We're in the office between attending two "world" events: World of Concrete in Las Vegas, NV, and World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA. Both expos are worlds apart in content and locale but help to illustrate the diversity that makes up the off-highway industry.
The January 2007 edition of World of Concrete featured more than 900,000 sq. ft. of exhibits occupied by 1,739 exhibitors. While not all of them participate in the mobile off-highway equipment industry, the event hosted a large number of construction equipment OEMs offering everything from concrete pumps to telehandlers to self-propelled screeds.
Las Vegas is the perfect city for such a show — beyond the fact that getting around there has never been easier. During the day exhibitors at the Las Vegas Convention Center presented the latest in wholegoods and components. At night you could walk off another Las Vegas buffet while looking in on major construction projects. They are as much a part of Las Vegas as neon lights and slot machines.
One of the largest such construction projects — not only in Las Vegas but in the western hemisphere — is MGM Mirage's CityCenter, reportedly a $7 billion, 76-acre project that will employ 8,000 construction workers and nearly 40 cranes (among hundreds of other machines) on site at the peak of construction. The first phase of the project is expected to open in November, 2009. In a city that never sleeps, the cranes towering over the job site are moving late into the night.
Representing the agricultural side of the industry, the promoters of February's World Ag Expo are expecting more than 1,600 exhibitors to set up on more than 2.5 million sq. ft. of California's San Joaquin Valley, one of the largest agricultural regions in the world. In Tulare County alone, which covers 4,824 sq. miles of the valley, 45% of that land is farmed. At World Ag Expo you'll find exotic-looking machinery for harvesting tree fruit, nuts, grapes and other crops. Driving between the fertile fields surrounding Tulare after the show, you see the equipment in action, raising food that will be sent throughout the world.
Assistant Editor Michelle EauClaire joined the OEM Off-Highway staff just in time to attend her first World of Concrete show. For Michelle, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, the Las Vegas event provided the perfect opportunity to see first-hand just how exciting and varied this industry can be.
The first trade show where I could hand out my freshly printed OEM Off-Highway business cards was an installment of MINExpo, countless trade shows ago. For me they're still the best way to get energized about this industry.