The fluidity of public health and travel advisories from the White House to state houses to city halls forced Precast Show and World of Concrete organizers to promote their postponed events with pending labels. Backed with Operation Warp Speed vaccine development dividends, sound minded authorities have enabled the National Precast Concrete Association and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute to stage the Precast Show, May 18-20 in New Orleans, and Informa Markets to stick with its June 8-10 target for World of Concrete in Las Vegas.
Near press time, pre-registration for New Orleans activities was running at 75 percent the level that staff saw for the same timeframe prior to the 2020 Precast Show in Fort Worth, Texas. While they encourage in-person participation, NPCA and PCI have set a hybrid format where virtual presentations accompany in-person committee meetings and other Precast Show or PCI Convention functions. Members and allies who are not traveling to New Orleans will be able to interface with Precast Show exhibitors by way of the Zoom-powered Pathable app.
New Orleans’ Morial Convention Center will house a welcome reunion for NPCA and PCI members who paths last crossed in February 2020. Last year’s Precast Show timed with rumblings of public health and sanitation concerns at the dawn of the pandemic; no attendee could have imagined the scale of panic and paranoia that ensued less than two weeks after NPCA and PCI capped their largest annual gatherings.
The Precast Show will fittingly lead into the larger powwow less than three weeks later. World of Concrete 2021 will bookend the 2020 ConExpo-Con/Agg—both events among the Las Vegas Convention Center’s top traditions. ConExpo-Con/Agg was easily the largest major business gathering to abut Covid-19 hysteria, punctuated with the declaration of a national emergency on day four of the show, compelling early exhibit shut down.
Informa Markets notes that World of Concrete will be Las Vegas’ and the United States’ first large-scale trade show in 15 months. In contrast to ConExpo-Con/Agg, next month’s Las Vegas Convention Center gathering will see many face masks. Those circulating indoor spaces will be required to abide Informa AllSecure—a set of rigorous hygiene and safety measures prioritizing attendee health, face masks and temperature checks.
“We are confident in our ability to execute a safe event with strong outcomes,” said World of Concrete Group Director Jackie James upon Informa Markets’ confirmation of the in-person June 2021 program. “The Nevada Department of Business and Industry has taken a cautious approach to re-opening, and we are honored to be one of the first large-scale events to set the industry standard for safe and successful economic recovery.”
Officials behind World of Concrete and the Precast Show have understandably refrained from defining success by any attendance watermarks. It will be hard to view either gathering as a disappointment if Las Vegas and New Orleans crowds hit perhaps 40-60 percent of traffic under normal public health conditions and January-February schedules. We look forward to catching up with friends and associates this month and next. Even with face masks, elbow bumps and other barriers to traditional exchanges, navigating the Precast Show and World of Concrete in person will be more rewarding than months of virtual productions.