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Business optimism abounds at The Precast Show 2014

PHOTOS: National Precast Concrete AssociationThe Precast Show 2014 returned to Houston for three days of exhibits, meetings, education sessions, and special events, with the mood markedly brighter than one five years earlier during the event’s premier, which was also held at the city’s George R. Brown Convention Center.

Nearly 3,000 precast producers, along with industry suppliers and service providers, experienced a trade show floor where optimism indicated an end to the steep recession in construction and better times ahead. When The Precast Show had its debut in Houston in 2009, most of North America was mired in an economic downturn in which many construction-related businesses saw revenues drop 40 percent or more. Five years later the recovery appears to be solidly underway, show officials affirm, though some regions of the country are slower to rebound than others. 

PHOTOS: National Precast Concrete Association

The 2014 Precast Show featured 222 exhibitors in 49,200 square feet of exhibit space on a trade show floor that spanned about 100,000 square feet. “We heard from many exhibitors that there were more precasters ready to buy equipment than in the last several years,” says Ty Gable, president of the National Precast Concrete Association, which co-sponsors the show with the American Concrete Pipe Association.

“The construction economy has been weak for the last several years, and many manufacturers were just trying to stay afloat. They have been delaying making any large equipment purchases. This year there was a general feeling of optimism on the trade show floor that the very slow recovery of the last couple years is going to gain a little momentum in the next year or two.” 

In addition to the trade show, both NPCA and ACPA held extensive training, committee meetings and special events during the week. NPCA also partnered with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute on a course for local architects. PCI held its Winter Conference in conjunction with The Precast Show and will join The Precast Show as a partner starting in 2016 in Denver. The Precast Show 2015 will be held at the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., March 5-7.