World of Concrete 2021: Reconnecting the global concrete industry

World of Concrete (WOC) 2021 concluded its 46th edition successfully on 10 June, featuring more than 650 exhibitors across just under 300,000 net sq ft of exhibit space, announced the show organiser Informa Markets.

This postponed edition of WOC from January was the first large-scale event to take place in Las Vegas, soon after the city’s full reopening to 100% capacity on 1 June 2021.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) debuted the Las Vegas Convention Centre’s (LVCC) US$1 billion, 1.4 mil sq ft West Hall expansion with a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by doors opening to WOC 2021, the first major convention to return to Las Vegas and to the US post-pandemic.

The addition of the West Hall brings the total square feet of meeting space in the destination to 14 million and makes the LVCC the second largest facility in the country. During a normal year, the meeting and convention industry represents US$11.4 billion in economic impact to the area.

The arrival of WOC 2021 signals the return of meetings and conventions to Las Vegas, named the number one trade show destination in North America for 26 consecutive years by the Trade Show News Network (TSNN).

“We are thrilled to be returning to the live event format, especially in the home of the exhibitions industry in the US, Las Vegas,” said Nan Walsh, president, North America at Informa Markets. “There is an unparalleled magic about in-person connection – from sharing laughs with old friends, creating new ones, learning from industry experts, and seeing and feeling the latest products and innovations.

“We are so happy to be the first large-scale trade show to return to the show floor in the US, and the first to use the Las Vegas Convention Centre’s incredible new West Hall, and through that partnership I believe we are signalling a return to business and connection that is needed now more than ever.”

“World of Concrete is grateful for the support of all the participating exhibitors and attendees who braved the heat of a June event and paved the way for an even larger and stronger return in January 2022,” said Jackie James, group director of World of Concrete.

“We would like to thank them along with our cosponsoring associations and media partners who supported this endeavour throughout a very challenging 15 months leading up to this important industry event.”

The Concrete Industry Management (CIM) programme held its 16th annual unreserved silent and live auctions at WOC 2021 and simultaneously online as a hybrid auction event. The silent and live auctions raised just over US$1.175 million, with a total of over US$13 million to the CIM programme in the past 16 years.

The CIM programme is a business programme that has been developed specifically for the concrete industry to provide students with a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Concrete Industry Management. The programme gives students entering the concrete workforce industry experience early in their careers.

At the Spex Mix Bricklayer 500, mason David Chavez and mason tender Guadalupe Hernandez with Ranch Masonry in Houston, Texas teamed up to earn the title ‘World’s Best Bricklayer.’ This is the second time Mr Chavez has earned the World Champion title, winning it all in 2018.

A total of 20 of the best masons and tenders in the world came together at WOC to test their skill, speed and stamina by battling to determine who can build the largest and best 26-ft-long brick wall, with the least amount of errors, in one hour.

It was an action-packed competition featuring some of the most decorated craftsmen in North America. Mr Chavez’s winning earned him the keys to a new Ford F250 4×4 super duty truck, US$5,000 in cash, a Multiquip Essick Pro12 mortar mixer and other great prizes.

With over US$125,000 in cash and prizes to be earned, masons from across North America were invited to Las Vegas to compete in the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 after winning a regional series qualifying event. A total of 16 regional series competitions were held in 2020, shy of the typical 24, due to local restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With workforce development being the primary battle cry for the skilled trades, the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 is a tool designed to create interest from a new generation of masons in the rewards and opportunity possible in masonry and construction.

The next World of Concrete exhibition is set to return from 18 to 20 January 2022 (education 17-20 January), back at the Las Vegas Convention Centre.