Where Are the West Coast Contractors?

Why aren't contractors attending trade shows?

Just returned from four intense days at Pavement LIVE in San Diego and I have one question: Where are all the West Coast contractors?

Pavement LIVE was a re-invented approach to what was formerly National Pavement Expo West. That show had been in Las Vegas for 10 years and the shift to a San Diego resort location was just part of a change that included an expanded seminar program (39 vs. 31) and 10 live demonstrations -- including infrared, sealcoating, marking removal, cracksealing, striping and even a large-scale paving project -- right on the property of the Town & Country Resort.

Everything went off pretty much as planned -- but fewer than 500 people were there to see it. So my question is, why?

Sure, the economy played a role, no question about that. But attendance at this show (and National Pavement Expo) can help contractors solve business problems, fine tune successful operations, expand into new services, learn (or refresh) pavement maintenance skills, visit with suppliers, manufacturers, other contractors -- and more.

These conferences bring together in one place widely respected and very much in-demand experts that most contractors can't afford to bring in to consult with their own company. In most cases these consultants don't even have time in their schedules to take on more private clients so Pavement LIVE and NPE are lucky to have the support of people such as John Ball, Top-Quality Paving (who, get this, is already scheduled for 46 weeks of onsite consulting in 2012); Giselle Chapman, Chapman Business Solutions; Guy Gruenberg, Grow Consulting; Brad Humphrey, Pinnacle Development Group; Wayne Jones, Asphalt Institute; Jim Scherocman, Consulting Engineer; Jeff Stokes, Next Level Contractor System -- and many more. This is just a wealth of industry and business knowledge assembled in one place for contractors to take advantage of.

So why aren't more contractors attending? I just don't get it.