I started learning this industry in 1990 and attended my first National Pavement Expo in 1991 and to this day it baffles me that show attendance hovers around 2000 contractors each year.
Where are all you folks?
Circulation of Pavement magazine is 18,500 and we know there are many thousands more contractors involved in paving and pavement maintenance throughout the country, so the question I ask each year is: Why don't more contractors attend the only event devoted to their industry?
And I have to admit I don't have an answer to that. What's up out there?
In most industries those involved relish an opportunity to come together to support their industry - and to support one another. Here are a few more-specific reasons we should see you at NPE:
1. You can meet and talk informally with others who do the same things you do, day in and day out. Who better to sit down with, someone who understands exactly what you face every day -- especially when they aren't a local competitor? You can trade war stories and exchange tips and even phone numbers that might help you solve future problems. Many contractors attending NPE say this is one of the biggest reasons they attend... you can ask any of our Advisory Board members.
2. You can learn how to fix things in your business and how to approach or prevent problems that many contractors just like you have already faced. The conference program at NPE offers more than two dozen sessions to help you improve the management of your operation. There are few contractors out there that can't take something of value away from every session you attend.
3. You can get ideas for business growth. Just think about it for a minute: Where do your ideas for growth, expansion an improved profitability come from? Hopefully Pavement magazine, possibly others in your company...and where else? Attending events such as NPE exposes you to an exhibit floor of more than 100 of the industry's top companies and simply walking the floor and visiting with exhibitors can flip a switch for you. Plus, when you get a brainstorm you can talk to any number of exhibitors who can give you more insights than you could gain in a year on your own. And the conference program also provides additional diversification and profitability ideas -- where else can you get the basics of a growth concept for less than $100?
4. And as long as I'm referencing the exhibitors on the trade show floor, you need to spend a lot of time talking with these folks. Yes, they will try to sell you something, that's their job. But these folks are the experts in their particular field. There's a reason we have sealer producers present our "Basic Sealcoating Principles" session: They know this stuff the best, by far. The same is true of equipment manufacturers. You might own and operate a paver but the paver manufacturers know them better, trust me, and any problems you've encountered they've encountered -- and solved -- a dozen times over. Who else would you rather talk with about paver technology?
5. You can buttonhole me and we can talk about a possible article about your company or a job you've done.
The people who attend NPE every single year -- and there are hundreds of them -- will tell you the impact the show has made on their business. They will tell you they learned something in a seminar, on the floor, from another contractor and that something enabled them to become more profitable or more efficient -- or maybe it just enabled them to survive.
True, you do have to implement what you learn, and that takes work. Many contractors who take home great ideas never see their value because they don't follow through on what they learned. Also, you can't implement in one year everything you learn at one show (one of the most-common problems we hear is people go home with so many ideas they don't know where to start).
But I can tell you exactly where to start: You start by attending National Pavement Expo, Jan. 23-26 in Nashville. Start by visiting www.nationalpavementexpo.com to sign up.
And if you're not going to attend I'd like to hear why, because basically there's no justification not to go. Let's just do a little quick math here: Let's assume it costs you $1000 to attend NPE and that you learn something that can save you $25 on every job. If you have two crews and each crew does one job a day and works 200 days a year that's a savings of $10,000 a year. That $1000 NPE cost looks like a pretty solid investment now, doesn't it? And anything you learn will compound itself every year you're in business so over 10 years that $1000 will save you $100,000.
So put all that together and now let me know why you aren't attending NPE. Hope to see you in Nashville!