Previewing GIE+EXPO 2018 and Hardscape North America

With expanded Wednesday hours, dynamic education and many new exhibitors, GIE+EXPO 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger than the last three record-setting years. The annual trade show is set for October 17-19 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, and online registration is available at

Attendees can expect to see more new products than ever as the number of new exhibitors at GIE+EXPO and the co-located Hardscape North America increases each year. In addition, the Outdoor Demonstration Area, which offers the opportunity to test new products from both shows, is expected to meet or exceed last year’s 20 acres.

“This year’s show is a must-attend event for industry members who are looking to move their businesses to the next level,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “With more trade show hours for dealers on Wednesday, and an incredible keynote on the lineup, GIE+EXPO continues to be extremely valuable business investment for exhibitors and attendees alike.”

As a result of the shows’ continued growth, a new format is being implemented, allowing more time for dealers on the show floor on Wednesday. The indoor show floor will open exclusively for dealers, retailers and the media at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Then, beginning at 3 p.m., the entire industry will be invited to visit the indoor exhibits and enjoy a welcome reception on the show floor from 5 to 7 p.m. The indoor exhibits and Outdoor Demonstration Area will be open Thursday and Friday for all industry members.

For information about GIE+EXPO, visit




The landscaper keynote, set for Wednesday, October 17, 1:30 – 3 p.m., will feature Dr. Robert Ballard, world-renowned undersea explorer. Admission to the keynote, which is sponsored by John Deere, is included with registration.

This is the first time that the GIE+EXPO/HNA partners, the Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute (ICPI), National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) have joined together to co-host their keynote, bringing all of their attendees together in one place to listen to Ballard.

“We are thrilled to be supporting the first ever joint keynote address, with GIE+EXPO and its partners, OPEI, NALP, PGMS and ICPI (Hardscape North America),” said Ken Taylor, John Deere. “The keynote address promises to be a major highlight of this year’s event and we look forward to welcoming such a distinguished American icon, Dr. Robert Ballard, to the GIE+EXPO stage.”

One of the greatest undersea explorers of our times, Ballard is best known for his 1985 discovery of the RMS Titanic 70-plus years after it sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He has conducted over 140 deep sea expeditions, including the first manned exploration of the Mid-Ocean Ridge, and is credited with discovering many key chapters of human history, such as German Battleship Bismarck and President John F. Kennedy’s PT-109. He is a well-known author, a film producer of documentaries, an Explorer in Residence for the National Geographic Society and past host of their TV program “Explorer.”

In this gripping presentation, the oceanographer and former U.S. Navy officer, will share his stories of exploration, environmental discovery and leadership. With a passion for the last great uncharted territory, Dr. Ballard will entertain and motivate as he discusses his discoveries and adventures, which include the 1985 discovery of the Titanic wreckage. Attendees will walk away inspired to think outside the box and take risks to achieve their long-term goals.


Hardscape North America conference session schedule

Show organizers have planned an information-packed schedule of conference sessions to be held during the 2018 Hardscape North America. A new VIP Pass will give attendees access to all seven conference sessions, as well as the six hardscape demonstrations, for a 50 percent discount.

Each conference session lasts an hour and 15 minutes and is approved for ICPI Installer Continuing Education hours. Topics will include a wide range of profit-boosting, crew management and how-to tips from recognized industry experts.

“The conference sessions are where contractors can learn about hot industry topics and pick up innovative ideas to help grow their businesses,” said Charles McGrath, executive director of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI). “We have a dynamic lineup of presenters.”

The cost for the VIP Pass – access to all 7 sessions and all 6 hardscape demonstrations – is $189 (member) or $229 (non-member). A la carte tickets for the conference program are $50 per session.

Conference sessions include:

Wednesday, Oct. 17

4-5:15 p.m.

Pitfalls and Reasons Why Most Hardscape Contractors Are Not More Profitable by Monroe Porter

Attendees will learn how to avoid the most common mistakes hardscape contractors encounter.


Thursday, Oct. 18

8 – 9:15 a.m.

Production Management and Crew Motivation on the Hardscape Jobsite by Frank Gandora

Learn how to create uniformity between projects, consisting of the procedures, skills, production methods and crew motivation tips that will bring your projects to a higher standard of quality, increased efficiency and optimal customer satisfaction.


10 – 11:15 a.m.

Estimating Projects with Confidence and Profit by Jerry Gaeta

This seminar will demonstrate the importance of an estimating strategy and show how to develop and implement the strategy to become more profitable and get a better return for your effort.


1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Using a Dashboard to Steer Your Hardscape Company on the Right Path by Leslie Shiner

Learn how to create an executive dashboard and explore Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to help keep you on a course for profitability.



Friday, Oct. 19

8 – 9:15 a.m.

How to Design, Sell and Build Outdoor Kitchens and Living Spaces Jeff Rak

A discussion that will include design ideas and specifications to help you create the perfect kitchen surrounded by an outdoor living space.


10 – 11:15 a.m.

Super-Sizing Your Sales Through Upselling by Gary Ross

Attendees will learn firsthand how upselling will increase profits while adding value to customers.


1 – 2:15 p.m.

Smart Prospecting, Simplified by Gary Ross

Learn how to develop a message that will grab your prospect’s attention, identify your target market and the issues they’re facing, discover the amount of touches it takes to close the sale and why the proper follow up is important. Attendees will learn to identify the importance of pitching less and probing more.


HNA registration includes access to both HNA and GIE+EXPO indoor exhibits, access to the 20-acre Outdoor Demonstration Area, entrance to the HNA Hardscape Project Awards Presentation on Thursday, October 18 and three free concerts at Fourth Street Live! Other education opportunities at the trade show include live hardscape demos, pre-show installer courses and the HNA Dealer Network Program.



Free concerts at GIE+EXPO and HNA

Attendees at the 2018 GIE+EXPO and Hardscape North America, set for Oct. 17-19, 2018, will be treated to three nights of free, top-notch entertainment. New this year, the after-show-hours entertainment will kick off on Tuesday, October 16, with the popular party rock band The Crashers. Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 17 and 18) headliners include country/blues/rock/rap singer Colt Ford; and one of country music’s brightest new stars, Jana Kramer, thanks to sponsors Bob-Cat Mowers and Mercedes-Benz Vans.

“We’re excited to have Bob-Cat and Mercedes back on board to bring three nights of networking for attendees, and we’re shaking things up this year with a Tuesday concert,” said Warren Sellers, show director. “Attendees who plan to be on hand Wednesday for the new industrywide show hours, opening keynotes and education can get an early start on the networking and fun.”


Concert Lineup

On the Mercedes-Benz Vans Stage at 4th Street Live! in downtown Louisville


The Crashers

Tuesday, October 16, 8 p.m.

Headliner: The Crashers


Wednesday, October 17, 8 p.m.

Opening Act: Kelleigh Bannen

Headliner: Colt Ford


Thursday, October 18, 8 p.m.

Opening Act: Mackenzie Porter

Headliner: Jana Kramer


Back at GIE+EXPO and HNA for a third year, The Crashers, will kick things off at the new Tuesday night concert. Formed in 2008, this group has established itself, both regionally and nationally, as the band to see. They’ve performed all over the country – from the Super Bowl (as the official pre-game band for NBC at Super Bowl XLVI) to rockin’ it out as the backing band for national artists like Luke Bryan and Kid Rock.

Colt Ford

Opening the Wednesday concert, Kelleigh Bannen’s sound mixes country twang, pop hooks and southern storytelling into the same pot. Throughout a career that has included major-label singles, independent releases, Top 50 hits and shows alongside icons such as Hank Williams Jr. and Luke Bryan, she has consistently called her own shots. Kelleigh continues that streak with her new EP, “Cheap Sunglasses,” which joins a catalog that already includes a career-launching indie album, “Radio Skies,” and a handful of singles, from “Smoke When I Drink” to “Famous.”

Colt Ford is bringing his groundbreaking hybrid of country, blues, rock and rap rhythms to GIE+EXPO and HNA. Having recently released his sixth studio album, “Love Hope Faith,” he has built a following that started with mud trucker events and graduated to arena status sharing the stage with the likes of Toby Keith. With five previous albums that have hit the top 10 on the Country Albums list, the singer has developed a sterling reputation among his fans for coming up with a narrative that they truly identify with.

Thursday night kicks off with winner of Nashville North Star competition MacKenzie Porter, a musician, actress and singer from Canada. After touring with her brother Kalan Porter (Canadian Idol winner) as a family band, MacKenzie launched her solo career in 2010, and her debut album – which includes “I Wish I’d Known” and “Never Gonna Let You” – in 2014. She has opened for Kenny Chesney, Doc Walker and Trooper, among others.

Jana Kramer

In just a few years, Jana Kramer became one of country music’s brightest new stars. Her platinum debut single, “Why Ya Wanna,” rocketed to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2012, making her the most played new artist of that year. Since then, the Academy of Country Music has honored her with its Top New Female Artist Award, and she’s been up for Female Vocalist of the Year. Kramer was already a star when she broke into country music, with a massive fan base she had built as an actress in numerous films and TV shows, including a two-year run on The CW’s “One Tree Hill.”

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Traveling to Louisville

Situated at the northern edge of the South and the southern edge of the Midwest, Louisville has been touted as an affordable place to visit. Its central location combined with pre-arranged travel discounts will make a trip to GIE+EXPO and Hardscape North America 2018 even more affordable. The co-located trade shows are set for October 17-19 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Online registration is available at or

Four airlines are currently offering discounts for GIE+EXPO and HNA travel.

  • Delta Airlines is offering up to 10% discount on flights. Search flights at, select ‘Book Your Flight’ and use Meeting Code: NMS44. For groups of 10 or more, call 800-328-1111.
  • Southwest Airlines is offering 8% off Anytime and Business Select fares, 2% off select Wanna Get Away fares and 50% bonus Rapid Rewards points. Book by 9/27/18 and travel 10/11 – 10/22/18. Go to and use Company ID: 99636972.
  • United Airlines is offering up to 10% discount on flights. Search flights at and use code: ZF9F142489. Or call United Reservations Meetings at 800-426-1122.
  • American Airlines discounted fares are available by contacting their Meeting Services Desk, 800-433-1790. Use authorization number: A47H8BS.

Louisville International Airport (SDF), serviced by nearly every major and regional airline, is across the interstate from the Kentucky Exposition Center. Shuttle buses will run between the airport, exposition center and select hotels.

Other airports that are a short drive from the Kentucky Exposition Center include Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (100 miles), Indianapolis International Airport (130 miles) and Blue Grass Airport – Lexington (75 miles).

In addition, Louisville’s Housing Bureau makes booking hotel reservations quick and easy with pre-arranged rates. For immediate hotel confirmation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, book your reservation at To make reservations by phone, call the Louisville Housing Bureau at 800-743-3100 Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EDT.

GIE+EXPO and HNA 2018 dates are Wednesday through Friday, Oct. 17-19.

For information, visit