Viva Las Vegas!

THEY PLACED THEIR BETS and won: Representatives from public sector solid waste operations, private sector waste management companies, and manufacturers and suppliers who decided to attend WasteExpo 2005 in Las Vegas, hit the education and exhibitor jackpot on May 2-5. This year's exhibit hall featured 445 exhibitors (up from 416 in 2004), showcasing the latest in solid waste and recycling equipment, according to Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, WasteExpo show director.

The conference program also blended knowledgeable speakers with hot and relevant industry topics to improve waste management practices. Each educational session averaged 63 people in attendance, while some were standing room only, according to Ugianskis-Fishman.

In all, she says the WasteExpo show attracted more than 7,800 industry buyers, up more than 10 percent from the 2004 event in Dallas. International attendees were present, as well. As part of the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Buyer Program, WasteExpo hosted 1,000-plus international attendees from 60 countries.

The Medical Waste Conference, which co-located with WasteExpo, also saw a 10 percent increase in attendance from 2004. The conference included 13 sponsors/tabletop exhibitors.

WasteExpo wasn't all work and no play, however. More than 600 people attended the Environmental Industry Association's Inspiration and Awards breakfast recognizing industry leaders. The Environmental Research and Education Foundation annual Live Equipment Auction and Silent Auction help raised funds for industry research. And the Welcome Reception featured Terry Bradshaw, and Global Trade Award-winners Heil and Routware.

At times, the unexpected popularity of the WasteExpo 2005 show made for some long lines and crowded spaces. However, judging by the pictures, no one could deny there was excitement in Vegas.