Hitting the target

Features - Industry Events

Conventions serving the demolition and C&D recycling industries in spring are focusing in on the specific needs of their target audiences.

January 15, 2015
Kristin Smith

After making a slow recovery, the construction industry is finally boasting substantial increases in activity from just a couple of years ago. As a result, demolition jobs are on the rise and volumes at C&D recycling facilities across the country are picking up. Companies in these businesses are interested in investing in new equipment and figuring out how to capitalize on this upswing.

What better way to celebrate a brighter business outlook than by putting on cowboy boots and heading to the Country Music Capital? Demolition contractors and C&D recyclers alike will be trading in their hard hats for cowboy hats this spring as the associations representing these two industries have each located their annual conventions in Nashville, Tennessee, in late March 2015.

As National Demolition Association (NDA) President Jeff Kroeker remarks, the positive momentum the industry is experiencing has been a long time coming. “Nearly all of our members are reporting business is doing very well. Most are optimistic they’ll reach prerecession levels of activity and revenue in the next year or two,” he says. “We haven’t had that kind of optimism in a long time and it’s great to report.

Opening act

NDA’s 42nd Annual Convention will kick off the spring convention season, March 21-24, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. Kroeker, who also is an executive with Fresno, California-based Kroeker Inc., says the last time the association held its convention in Nashville, it attracted near-record attendees and exhibitors. “The feedback from that show told us they loved being in an exciting city like Nashville and like the change of scenery that comes with having an event in the South Central region of our country.”

The keynote speaker, Chris Hogan, is described as an acclaimed business expert and is extremely popular wherever he presents, according to Kroeker. “He talks about the kinds of issues that resonate with our members, such as entrepreneurship, business improvement, leadership and financial best practices — all in the most entertaining way.”

The program also includes a workforce issue panel that Kroeker says will “tackle some of the real challenges we in the demolition industry face, such as improving recruitment efforts for positions as varied as laborer to top management.”

Social activities include an opening night dinner cruise along the Cumberland River on Sunday, March 22; the “Music City Honky Tonk Bash” on Monday, March 23; and the 42nd annual banquet on Tuesday, March 23, as well as the 28th Annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 21.

A preconference leadership development workshop titled “Communicating to minimize risk,” will take place Sunday, March 22. Joseph Poliafico, CSP, a consultant with FMI Corp., Raleigh, North Carolina, will lead the discussion. Poliafico specializes in risk management for the construction and engineering industry and will share valuable knowledge about implementing risk and safety programs within companies, says Kroeker.

Kroeker concludes by emphasizing the importance of getting as much out of the convention as possible. “From postconvention surveys of attendees, we find that those who give the event the highest ratings are those who attend all of the workshops, go to and enjoy all of the social activities while networking with fellow demolition professionals and really check out the exhibitors in our expo.”

More information about the 42nd Annual NDA Convention can be found at www.demolitionassociation.com.

Encore performance

The following week Nashville will again be swarming with recycling industry professionals when the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), Aurora, Illinois, hosts its annual meeting, the C&D World Exhibition and Conference, March 28-31, at the Music City Center.

Troy Lautenbach, chair of the CDRA Convention Committee and owner of Lautenbach Recycling, Mount Vernon, Washington, says this year’s program provides attendees a vast array of industry-specific educational content, plus the opportunity to network with the leaders in the C&D world from government to the private sector.

“It is a chance not only to learn from the top-notch speakers, but to mingle with recycling peers from across North America to discuss industry issues,” he says. “In addition, the opportunity to see all the latest and greatest equipment pertaining to C&D in one place at our exhibit hall.”

All that scrap

Just as the National Demolition Association and Construction & Demolition Recycling Association focus on topics at their annual conventions that are specific to their niche businesses, gaining understanding of the global commodities markets for materials recovered from a demolition job or a C&D recycling facility can be critical to profitability.

Registration is currently underway for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) 2015 Convention and Exposition, April 21-25, at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. The ISRI Convention is designed to provide scrap recyclers from around the world with the educational and networking opportunities, product showcases, and industry news needed to run a successful business.

ISRI represents more than 1,600 companies in 21 chapters nationwide that process, broker and industrially consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics and textiles. More information, including schedule and registration information can be found at www.isriconvention.org.

C&D World 2015 will provide speakers on all facets of the business, from an economic forecast from Ed Sullivan, chief economist for the Portland Cement Association (PCA), Washington, to an end markets report, which will include Joe Pickard, chief economist, of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, and a wood fuel expert from ReEnergy, Latham, New York.

The conference program also includes several breakout sessions, including one on the topic of equipment economics, which will look at whether to replace, repair or rebuild such an asset. Speakers on the panel include John Meese of Houston-based Waste Management and Erik McCay of Dallas-based Comerica Bank.

“But one of the best advantages of going to C&D World is networking with attendees, made up of recycling business people and government regulators from across North America all sharing common C&D issues,” adds Lautenbach.

C&D World also will embrace all the Country Music Capital has to offer when it hosts a fundraising party Monday, March 30, at Honky Tonk Central on Broadway Street.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to experience some of the best music in the world while learning and networking,” says Lautenbach.

And with business picking up for many recyclers in 2014, Lautenbach says it’s a good time to become involved in the industry. “We think with the continued growth of the construction industry that C&D recycling will continue to grow nicely in 2015. As we see an increase in incoming tonnages due to this growth, creating, finding and keeping those end markets becomes much more important while staying continually involved in the regulatory arena.”

More information about C&D World is available at www.cdworldexpo.com.

Center stage

WasteExpo is yet another conference that returns in late spring 2015 with a little more flash, thanks to its Las Vegas venue. The 2015 version of WasteExpo takes place June 1-4, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. While the show is considered North America’s largest solid waste and recycling trade show, serving both the private and public sectors with 550 exhibiting companies and 12,000 total participants, it too promises something for everyone with several programming tracks covering various waste and recycling topics.

According to its organizers, Waste 360, New York, and the National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA), Washington, WasteExpo expanded its conference offerings in 2014 and will continue to offer additional programming in 2015. “You’ll walk away with actionable insights and useful ideas you can implement right away,” the WasteExpo website notes.

More information about WasteExpo is available at www.wasteexpo.com.


The author is managing editor of Construction & Demolition Recycling and can be reached at ksmith@gie.net.