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Seen and Heard at WOC

A roundup of information, ideas and photos from the construction industry's largest tradeshow.

6 Min Read
Jean Dimeo

Day 3 and 4

One of the best ways to improve productivity in the field, Brad Humphrey told his workshop attendees this morning, is to hold an AM and a PM huddle. They don’t need to be more than 2-3 minutes. See the image above for his Huddle Card discussion guides.

Your AM Huddle is primarily aimed at getting your crew ready to have a good day. Conduct it at the jobsite—call a time out and bring everyone together; you can even combine it with your group stretching and safety talk. Your PM Huddle is where you make your money—discussing anything that came up during the day that needs to be addressed and what they might need for tomorrow in terms of tools and equipment. You’ll also use it to get a crew head count for the next day. And be sure to thank them and acknowledge them for good work!

There are a number of 3D printing demos at the show, including this one at Quikcrete's booth. The manufacturer is showcasing how its concrete mix can be used with the emerging technology.

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Attendees had a number of types of demos to check out, including in the Artificial Rock Sculpting Live! area. This stone wall was created with Matrix's product.

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The show hosted 300+ high school students from Las Vegas and suburb Henderson led by students and faculty from Arizona State University's construction program. The students spent Thursday morning touring exhibits and meeting with ASU faculty and WOC show staff. WOC's partnership with the university started with from 51 students/faculty attending WOC 2013.

On the bus back to the hotel Wednesday night, Jean shared a seat with a contractor from Australia who said he's been traveling to the U.S. for the annual show for 23 years. "Would't miss it, " he said with an Aussie accent and a big grin.

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Jean finally scored some free WOC merch on the last day of the show. Looking forward to wearing this hat on her next hike.

Day 2

During its WOC press conference, the Portland Cement Association said baseline U.S. cement consumption is expected to be down 2.9% when the final numbers are tallied but rise 1.4% this year and 3.2% in 2025.

Long-time construction company owner Tommy Ruttura said during a panel session titled "Multigenerational Workforce: Embracing and Integrating All Generations" that managers have to set firm expectations but learn to compromise with Gen X and Gen Z employees. "They are hard workers but they want to go home at five o'clock." (We'll publish a story from this session at a later date.)

Employee retention and hiring continue to be top of mind at WOC, as attendees once again packed the room for a workshop on the topic. Brad Humphrey shared a lot of tips (we’ll have a recap for you in our newsletter), but the one that stands out relates to this scary statistic: Research shows that, nationally, employees’ average stay at a company is just 90 days. In construction, it’s less than 60 days. And one of the top reasons for the quick departure? No one is talking to them, training them, coaching them. 

“Have a training program ready to go on [the employee’s] day one,” Humphrey stated emphatically. "When they get home that night, you want them to tell their family that they had a great first day. You’re making a first impression and need to give them something that shows you have a plan to support them."

Besides listening to speakers and checking out cool products, delighted attendees posed with Raiderettes for two hours. The Las Vegas Raiders' cheerleaders will be back Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 360 Video Platform.

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“Concrete is not boring. Concrete is exciting. We can do anything that the owner can envision.” Michelle Wilson, Portland Cement Association, during her “Innovations in Concrete Technology” WOC session Jan. 23.

An example of translucent concrete in use in Sweden is one of 11 concrete innovations Wilson showcased during the WOC session. Others included photocatalytic concrete, lunar concrete, self-healing concrete, artificial intelligence, and drones. (Stay tuned for full coverage in our newsletter.)

During its WOC press conference, PCA said baseline U.S. cement consumption is expected to be down 2.9% when the final numbers are tallied but rise 1.4% this year and 3.2% in 2025.

Day 1

The first day of the World of Concrete opened with dozens of educational sessions with top-notch speakers. Here are some tips and ideas from a few of them.

Lots of great strategies were presented in Jacob Borgerson’s Monday WOC session “Concrete Placement & Finishing Defects: Causes, Evaluation, & Mitigation." We’ll have a recap with best practices in an upcoming newsletter, but his opening and closing slides are too good not to share now.

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Here are some quick insights from Randy Anderson of E3 Professional Trainers during WOC session on “Confronting Lovable Underperformers and Landmine Employees.” (Read a full story of his presentation in this newsletter.)

• “Anyone can fire somebody. It takes a leader to grow somebody.”

• Waiting longer to deal with problem employees won’t help. Why? A decline in productivity of course. And you can lose good employees who are tired of picking up the slack.

• “If you’re frustrated by productivity but you’re not looking at culture, [know that] those go hand in hand.” If you improve your culture, you can improve safety, productivity, and more.


Dan Lester told a packed WOC session Monday why mental health matters to the industry: Construction ranks No. 1 in worker suicides by industry and its suicide rate is four times the annual national average.

Top 4 reasons construction workers don’t seek mental health help, according to Lester, vice present of field culture and inclusion at Clayco:

  1. Shame and sigma – 78%

  2. Fear of judgment by peers – 77%

  3. Fear of negative job consequences – 55%

  4. Don’t know how to access help – 45%


Construction attorney Todd Harpst of Harpst Becker in Ohio told early morning session goers that there are several legal trends impacting subcontractors: More contracts want subs to incur the financial consequences of design issues, and owners and general contractors are asking for two-year warrantees instead of the typical one-year guarantees.

Time management expert Anderson told WOC attendees at another session that they need to get rid of time “bandits," things and people that suck time from your day, including the guy who spends 15 minutes talking about last night’s game. For those working in the office, organize your desk so you know where everything is.

Finally, attendees crowded the WOC merchandise truck (top), which attracted customers looking for t-shirts and other items to show their WOC pride.

About the Author(s)

Jean Dimeo

Editorial Director, ConstructioNext, WOC360, IRE360, Informa Markets

Jean Dimeo is an award-winning editor, writer and publication manager who has worked in construction publishing for 30 years. Dimeo was managing editor of Construction Dive, our sister publication about commercial construction, and the editor in chief of Builder, EcoHome and Building Products, all about residential building and remodeling. She also worked as an editor for a Spanish-language construction publication and as a building products expert for consumer magazines including Better Homes & Gardens SIPs.
 

Katy Tomasulo

Katy Tomasulo is an accomplished writer, editor and public relations pro who has worked in the construction industry for two decades. She writes about residential and commercial building products and materials and construction trends.

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