Are Construction Trade Shows Really Worth It?

Tara Callinan imageTara Callinan  •  

#18476 Tradeshows

The short answer: Yes. As long as the event you chose to attend is the best fit for you and your company. And honestly, that’s the hardest part — finding the right show to begin with.

The next hardest part is getting the most bang for your buck and trying to stay awake during the final keynote speech.

To help you get the most value out of an event, I put together this handy list which outlines my top construction trade shows for 2020, plus a few key reasons for attending and some simple tactics for staying awake. Check it out!

Best for Industry Socialites: CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020

But specifically contractors like the folks at Built, business owners, and construction material producers.

  • When: March 10-14, 2020
  • Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Why: It’s North America’s largest construction trade show. Need I need to say more?
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: Don’t spend too much time worrying about who from your company should attend as there is something here for everyone. Held once every three years in Vegas, this massive event features the latest equipment advances and newest technology applications in every aspect of construction.
  • How to stay awake: Listen to a Tech talk on sustainability and smart cities, attend a breakfast (yes, there will be unlimited coffee) for women in construction, or party hard in the city that rarely sleeps.

Best for GCs with No Travel Budget: The ConTech Roadshow

But specifically anyone interested in construction technology like Brad Moore from Power Design.

  • When: April - December 2020
  • Why: No matter your role in construction, this event will introduce you to the various technology solutions and providers that are improving productivity on construction projects, big and small.
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: Plan ahead to ensure you’re attending sessions that are of most value to you. There will be industry experts speaking on a range of topics, including R&D budgets, mobile data security, and BIM. So don’t miss out!
  • How to stay awake: It’s simple, don’t sleep. Get yourself to the free networking happy hours that take place each night, no matter which of the six cities you’re in.

Can’t attend? Listen to The ConTechCrew Podcast instead.

Best for Design Enthusiasts: AIA Conference on Architecture

But specifically architects like Katherine Frey from Ford 3 Architects, engineers, and technical consultants.

  • When: May 14-16, 2020
  • Where: Los Angeles, California
  • Why: If you’re an architect or design professional, AIA is the place to be! With 650+ exhibitors, this conference is a product playground for anyone looking for the latest high-tech materials and solutions for their business.
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: Explore LA’s icons, landmarks, and treasures through unique experiences offered only to event attendees.
  • How to stay awake: Grab some coffee and shake some hands! Networking is one of the top three reasons why architects attend this conference. With 20,000+ attendees, AIA is the best place to make meaningful, in-person connections that expand your success.

See the current list of exhibitors here.

Best for Meeting Women (Professionally): Groundbreaking Women in Construction

But specifically women in construction like Jessica Rondash from Holt Construction.

  • When: May 14-15, 2020
  • Where: San Francisco, California
  • Why: Groundbreaking Women in Construction is much more than just a conference. It is recognized as one of the industry’s premier leadership and talent management events — a catalyst for change to inspire women in all roles to develop their leadership skills, expand their influence, and boost industry growth potential.
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: Hang around for the official networking session which takes place on Day 2. Mingle with others and build lasting relationships.
  • How to stay awake: Eat and learn... At the same time. Our VP of Construction, Marielle Price, is hosting a roundtable lunch discussion on how to implement construction technology in a male-dominated industry. We’ll have more details on that soon!

For now, you can view the current agenda here.


Best for The Digerati: ENR FutureTech

But specifically CIOs, CTOs, VDC directors, and IT technicians like Marc Woods from Speller Metcalfe.

  • When: June 11-12, 2020
  • Where: San Francisco, California
  • Why: Fieldwire will be there! Look out for our logo and come say “hey.”
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: Listen and learn. ENR FutureTech is for IT leaders and decision-makers in architecture, engineering, and construction to learn about emerging technologies that can enhance construction productivity, profits, and safety.
  • How to stay awake: Through a series of thought-provoking sessions and intimate conversations, attendees have no other option but to stay engaged. Cease every networking opportunity and walk away with valuable knowledge of what technologies work best, what don’t, and what’s on the horizon.

Follow this link for more information.

Best for Compliance Nerds: CONSTRUCT 2020

But really just anyone and everyone in construction like us!

  • When: September 30-October 2, 2020
  • Where: Grapevine, Texas
  • Why: CONSTRUCT provides a platform for AEC professionals to enhance their skills and increase their knowledge to gain a competitive edge in their field.
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: With three jam-packed days of speaking sessions and 50+ workshops to choose from, it’s important to plan ahead.
  • How to stay awake: Visit the Coffee Talk Lounge, a collaborative space on the expo floor where CONSTRUCT speakers will host short conversational sessions on trending topics affecting the AEC industry.

Best for Sparkies: NECA Convention & Tradeshow

But specifically electrical construction professionals like the folks at DC Electric.

  • When: October 3-6, 2020
  • Where: Chicago, Illinois
  • Why: The NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) convention exists to prepare electrical construction professionals for the future. Discover how the electrical profession is changing and learn how to keep up with the pace.
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: Attend as many free sessions as you can. These take place on the tradeshow floor and are on a range of topics, including leadership, growth, and electrical innovations.
  • How to stay awake: A little bit of fresh air never hurt anyone, right? If you’re visiting from a different city take some time out to explore Chicago — a change of scenery will keep you energized and ready to tackle another day.

Ready to register? Keep an eye on this page for more details.

Best for Process People:LCI Congress

But specifically project managers like KK Clark form Clark Construction, superintendents, and C-Suite leaders.

  • When: October 19-23, 2020
  • Where: Detroit, Michigan
  • Why: LCI (Lean Construction Institute) Congress, the largest Lean design and construction event in the US, is a five-day educational and networking conference offering professional courses, breakout presentations, keynote speeches, site visits, and an interactive exhibit hall.
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: Be a part of the incredible knowledge sharing that takes place here. I mean where else can you learn Lean best practices from industry experts in as little as an hour?
  • How to stay awake: Two words: Gemba Day. Put what you've learned into practice by visiting an off-site project on Gemba Day, the final day of the congress. Witness first-hand how others are using Lean methods before heading out for your final happy hour drink.

Interested in attending? Plan your visit here.


Best for Design-Bid-Build Haters: DBIA Conference and Expo

But specifically business owners and design-build enthusiasts.

  • When: October 28-30, 2020
  • Where: DC Metro Area
  • Why: Design-build is the fastest growing and most popular method used to deliver construction projects in America. Hence why there is an entire event dedicated to it. And hence why you should attend.
  • How to get the most bang for your buck: Whether you’re an owner new to design-build or an experienced professional, this is the go-to event for the tools you need to deliver the best possible projects, on-time and on-budget, no matter their size or complexity. Speak with exhibitors, network with attendees, and join as many workshops as you can.
  • How to stay awake: Swing by booth #232 for a lively chat with a member of our team.

Registration opens soon! Keep an eye on this page for more updates. We’ll see you there!

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