World of Asphalt 2019 Overview
AsphaltPro’s overview of World of Asphalt/AGG1 2019 trade shows.
Attendance hit a record high. Technology flowed from booth after booth. Educators poured information into ready participants. The co-located World of Asphalt Show & Conference and AGG1 Academy and Expo held Feb. 12-14, 2019, were a resounding success. With 10,063 people crowding into the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, it’s hard to imagine who wasn’t there, but if you drew the short straw to stay home and keep the shop open, here’s a recap of good things you should know about.
First, the shows drew a large international audience this year, with all 10 Canadian provinces and 52 other countries worldwide represented. Attendees came from all 50 states, with the host state of Indiana sending over 1,500 folks. In fact, the Asphalt Pavement Association of Indiana (APAI), now led by Kirsten Pauley, partnered with the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) to bring more than 100 high school students to the exhibit floor Thursday, Feb. 14, to consider a career in the asphalt and aggregate industries.
Dubbed #Ag2Asphalt Day at the show, the students are all involved in the organization Future Farmers of America (FFA).
“The FFA students are a great fit for the asphalt industry because of their work ethic and experience around heavy equipment,” APAI Executive Director Pauley said. “They may also be looking for alternative career options, other than attending college.”
The FFA event at World of Asphalt was spearheaded by the APAI Workforce Development Committee, which was formed in 2017 to address the workforce shortage in the construction industry. It’s estimated that in Indiana alone, around 10 percent of the asphalt industry workforce is expected to retire in the next five to seven years.
The #Ag2Asphalt event at WOA consisted of an orientation session and panel session to learn about the asphalt industry and a tour of the trade show floor.
“A majority of the attending students knew very little about the asphalt industry,” Ryan Shotts said. He’s the asphalt superintendent from Brooks Construction and chairman of the APAI Workforce Development Committee. Shotts added that the panel gave students insight into how to get started in the industry, what training is required, and the benefits of a job in the asphalt industry, while the trade show floor tour “gave the students the opportunity to converse with vendor representatives and see that the equipment our industry uses is similar in size and operation to the equipment used in agriculture.”
Since APAI began its partnership with the FFA, more than a dozen state asphalt associations have asked for information to connect with their own local FFA chapters to establish similar partnerships and events.
“Partnerships, such as the one between the asphalt industry and FFA, are a fantastic way to connect motivated youths with the many great opportunities the asphalt pavement industry offers,” NAPA President Audrey Copeland said. “It only makes sense to get the next generation of asphalt workers to [World of Asphalt], too.”
Although partnerships such as this could certainly help reduce the construction workforce shortage, it also introduces teens to career paths they may not be aware of.
Kevin Pluimer, an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor for Eastbrook High School, Marion, Indiana, brought 10 students to the #Ag2Asphalt event.
When he received an email from the Indiana FFA Foundation about the event, he knew he wanted to give his students a chance to take advantage of the opportunity.
“It’s our responsibility to introduce kids to as many career opportunities as possible,” Pluimer said, “both within and outside of agriculture.”
According to Pauley, two of the teachers in attendance at the event followed up with her to receive more information about the industry and potential scholarship opportunities.
“I had at least a half a dozen students thank NAPA and APAI for putting this on and showing them this is a great opportunity for them after high school,” Shotts said. “They understand that college is not for everyone, and now they know they can earn a great living in the asphalt industry.”
APAI will host another #Ag2Asphalt event in September with around 250 students to observe the completion of paving the FFA Leadership Center parking lot in Trafalgar, Indiana. The students will also listen to a panel about entering the industry and attend a career fair exploring the diverse career options in the asphalt industry.
Planning for the future took place everywhere around the convention center.
“It’s been a great show with a lot of interaction on the show floor and in the education sessions; this is where our industry comes together—competitors and peers, to prepare for future growth,” Kevin Kelly said. He’s the president of Walsh & Kelly and the World of Asphalt 2019 chair.
“Whether you were here to learn or purchase equipment, attend the shows or our annual convention, valuable information and resources were shared to help participants get their businesses on the ‘fast track’ to success,” NSSGA 2018 chairman Randy Lake said.
Equipment purchases took place right off the show floor again this year. E.D. Etnyre sold a distributor truck, according to Region Manager Brian Horner. Mauldin sold its 3500 steel wheel roller, according to Brandon Granger. Roadtec had a number of machines it didn’t have to take home, including one going to a “local” customer.
“We sold many units during the week of the show,” Roadtec’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Eric Baker said. “Tom Elam sold the SB-2500e Shuttle Buggy to E&B Paving in Indianapolis.”
“World of Asphalt has been a great show for us this year,” Daniel Friedman, director of marketing with Eagle Crusher, said. “We’ve seen a lot of attendees with positive feelings for 2019 and beyond, growth with distributors to represent our products worldwide as well as customers signing purchase orders for equipment.”
The co-located shows provided more than equipment to ogle, of course. The shows offered more than 150 learning opportunities, anchored by the AGG1 Academy from the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) and the People, Plants and Paving Conference from NAPA.
Don Gengelbach, the equipment manager at Mulzer Crushed Stone, Tell City, Indiana, spoke about AGG1 Academy & Expo. “It’s very important to see the latest technology, keep up with it and come to this show to network and learn more about the aggregates industry.”
Ben Everett with About Asphalt out of New Zealand came to the show primarily for the education.
“Even with many years in the asphalt industry, you have to stay up to date and relevant with your knowledge. Over time, with knowledge gained and lessons learned, techniques evolve,” Everett said. “I attended three education sessions and they are world class in quality and delivery. The presenters were excellent and related to attendees in a very collaborative way to get our attention. Most importantly, the content was accurate, up to date and factually correct.”
Everett stopped by the AsphaltPro booth to have a visit about technology and techniques. He also visited with industry consultant John Ball of Top Quality Paving & Training, Manchester, New Hampshire. The two will be working together overseas in the near future. Such connections make World of Asphalt truly international.
Industry support amplified the shows’ networking and knowledge sharing as well. More than 30 allied groups from the United States, Canada and worldwide participated as official supporting organizations. The Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association co-located its winter meeting with NSSGA’s annual convention, and the Asphalt Pavement Association of Indiana conducted three special education sessions at World of Asphalt. Of course, AsphaltPro magazine is a supporting publication of the co-located shows. It’s part of this magazine’s mission to provide and encourage training and education to enhance the road-building industry. In fact, the online training course we highlighted at our booth this year does just that.
The Asphalt Paving 101 online course is designed as a back-to-basics set of lessons for the new paving crewmember or for the veteran crewmember who needs a refresher. The lessons are grouped in modules so you can have the crew—or an individual—locate and go over specific concepts if you’d like to zero in on problem areas. Online training is gaining momentum in all kinds of industries; if you’d like more information on this technology for augmenting your crews’ knowledge base, the option is now available.
Overall, the co-located shows brought knowledge and new tech to a huge audience in Indiana this year. The next World of Asphalt Show & Conference and AGG1 Academy & Expo will be held March 2021 in Atlanta. The shows are held annually except in CONEXPO-CON/AGG years. The next CONEXPO-CON/AGG is coming up March 2020. The shows are industry-owned and managed. World of Asphalt is owned by NAPA, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and NSSGA, and is produced by AEM. NSSGA owns and produces AGG1 Academy & Expo. Get more information about the shows at www.worldofasphalt.com and www.agg1.org. Get more information about the AsphaltPro online training course.