So you just couldn't make it to Waste Expo this year?
I can think of no less than four reasons why you should be sorry if you missed it.
Juice Your Goose. After going to industry seminars, exhibitions and conferences for 10 years, I find few that leave you as exhilarated (and exhausted) as does WasteExpo. This show genuinely makes you glad you are part of this industry.
Test Drive The Latest Models. It's easy to be impressed with the size of this show, with its hundreds of exhibitors, many with their magnificent machines in tow. In fact, you missed an impressive parade of tub grinders -- the Tyranno-saurus Rex of waste equipment. It's unfortunate Dante didn't get a glimpse of a tub grinder before he wrote his classic Inferno, or there might have been another place to sit in Hell's waiting room.
Show management, by the way, reports that this was the largest show in WasteExpo's history, in terms of square feet.
The number of exhibitors declined slightly from last year's show, but judging by the way my square feet felt after walking the floor for three days, I didn't miss them.
Old Dogs And New Tricks. There is no better time to see old friends, meet new ones and, best of all, to listen and learn. This is an industry of practitioners packed with the experiences of a lifetime.
WasteExpo's seminars appeared especially well attended by people more serious and insightful than ever.
In addition to old, familiar faces, it was encouraging to see a substantial number of newcomers. If you've noticed over the past several years, our industry continues to attract new blood, which is vital to our growth and development.
Some concern was expressed for the decrease in overall attendance from last year; most exhibitors reported fewer tire kickers but as many buyers as ever.
The Changing Of The Guard. Finally, a significant event occurred at this year's show with the introduction of the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) and its new president and chief executive officer, Mike Frischkorn.
The National Solid Wastes Management Association, the owners of WasteExpo, has reorganized as the EIA, which includes a new, smaller board of directors and three distinct groups.
When I met with Mike for a short time at the show, he gave me a thoughtful and candid analysis of his association's present position, as well as a realistic set of priorities and goals. From here, I see this important association emerging well-equipped with a new generation of leadership.
So, rather than think of Waste Expo or the upcoming SWANA show in San Antonio as a luxury, think of it as an investment in your future, as well as your industry's.
Who knows? You might learn something worth taking home.