of sorts—a daily demographic display that has gradually grown more diverse over the years. Yet any chance meeting while assessing a product, waiting in one of the beer lines, or just taking a break to watch passers-by will likely lead to a pleasant chat before participants go their separate ways.

That may well be what World of Concrete is best at—providing all kinds of connections to all kinds of people, regardless of background. And that is what makes the world—any world—go ‘round.


Jim Parsons, Senior Editor


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