NPE West Show Follow-up

At an industry-wide convention such as the National Pavement Expo West, what’s said in the hallways is sometimes just as significant as the more structured conversation in the meeting rooms.
And what Allen Heydorn of the NPE-sponsoring Cygnus Group was hearing at the Las Vegas Convention Center in early December was hope for the future.
"Last year, attendance took a dip from the year before," Heydorn said, "but it stayed about the same this year. I don’t think anyone really expects the dam to break in 2010, but there does seem to be more optimism."
Hard times also inspire change, and companies feel pushed to re-invent themselves. Heydorn said he saw some of that among the sweeping contractors at the Expo.
"More than in previous years, I saw some of the sweeping people sitting in on classes on how to do line striping and pavement sealing. That shows that they’re at least thinking of diversifying."
Heydorn also saw a new seriousness among convention attendees in general.
"We had very good attendance at our workshopes," he said.
As for the exhibit hall, the most popular new product seemed to be a new lighting system from Air Star that provides better visibility for night work on highways.
"Infrared paving still gets a lot of interest," Heydorn said. "It’s relatively new, and it’s inepensive way to make short-term repairs."
Sweeping related companies represented in the cavernous exhibit hall included NAPSA, Nite Hawk Seepers, Schwarze Industries and Tymco.
The NPE West is the smaller of the two Expos put on by Cygnus.
"It started when some of the manufacturers we worked with complained that they weren’t getting access to markets in the West, because those people couldn’t make it to our annual show. That’s when we decided to start a second Expo, and Las Vegas has been a good fit for us. It’s a draw in itself."