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World of Concrete celebrates 40th anniversary

The first World of Concrete was held February 23-26, 1975, in Houston, Texas. What a difference from then to now. First, I will give you a little history about WOC, and then some trivia about the era.

In 1975, there were 70 exhibitors at WOC; now there are 1,300 exhibitors!

If you have attended the show, you know how much walking there is to see it all. And there is lots for everyone, no matter what area of concrete or masonry work you are involved in. From the large concrete pumps, mixer trucks and pavers, to the small pumps, screeds, saws, forms, chemicals and about anything else you can imagine, if it has to do with concrete or masonry, you are likely to find it here.

In addition to exhibits, World of Concrete has a strong educational component. Forty years ago, there were 19 speakers. Today there are over 100 expert-led sessions, including interactive workshops, such as Train-the-Trainer, Boot Camps for Field Leaders, plus Hands-On Training opportunities for laying concrete masonry block, placing and finishing floors, surveying, stamped concrete and concrete repairs.

The first event attracted 1,100 attendees. How many do you think make the trip to Las Vegas now for this annual event? The answer is at the end of my letter.

Besides World of Concrete being launched in 1975, there was another significant concrete event that year.

The CN Tower in Toronto, the world’s tallest freestanding structure at that time, at 1,805 feet, was completed. It was an amazing accomplishment. The lower 1,500 feet were slipformed and required careful control of concrete strength during winter construction. Peter Smith and John Bickley developed a system to assure that the concrete gained sufficient strength using heated concrete, insulation for 37 feet below the slipform, and one of the earliest uses of maturity methods to monitor strength gain.

How else have things changed? In 1975, Motorolla obtained a patent for the first portable mobile phone. And it was huge and very expensive. The name Microsoft (for microcomputer software) was registered as a trademark.

A new average home in the U.S. cost $39,300. Bruce Springsteen released Born To Run, one of the greatest albums of all time. Popular films included Jaws and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Now to answer the question on how many attend WOC today: 50,000!

If you want to be among them, the event will be January 20-24 in Las Vegas, with exhibits opening on the 21st.

 

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