AGG1 Conference in Nashville Breaks Attendance Records
From left, Cash McCloy, outside sales; John Jones, vice president, Jessica Smith, inside sales; and CJ Jones, president, at the Custom Dredge Works display.
More than 9,000 people attended the annual AGG1 Academy & Expo, held March 22 through 24 at the Music City Center, Nashville, Tennessee in conjunction with the World of Asphalt show.
“It is the highest attendance in our event’s history, and attendance increased 18 percent from our then record-setting show in 2015,” said Patrick Dunne, director of communications for the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA), who sponsored the event. “There were more than 52 education sessions at the AGG1 Academy, and 196 exhibitors on the expo floor covering more than 150,000 square feet,” he said.
“This is the best way for our industry to congregate with colleagues, for our association to communicate what we’re doing on behalf of the aggregates industry and provide the best aggregates-focused education from experts … and to communicate what our association is doing on behalf of the aggregates industry and get the best aggregates-focused education from experts,” Dunne said.
Bryce Leggins, director of Dredge Services for Twin-kle Co. in the booth displaying the dredges and other equipment the company manufactures for the aggre-gates industry.
The NSSGA held its annual convention in conjunction with the Academy and Expo, and on Wednesday, March 23, elected Hal Williford, president and CEO of Memphis Stone and Gravel, chair of NSSGA’s board of directors, taking over responsibilities from Charles Luck, IV.
NSSGA President and CEO Michael W. Johnson congratulated Williford on his new position.
“Hal has been a true leader of the aggregates industry and really understands the needs of our members, large and small,” he said.
Saluting the accomplishments of immediate past-chair Charles S. Luck, IV, Johnson said that Luck “brought valued-based leadership to our association. A multi-year highway funding bill became law, and our Annual Convention and AGG1 Academy & Expo broke attendance re-cords,” he said.
In the DSC booth are, from left, Charles Johnson, William Wetta, Damon Rodriguez and Sonny Lightsey.
Jerry Geraghty, president and CEO of Rogers Group Inc., received the Barry K. Wendt Memorial Commitment Award for his lifetime of service and leadership to the aggregates industry. The award is the highest honor NSSGA be-stows, recognizing an individual who exemplifies commitment to family, career and the aggregates industry, and made possible by the support of the members of the NSSGA’s Manufacturers and Services (M&S) Division.
At the convention, NSSGA announced the new NSSGA’s Jobs Board, http://jobs.nssga.org to allow aggregates operations to highlight jobs available around the country.
DREDGE MANUFACTURERS OUT IN FORCE
Dredge manufacturers were out in force on the exhibit floor, and reported steady visits by aggregate producers. All brought informational displays and sales staff to greet visitors.
In ROHR-IDRECO’S booth is Chris Reynolds.
Chris Reynolds, director of Sales & Field Operations for ROHR-IDRECO Dredge Systems, said that his feedback at the show was “very positive,” and included some serious inquiries on the company’s floating clamshell systems, bucket ladder and jet/cutter suction systems for the aggregate and mining industries, with digging depths up to 300 feet. He praised the Music City Hall as a good venue for trade shows.
Dredging Supply company concentrated on the issues of digging larger rock and greater dredging depths, and replacing jet systems with submerged pumps. Placing plant operations on the water behind the dredge is another innovation, already proven in the field, which drew interest from producers at the show. And the trend continues toward electrifying diesel dredges for efficiency, greater production, lower operating costs and better sustainability.
Larry Fleeman in the Dredge Central booth, which included the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Don King by the Western Dredging Association in 2010, and framed copies of articles about King.
Charles Johnson, director of domestic dredge sales for DSC, stated that all the contacts they made were productive, a result of the show’s focus on aggregates and mining.
The Custom Dredge Works display included photos and videos of its semi-portable cutter suction dredges in operation, with the owners John and C.J. Jones on hand, along with Jessica Smith, inside sales manager, and Cash McCoy, overall sales manager. Smith told IDR that the company planned to exhibit at the Inland Marine Expo (IMX) in St. Louis in May, and the World Dredging Conference (WODCON) in Miami in June.
Twinkle Co. displayed photos of its dredge models designed for the aggregate industry, along with auxiliary equipment such as its proprietary Convac pressure release system, hosted by Bryce Leggins, Twinkle Co. sales.
Dredge Central, headquartered in the Nashville area, had a full contingent in their booth to describe its dredge refurbishment
The expo included 196 exhibits covering more than 150,000 square feet. Photo by Michael W. Bunch. Courtesy of NSSGA
capabilities. On display was the Lifetime Achievement Award plaque received by Don King in 2010 from the Western Dredging Association. King is retiring after a more than 60-year dredging career. (See related article in this is-sue on page 21.)
Pioneer Dredge and Supreme Manufacturing also exhibited at the show. A total of seven dredge manufacturers participated in the show.
AGG1 ACADEMY – 53 SESSIONS
The AGG1 Academy, the educational portion of the conference, included 53 sessions presented by experts in their fields, including business owners, manufacturers and plant operators. The sessions were divided into four tracks:
Operations & Production covered plant operations, production and equipment maintenance;
Automation, Technology & Software covered automation basics, new ideas and technologies being applied to aggregate production, and emerging technologies that are changing the way producers do business;
Environment, Safety & Health covered best practices and techniques for the aggregates industry to be efficient, safe, healthy and environmentally responsible;
Business Management focused on running an aggregates operation, understanding business and financial principles, dealing with the surrounding community, and ways to market and sell the product.
PARTNERING WITH THE INSTITUTE OF QUARRYING
The NSSGA has partnered with the U.K.-based Institute of Quarrying (IQ), an international professional body for quarrying, construction materials and the related extraction and processing industries. Its objective is to promote performance through education and training. The NSSGA is the latest in IQ’s network of partnerships spanning 50 countries.
IQ officials Phil James (CEO), Julian Smallshaw (head of educational development), and Colin Jenkins (past president) gave a training session last year at AGG1 2015 in Baltimore, after which the two groups created the partner-ship agreement, and NSSGA members began enrolling in the two IQ online programs offered.
The three attended AGG1 again this year, and presented three sessions as part of the AGG1 academy, as well as two days of class-room training to participants in IQ’s online courses.
There are now 38 participants among NSSGA aggregate producers and M&S Division member companies in two ongoing learning programs presented by IQ.
The first is the Junior Management Pro-gram, a three-year online course geared toward employees of aggregates operations who work in junior management roles. The curriculum includes engineering, math, operational topics, technology, management, processing and blasting. Twenty-three NSSGA members are enrolled in this course.
The Graduate and Management Conversion Program is a one-year online distance learning course geared toward managers with a related degree and to manufacturers and suppliers who require increased industry knowledge in aggregates management, processing, extraction, transportation and blasting. Twenty NSSGA members are enrolled.
Johnson at DSC is enrolled in the Graduate and Management Conversion Program, with the purpose of broadening his knowledge of the industry.
“A lot of our business is in aggregates, and this is something available to me, to let people know I’m willing to invest the time in the industry,” he said.
NSSGA’s Patrick Dunne said “We are glad to partner with the Institute on this effort, and due to the positive response, NSSGA plans to expand the educational offerings in 2016.”Edit Module