More than 14,500 landscape and hardscape professionals gathered at the Hardscape North America and GIE+EXPO trade shows Oct. 20-22. The energy was high as industry members explored new products, learned new techniques and business trends, and networked with peers after a year off in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to show management.
At Hardscape North America, more than 117 exhibitors filled the North Wing of the exposition center, and many exhibited in the Hardscape House, a 42,000-sq.-ft. pavilion adjacent to the 20-acre Outdoor Demonstration Area. In addition to hands-on exhibits, the Hardscape House featured the HNA Installer Championship and Hardscape Now Sessions.
HNA was again co-located with GIE+EXPO. Together, the shows offered more than 806 exhibits, indoors and out and drew a total of nearly 18,000 attendees.
With education opportunities spanning Tuesday, Oct. 19 – Friday, Oct. 22, attendees were ready to learn.
• Admiral James Stavridis packed the room for Wednesday’s HNA Keynote. His presentation provided answers and strategies to some of the most pressing global affairs challenges. This session was included with HNA trade show registration.
• 105 attendees participated in the Pre-Show ICPI and NCMA Installer Courses, which were held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown.
• Dealer education kicked off with a networking breakfast on Wednesday and continued with four additional sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Sessions focused on increasing profitability, with topics ranging from marketing and selling on value to managing customer expectations for freight.
• Contractors were able to choose from eight conference sessions that focused on new marketing techniques, using drones to make sales and more.
• Frank Bourque led six Hardscape Now sessions on How to Build for Profits.
• 366 contractors and dealers purchased VIP passes, which gave them access to all 12 of the dealer and contractor sessions, the six Hardscape Now sessions and two hardscape workshops for up to a 50% discount. A total of 1,142 attendees had access to Hardscape Now sessions with either the VIP pass or the demo upgrade. GIE+EXPO attendees with upgraded registration were also able to attend the sessions.
The HNA Installer Championship attracted much attention in the Hardscape House, and the stakes were higher than ever with the total prize value exceeding $38,000. Nine teams competed in the preliminary rounds on Thursday, with the top four teams advancing to the final competition on Friday. The 2019 Champion, Segmental Systems was also sponsored to return and defend their title.
Ultimately, Segmental Systems from Otis Orchards, Wash., emerged as the Champion for the third year in a row. They received a prize package valued at over $25,000. The package included $12,000 cash; a GoodRAKE 30″ Magnesium Double Edged Rake from Fortress Edging; an iQMS362 16.5” Masonry Saw with 16.5” Q-Drive Combo Blade, 5” Q-Drive Hard Concrete Blade (Silent Core) and 5” Q-Drive Hard Brick Blade (Silent Core); two 14” Hurricane diamond blades and a $500 credit from Latux Diamond Blades; an AIRLIFT Base Kit & GRABO with DUO Carry handles from Probst Inc / Pave Tech; a CF3 Forward Plate Compactor, Urethane pad and Integrated Wheel Kit from Weber, MT, Inc.; their company name added to HNA Installer Championship Cup, a plaque and recognition in various media including Hardscape Magazine.
The HNA Awards, which highlight outstanding hardscape projects in the U.S. and Canada, drew 178 entries, which was a record number. During the awards presentation on Oct. 21, winners were recognized in 18 categories, while honorable mentions were also named in 16 of the categories. The list of winning entries is at https://bit.ly/HNAawards21.