Ron Tacey, Director of Purchasing, has been a Harris associate for 46 years. Josh Turner, Rental Administrator, has been with the company for 2-1/2 years. Ron has attended every WOC for the past 35 years (except one); this year was Josh’s first visit to the WOC. Here are their perspectives:
World of Concrete Through the Years
by Ron Tacey
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of A H Harris and Sons. As part of our 100th anniversary, Harris held a reception for customers, vendors, and our industry friends at the Linq hotel. We sent over 40 of our key managers and salesmen to support this event. It was by far the largest contingent of Harris employees ever sent to the World of Concrete. For many of them, it was their first World of Concrete experience. I can recall some years when I was the only representative for Harris at the show.
I remember my first World of Concrete. It was held in Dallas and there was a big snow storm and it was very cold and windy. Since the WOC is always held in January or February, travel in winter weather has always added some adventure to the experience. I have attended all of the WOC shows over the past 35 years except for 2007 when Harris was going live on a new software conversion.
In the 1980’s and 90’s, the WOC moved the show each year. Besides Dallas, It was held in Houston, Washington DC, Orlando, New Orleans and Atlanta. “Hotlanta” of the 80’s became a popular destination and the show started alternating between Atlanta and Las Vegas. Eventually, the WOC made its permanent home at the Las Vegas Convention Center because of the size of the venue and attraction that Las Vegas offers to attendees.
Over the years, the show continued to grow and needed large venues to accommodate the exhibitors. The early years saw a focus on concrete accessory manufacturers. The exhibit space gradually became dominated by the big forming and shoring suppliers competing to see who could build the largest display. We also saw the addition of large concrete related construction equipment. The show became all about geography with the big exhibitors competing for the prime central space.
Once the WOC settled in to Las Vegas permanently, we saw the show diversify into nearly all aspects of construction. International exhibitors, particularly from China, began to show their products. The outside exhibit area became very popular for equipment manufacturers to demonstrate their product. Seminars are offered on all sorts of construction topics and the economy.
The size of the show became overwhelming to the average attendee. It became an exercise in time management. The geography made it impossible to casually walk the show. Who did we need to meet with? Did I want to go to a seminar? How am I going to find that next new product or vendor that can help our company? Having a plan is necessary.
The WOC was well attended this year, a sign of the improving economy. Coming off several years of poor economic conditions, one could feel the excitement and positive outlook for construction in 2016 and into next year. The World of Concrete continues to be the place to see and be seen if you are in the construction industry. It was wonderful that Harris could make the WOC part of the 100th anniversary.
World of Concrete
By Josh Turner
This past February, I along with other Harris associates, attended the 2016 World of Concrete in Las Vegas. The World of Concrete event is an incredible experience. To see so many vendors and concrete specialist in one arena was quite frankly, awe inspiring. The products displayed at each vendor booth and the wealth of knowledge from those vendors really lends more insight into this business. Most importantly, they brought additional insight on what we can provide to our customers.
The product demonstrations located in each hall (North, South, Central, and Outside Lot) allows one to be hands on with the products and discover new innovations within the concrete industry. I especially enjoyed seeing the outdoor demos from vendors such as Husqvarna, Makita and Cementtech. It was fascinating to see the skills and challenges such as, “Fastest Trowel on the Block” hosted by MCAA, and “The Brick Layer 500” hosted by Spec Mix.
In addition to speaking with other Harris associates, customers and suppliers I was also able to talk to some of our main competitors in the forming and shoring segment of our business, which was absolutely invaluable. This was a unique opportunity to view up close and personal what these companies are putting out on the market and where we stack up. It was refreshing to have the opportunity to ask questions regarding their equipment and learn about the similarities and differences when compared to what Harris offers.