Opportunities to explore new products, learn new techniques and business trends, and network with industry peers drew more than 13,000 landscape and hardscape professionals to the Hardscape North America and GIE+EXPO trade shows held Oct. 16-18 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
At Hardscape North America, more than 155 new and returning exhibitors filled the North Wing of the exposition center, and many exhibited in the new Hardscape House, a 42,000-square-foot 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 Demonstrations.
HNA was again co-located with GIE+EXPO, the International Landscape, Outdoor Living & Equipment Exposition. Together, the shows offered more than 1,000 exhibits, indoors and out and drew a total participation of more than 26,500 industry members – a 7% increase over 2018.
Education at HNA
With education opportunities spanning Oct. 15-18, attendees were ready to learn. Many of the sessions were approved for continuing education hours.
Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman packed the room for Wednesday’s HNA Keynote. His high-energy presentation emphasized the importance of having a wingman in both business and life. This session was included with HNA trade show registration.
Nearly 200 attendees participated in the Pre-Show concrete paver and segmental retaining wall Installer Courses, which were held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown.
Dealer education was expanded to include sessions all three days of the trade show, and registrations were up 59% over 2018. Sessions focused on increasing profitability, with topics ranging from customer service and upselling to the current state of the economy and how it relates to the industry.
Contractors were able to choose from seven conference sessions that focused on attracting talent, implementing new marketing techniques to improve bottom line, and more.
Frank Bourque, an award-winning hardscape professional, consultant and entrepreneur, led six live hardscape demonstrations on How to Build a Backyard in 2 Days: Hardscape Construction Meets Efficiency.
More than 300 contractors and dealers purchased a VIP Pass, which gave them access to all of the dealer or contractor sessions and the Hardscape Demonstrations for up to a 50% discount. A total of 1,054 attendees had access to the live demos with either the VIP Pass or the demo upgrade. GIE+EXPO attendees with upgraded registration were also able to attend the live HNA demonstrations.
The HNA Installer Championship attracted much attention in the Hardscape House. Six Regional Installer Championships took place in cities throughout the United States, with the winners advancing to the final competition. The 2018 winner was also sponsored to return and defend their title.
Ultimately, Segmental Systems from Otis Orchards, Washington, emerged as the Champion for the second year in a row. They received a prize package valued at approximately $11,600. The package included, an iQ360 14-inch masonry saw with fully-integrated dust collection plus accessories, a Weber MT CF3 Pro forward plate compactor, their name engraved on the HNA Installer Championship Cup, a plaque, recognition in various media including Interlock Design Magazine, Hardscape Magazine and HNA website.
The HNA Awards, which highlight outstanding hardscape projects in the United States and Canada, drew 165 entries, which was a record number. During the awards presentation on Oct. 17, winners were recognized in 18 categories, while 19 honorable mentions were also named in 16 of the categories. The list of winning entries is available at http://bit.ly/HNAawards19.
HNA 2020 will be held Oct. 21-23 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Details will be available online at www.HardscapeNA.com.