A Beginner’s Guide to
World of Concrete
by Anthony Brown, Project Manager & Consultant
All West Surface Prep, Commerce City, CO www.allwestsurfaceprep.com
Whether you’ve heard of it in passing or have dreamed of going for years, one thing is certain: the World of Concrete is an absolutely fantastic and awe-inspiring sight to behold. It is flat out the Comic-Con of the concrete world, where vendors and manufacturers from across the globe create what is an absolute leviathan of a convention, encompassing every corner of the concrete industry. It is a place where the smallest outfits get to share the stage with the colossal industry elite, all of whom are there to capture your attention. It is a place where you can genuinely find the “next big thing” right around the corner.
However, it can also be very intimidating. We’re talking more than two million square feet. It takes up all three main halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and both the north and south parking lots. It. Is. Immense.
Also, depending on where you are traveling from, the whole endeavor can be pretty pricey too. If this is your first time going, the task of keeping it affordable and getting the most value out of this monster can be daunting, especially if you are going it alone and have never been to Vegas. These tips and tricks will help you make the experience worth every penny and the very sore feet you will without a doubt have by the end.
Where to start?
First, register for the convention! The very best way to do that and get the best deal is to call your Ashford Formula or RetroPlate representative! Seriously, representatives always have links to discounted registration prices for as low as $25.00!* View current discount. This represents a significant savings of up to $80.00! Registration is done online and is quick and easy. Once you complete your registration, you will receive a confirmation email and instructions on how to pick up your badge, which is your ticket into the show.
*To our knowledge, all online coupon codes for the World of Concrete expired as of January 17, 2020. Click on “View current discount” link above for the most current discount available.
Next you need a hotel room.
Luckily you just registered for WOC, so you are about to get an onslaught of emails! Fear not though, these are not spam. They are great resources if you check them out. They are filled with information about speakers, events, and courses, as well as codes for discounted hotel rooms. Keep in mind people from all over the world are also doing the same thing. So, the sooner you do these first two steps, typically by October/November, the better your hotel options will be. Another tip to help keep costs down is to avoid the temptation of staying on the strip. Yes, it’s awesome and will make for a great Instagram pic, but you can often find better rates off-strip and still only be a couple of blocks away from the nightlife. This way you are not far from the fun and have more money in your wallet to enjoy it.
Do not take cabs!
Nothing against cab drivers, but facts are facts: Uber & Lyft are far cheaper. Now understand by making this choice you have picked sides in a very real battle between traditional cab companies and rideshare services in Las Vegas. This war of the wheels means most places have separate pick up and drop off locations. The easiest way to work around this is to have someone point you in the right direction. They often have signs, but it can get confusing, so cut to the chase by asking for help.
Now you are at the convention!
When you first show up to WOC, get your badge from the Registration Desk (each hall will have one). You will also be offered some swag, as well as a free bag. This cannot be stressed enough – take the bag! You are going to see very quickly that every booth you visit offers lots of free things. Be it pens, literature, or LED flashlights, you will get a ton of it. You will ultimately end up needing the bag. So many people refuse it upfront only to really need one later.
Now, like most of us, you will want to see and document everything! You are going to be taking pictures, recording videos, and making phone calls all day. Nothing bites more than your cell phone battery dying. There are outlets where you can charge your phone, but you have things to do and people to see! So, next major tip – bring a power bank. This will allow you to charge your phone and keep on the move. If you don’t have one or are looking to upgrade, I suggest the EGRD Portable Charger. With 10,000mAh and fast charging capabilities, you can get multiple charges from one charge. Best of all, it fits neatly in your pocket. You can find it on Amazon right now for $18-$25.
The greatest part of WOC is the networking. You will meet so many amazing people in the industry that you do not want to lose contact with. The number one way to ensure you keep those connections is the ever-timeless, age-old business card. The downside? They get lost, or damaged. If you are lucky enough to keep them all in good shape, you still need to log them somehow. The solution? A little app called SnapBiz. Simply take a picture of the card and SnapBiz will create a contact in your phone. It also captures every ounce of information on the card including email, fax, name, number, and business name. It is amazing! If you happen to be the type of person that best remembers with a visual reference, don’t sweat. It automatically creates an album in your phone’s photo gallery so you can reference and even electronically share the card with other people. Each card image is neatly cropped of its background, so only the card’s image remains. Once you’ve done that, hand the card back because your tech-savvy self needs to save room in your bag for more free stuff.
Now, no WOC guide would be worth its salt if it didn’t mention the parties. Yes, you read that right, parties! It’s no secret that no one knows how to bring the ruckus quite like concrete people. When the convention’s activities end for the day, this does not mean a close to your WOC experience. It’s Vegas baby, and the night is young! We’re talking amazing food, open bar, and music FOR FREE! Again, all of this is to get you and manufacturers to connect on a deeper level that hopefully will benefit everyone. It is an opportunity to interact with one another in an environment where you can strip away the stiff business exterior and just be people. P.S. This would fall in the category of things you should talk to your representative about beforehand to make sure you get an invite.*
*Curecrete will be holding its annual Social Reception on Tuesday night at 5:30 pm in Room S221 of the South Hall. Come join us for free food, drinks and swag!
Go with a goal.
The most important bit of advice this seasoned WOC attendee can possibly give is to go with a goal. Whether you are going for yourself or you are there representing your place of work, this is the place for answers. Personally, I try to go with the mission of solving a problem we had been dealing with the year prior.
The reality is, if you can shore-up a weak point in your operation by going to WOC, then it is more than worth going. Do you need a new piece of equipment? Literally, 9 out of 10 times vendors are selling their goods at discounted “show prices”, which makes for a great avenue to get new equipment on the cheap. Do you have a technical issue you just can’t seem to shake and can’t get a straight answer for? This is the place to start those conversations, to learn and grow, and forge relationships.
For many people, WOC is the Super Bowl of the concrete construction industry, and it doesn’t take long to see why. It is unparalleled in the potential it offers, putting you at the forefront of world-leading innovation and the upper echelons of expertise and talent.
These tips will help you see by the end of your trip that even the smallest of contractors have a mountain of insight to gain from going to the world’s largest concrete convention.