National Pavement Expo Meets Again

Manufacturers and pavers of all stripes convened in the Tar Heel state to learn about business-related best practices, see new equipment and connect with industry peers.


Two years after the last in-person version of the National Pavement Expo and Conference (NPE), exhibitors and attendees finally got a chance to meet again at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. Manufacturers and pavers of all stripes convened in the Tar Heel state to cement new and old relationships, view the latest equipment, and learn about business-related best practices.

“We were really happy with the activation this year,” says Morgan Wilson, group show director for NPE. “Our Preview Night on Wednesday really got people warmed up and ready to go to the Expo the following day. We employed two different giveaways for attendees who visited designated exhibitors, we had a truck on display at our tailgate lounge, and educational sessions were excellent.”  

This year marked Wilson’s first as group show director for NPE. With more than five years at NPE parent company Emerald, and a decade of experience before that working as an industrial supply distributor, Wilson brought a fresh eye to a venerable show. With NPE 2022 in the books, surveys will now be reviewed and plans made for the 2023 show—also scheduled for Charlotte, N.C.

For now, Wilson is pleased with the recently-completed show and believes NPE will continue to build momentum. “As trade shows in general make a strong return, we saw strong numbers at NPE 2022, and I’m confident we’ll get back to our pre-COVID attendance levels,” he says. “If you're new to the industry, or have been around for a while but have not made the trip, the 2023 show will be an event that you are not going to want to miss—from the education to the networking to the show floor.

“We'll be back in Charlotte again for 2023, and the earlier that exhibitors commit, the more time they will have to be successful with the event—particularly when it comes to booth location,” Wilson continues. “For attendees, they should be on the lookout for SmartSaver rates, which are always a fantastic deal.”  

Dan Moore, account executive for NPE, also made his first trip to the show, and the overall vibe was unmistakable. “We're human, and it was obvious that people value that face-to-face interaction and contact,” he says. “When you have to call or e-mail down the road, that personal interaction provides a reference point, and it helps to refresh your memory and build those crucial networks.”

From a purely business standpoint, to say nothing of the human toll, COVID was an obvious negative for the event industry. Many in-person live events were canceled and the 2021 NPE went virtual. While acknowledging that last year’s virtual show went well and benefitted the industry, Wilson reveals that he never believed that live events were going away for good.

“There is value in virtual, but it can't beat face-to-face time,” he says. “That's my personal opinion. There is a personal touch that is missing with virtual. Shaking someone's hand and looking him or her in the eye is the best way to start that business relationship and even an enduring friendship.”

As someone who worked at a paving company in his younger days, Moore was able to see the contributions of the industry up close. “This industry is going to continue to boom and continue to grow,” Moore says. “Morgan and I are going to work hard to grow the show and reach out to additional paving companies that can benefit from this event. I see a lot of growth potential.”

“The infrastructure bill that was recently passed might not directly affect NPE because we're a little more focused on the residential side vs the government contracts, but it may well affect us indirectly,” Wilson adds. “Infrastructure in general is not going anywhere and asphalt, paving, and maintenance is an essential business. That's why the industry remained relatively stable throughout all of COVID, and it’s part of the reason we are optimistic about the future of the industry and NPE.”