Imagine 130,000 people descending on Las Vegas in the dead of winter and packed into about one square mile of space. That's CONEXPO/CON-AGG, an international trade show held every three years. To say it's a big event is a gross understatement. Vendors introduced almost 1,000 new products and services (click here for 26) in five days. I'd have needed a jet pack to see them all.
Among the booths I did visit, however, I noticed a trend of particular interest to small- and medium-sized public works departments: manufacturers developing tools for crews to self-perform work like sidewalk placement and pavement recycling using equipment common to virtually every department anywhere in the country, things like pick-up trucks and backhoe loaders.
Targeting this particular market niche means manufacturers feel the recession’s over. A lot of public works departments cut staffing and equipment inventories to the bone during the recession, though. The question now is how many have the bandwidth to do work in-house.
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