The National Demolition Association’s (NDA’s) Annual Convention and Expo is one of the industry's premier events. Demolition Rockies, which will take place March 22-25 at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado, is slated to once again offer an array of education and networking opportunities for today's professionals.
NDA Executive Director Jeff Lambert talked with Construction & Demolition Recycling (C&DR) magazine about what attendees can expect at this year's show.
C&DR: We’re just a couple months out from Demolition Rockies. How has the show grown in recent years and what can attendees expect in 2019?
Jeff Lambert (JL): I am very excited by the growth of NDA and the annual convention and expo. We have seen continued growth in all areas of the convention, including with attendance, vendor participation, educational offerings and activities available at the event.
In 2018, we had our highest attendance in recent years, welcoming a little over 1,000 demolition professionals. We are expecting this number to increase at Demolition Rockies. In addition, we have consistently increased the number of vendors at our expo. In 2018, we had 81 vendors in our hall, and this year we are projecting to increase this number to 85-90 vendors. We already have 14 new vendors joining us at this year’s expo.
Our programming has also advanced over the years. In 2018, we introduced the Live DEMOlition Event where attendees can partake in hands-on demonstrations and test equipment they are considering purchasing. This event was a great success for NDA and we are proud to be bringing it back to the convention in 2019. Thus far, large vendors such as Liebherr, CAT, Komatsu, Volvo, LaBounty, Genesis, Rotar, Brokk, Husqvarna and Dust Boss have committed to participating in the 2019 Live DEMOlition event.
In addition, our educational initiatives continue to evolve. In 2018, NDA introduced the Foundation of Demolition Management series that culminates in a Certificate in Demolition Management. We are offering two courses from this four-course series at Demolition Rockies: “Foundations of Demolition Job Cost Tracking” and “Foundations of Demolition Risk Management.” Both courses are taught by industry experts who provide real-word experience.
C&DR: Why do you think the show is still such a draw for contractors?
JL: The NDA Convention and Expo brings together a variety of demolition professionals, from business owners, to general contractors, to purchase managers. The opportunity to connect with demolition colleagues from across the country and learn bidding, safety and environmental best practices is invaluable in promoting success in the demolition industry. We have heard from many of our members that the conference is a must-attend event because of the connections they can make and lessons they take back to their business after just three short days.
C&DR: You have some new educational initiatives planned for Demolition Rockies. Can you talk about what’s on the agenda and why you chose these sessions?
JL: We are excited to welcome safety advocate Charlie Morecraft to Demolition Rockies as our keynote speaker. When looking for a keynote this year, we wanted to choose someone who would resonate with our attendees. Charlie’s story highlights the importance of on-the-job safety, even for the most routine of tasks. Safety is a major focus for NDA and will continue to be a priority of the association at this show. There have been advancements made to the NDA safety app, and we are proud to launch additional safety talks this year—both efforts driven by the NDA Safety Committee.
New in 2019, we will be hosting two panel discussions with engineering firms and large power company representatives to discuss upcoming projects, plant closures and ways our attendees can become prequalified for their work. Hundreds of coal plants will be closing in the next decade, having the representatives in person opens great opportunities for our attendees to ask questions and learn best practices for bidding on projects and how to win work.
Finally, our 15-minute Fast and Furious presentations are always a focal point of the convention. Our Convention Committee worked hard to identify topics that are relevant and could be immediately implemented into practice. This year’s topics include an update on the scrap market, how structural engineering can benefit the demolition industry and other best practices to improve business.
C&DR: Last year’s inaugural Live DEMOlition event seemed to be a highlight of the show. What kind of feedback did you get from both contractors and vendors?
JL: The idea of doing a live demonstration event has been on our minds for a few years, and we were excited to finally see it come to fruition at Demolition Austin. We received positive feedback from both vendors and attendees. I am happy to report that this year’s event will last longer, introduce more equipment and will also include a competition section where participants can test skills and abilities against others on a skid steer, mini excavator and a remote-control demolition machine.
In addition, the Live DEMOlition event is a family affair. The event will feature a children’s section with remote-control excavators, tractors, dozers and cranes.
C&DR: How has being able to test equipment in real time as part of the Live DEMOlition event changed who contractors bring to the show and the type of equipment contractors might get to interact with?
JL: Based on convention feedback, attendees find great value in the quality of vendors and the demonstration time at the NDA Convention and Expo. The expo is always a highlight of the convention because it brings all of the top vendors and representatives under one roof, allowing for on-the-site comparison of price and capability. The Live DEMOlition event takes this one step further. We are finding members are bringing their safety professionals and project managers to test equipment at the event. Through the live demolition setup, business owners no longer need to continuously require employees to take time away from the job site or pull employees off of work to test and compare equipment. The Live DEMOlition event allows an owner and their crew to test many pieces of equipment in one day, saving time and money.
C&DR: The show isn’t just focused on work. What kinds of networking events and fun activities do you have planned for this year?
JL: We always make sure our attendees are having a great time at the NDA Convention and Expo, and this year is no exception. To kick things off, on Friday night, we will be hosting a welcome reception where attendees can gather and network in the Ski Village of the new Gaylord Rockies Resort. On Saturday, we are hosting the first Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament and Casino Night. Registration for this event supports the NDA Scholarship Fund and gives participants a seat in the tournament, complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and $500 worth of chips that can be used after the tournament for other casino games.
In the expo, we will be hosting two events on Sunday, March 24. First is the Colorado Craft Beer Reception, featuring a unique lineup of local brews. Following the reception, we invite attendees and their families to join us for the Colorado Carnival, an event that will be fun for kids of all ages. The Carnival will feature an evening of food, games and surprises where attendees can enjoy the sights and sounds of an eastern shore boardwalk.
Finally, we will gather as a community to celebrate the accomplishments of our members and the health of our industry during the NDA Banquet and Gala. Trailblazers and rising professionals in the demolition industry will be recognized through the presentation of the NDA Lifetime Achievement Award, Excellence in Demolition Awards, Scholarship Awards and the brand-new Hall of Fame Awards.
C&DR: Where can attendees go to sign up or to get more information?
JL: The Demolition Rockies website is your best resource for finding the latest information about the event and to register. We encourage attendees to register by Friday, Feb.1, before rates increase.
Check out all that Demolition Rockies has to offer: