Even if your interest in sports ranks right up there with my interest in shopping (which, for the record, is zero), you’re probably still aware of the NCAA college basketball tournament, also know as March Madness, going on this month. When the term “March Madness” is spoken this, or any time of year, thoughts immediately go to brackets, picks, and who has the best looking uniforms or coolest mascot. This type of March Madness is certainly popular and something I myself get caught up in (my bracket, as of last night, is now officially destroyed, but oh well!). But the equipment industry also experiences its own madness this time of year – well, every three years to be exact.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the biggest industry tradeshow in the country, drawing in more than 100,000 attendees. Companies from all over the globe come to show off their best products, launch new ones and see what other companies have been cooking up over the past few years. Add all this to that the fact it’s held only once every three years, and it becomes something even more exciting – our industry’s own version of March Madness. Between budget dollars, planning, and personnel, a lot of effort and manpower goes into this one event, this one week. And the big question is always there – was it worth it? I just returned from the show and wanted to take a moment to share my personal feelings. Overall, I feel it was a great show and I would hope most exhibitors would say yes, all our efforts were absolutely worth it. I’ll sum up what I saw and heard in three words – eager, optimistic and bright.

Eager – After two years off and a couple years of slower tradeshows in general, the industry’s best were eager and excited, showing up in full force and ready to make the most of 2011’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG.

Optimistic – Though I would like to add one more word to this one – cautiously optimistic. My perception aside, and cautious or not, the positive attitudes and encouraging comments really could be found everywhere on the tradeshow floor.

Bright – No, not a nod to the sunny Vegas weather (though it was gorgeous!), but the outlook for 2011 and future years. Spirits were bright, projections are bright – and the overall feeling for the industry is, you guessed it, bright.

What I feel it boils down to is that everyone is tired of the doom-and-gloom, and ready for our industry to be back, better than ever. Ready to tackle those jobs that are out there (and there are plenty out there!) and ready to purchase the equipment that will get the job done. Here’s to a busy construction season and a great year for the industry in the rest of 2011. Let the madness begin! And continue full steam after the typical “March Madness” has faded.

If you attended or exhibited at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment here, shoot me an email or post a message on our Facebook page to let us know how the show was for your company or you as an attendee. And on another note, if you’d just like to brag about your NCAA bracket, I’m all ears!

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