Attendees are Eager to Participate at Upcoming Tradeshows

A spirit of camaraderie is common at National Pavement Expo, and it’s particularly helpful for many attendees.

On the show floor in 2018, National Pavement Expo attendees are eager to network and visit.
On the show floor in 2018, National Pavement Expo attendees are eager to network and visit.

The next National Pavement Expo (NPE) and Conference is set for Feb 23-25, 2022 in Charlotte, NC, and it’s safe to say that the vast majority of the industry is excited to return to the in-person event. “While the virtual event in 2021 went well, the networking and face-to-face interaction at NPE has been missed,” says Russ Turner, associate show director, NPE. “Our attendees like to see and touch the products on the trade show floor, and so much knowledge is shared informally after the educational sessions.”

Manufacturers are once again feeling the pull and actively booking their spots on the tradeshow floor. On the educational side, members of the educational advisory board (EAB) recently met and are in the process of selecting speakers and presentations for NPE.

Chris Tammany, president of Petra Paving, Hampstead, NH acknowledges the benefit of recent virtual events but he too looks forward to face-to-face interaction. “I’m anxious to get back,” he says. “When you do this online stuff, you don't bump into new people and make friends.”

On the show floor, deals are plentiful for people who are willing to negotiate and build relationships over the years. “There are some really good promos at the show,” says Tammany, who also serves on NPE’s EAB. “I go every year, and there is a guy who sells saw blades and I wind up buying a year's worth of saw blades at the show.”

Todd Eichholz, owner/CEO, A&A Paving, Roselle, IL. is equally enthusiastic, confessing that he “can’t wait” to get back to the show, and there is “nothing like getting a bunch of different people together at all levels of business and expertise in a room.”

Unlike some other industries, a spirit of comradery is common at NPE, and it’s particularly helpful for many attendees. “One of the coolest things about this industry is that everyone is open and honest,” Eichholz says. “You could have a guy who has two employees and a striping machine sitting next to a $50 million contractor at a round table and everyone is sharing and helping each other.”

As a member of the EAB, Eichholz specifically looks for sessions that improve management strategies and allow employees to thrive. “I'm a leadership junkie and I consume every book and podcast out there on that topic,” he says. “Being able to bring in some new leadership ideas, thoughts and breathe life into people—it's something this industry needs. Investing in the younger generation and teaching them how to do things is something that's really great about this industry.”

Eichholz agrees with Tammany on the importance of seeing equipment in-person on the trade show floor. “With the equipment, everyone needs to see it, touch it, feel it,” Eichholz says. “In our industry, nothing is inexpensive. To be able to see it and its competitive counterparts is super important. It's also great to speak with somebody who owns it and uses it. That's the best part.”

Attendees who visit a manufacturer's booth can likely find customers there who are willing to talk about their real-world experiences with the product. “The people who use it every day can share the tips and tricks that they struggle with and what they've learned,” Eichholz explains. “I want to speak with an owner/operator. The guys who use it every day may know a whole lot more than that salesman.”

Beyond merely seeing the equipment on the show floor, NPE attendees have a chance to meet with actual manufacturers and assess their level of honesty. “Building relationships with the people who are selling the products is also important,” Eichholz adds. “There have been times when I have not bought something because I just did not like the people.”