Our Takeaways from CONEXPO 2020

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CONEXPO in Las Vegas

Turbulent week at CONEXPO 2020 comes to an end.

CONEXPO 2020 is sure to be remembered for not what was happening at the conference, but for the historical context during which it existed. In a mere four days, while the international gathering was taking place, COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) forced the shutdown of travel, public events, professional sports, and more in unprecedented fashion. Organizers were forced to wrap the event a day early as travel restrictions went into effect, and the act of social gatherings became increasingly unadvisable.

That being said, over 130,000 attendees were registered, OEMs created impressive displays, and the conference soldiered on as normally as possible. Here's our recap from what turned out to be a turbulent week at CONEXPO.

Organizers make the best of a bad situation

CONEXPO organizers should be credited for communicating their efforts to keep the Las Vegas Convention Center as safe and as clean as possible, providing hand sanitizer to attendees and making health professionals available if needed among other measures. In the face of mounting pressure, CONEXPO cancelled the final day of the event (Saturday, March 14). Still, you could feel a tension in the air as each day, and hour, brought more distressing news about COVID-19.

Women in focus as future leaders of construction

Woman Statue

On the opening day of the conference, CONEXPO unveiled a band new statue to honor the growing role of women in the construction industry. The statue is also was the world's largest 3D-printed statue of a person. The new statue joins two other statues that depict male construction workers that have been greeting attendees since the 1990s.

Man Statue

Addressing a growing labor shortage

Part of the discussion of womens’ growing role in the construction industry was filling a labor gap in the construction industry workforce. Currently, over 80% of contractors are struggling to fill skilled trade positions. The CONEXPO education series featured multiple seminars addressing how to attract and retain talent.

Construction’s social media influencers speak up

Tech Talk Experience

The TECH Talk stage was packed for a seminar called “Ask the Influencers," featuring some of Instagram's most popular personalities. The construction industry isn't well known for its transparency on social media, but influencers like Aaron Witt (Build Witt) sees this as a big miss. By showing what your company stands for, its purpose, and how your employees work, you will be better positioned to attract talent from the younger generation.

Robots are closer than we think

BOMAG autonomous roller

Multiple seminars about robotics in the construction industry were held and companies like BOMAG unveiled totally autonomous machines (seen above). Some say autonomous machines can improve project margins, transform timelines, and create a safer work environment for employees.  It can also be used as a means to address the above-mentioned labor shortage.

Caterpillar's Global Operator Challenge draws big crowds

Global Operator Challenge

Caterpillar's Operator Stadium on the festival grounds was a huge hit, drawing big crowds to its arena of dirt. On the opening day nine finalists competed for the coveted title of Global Operator champion. Canada's Jaus Neigum proved victorious. The event was co-hosted by Dirty Jobs celebrity Mike Rowe.

Tune into on our social media

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for photos and updates from #ConExpo2020. Also, our Facebook page will be a hub of activity during the week of the event. Tune in for daily updates, video from the conference, and more.

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