Cranes at the CityCenter project dot the Las Vegas skyline.
Cranes at the CityCenter project dot the Las Vegas skyline.

As a good journalist, I'm always on the hunt for a great story. So when I was in Las Vegas in January for World of Concrete, I opted to ride the monorail from my hotel to the convention center. The elevated ride provided me with a great view of the famous Las Vegas Strip outlined in the early morning.

My favorite view was as the tram rounded the curve on the perimeter of the Wynn Hotel. Looking west, you can see dozens of cranes rising up, as if they were helping to lift the city to even newer heights. I wasn't the only one who enjoyed the view. One morning on the way to the show, a contractor told me he wished he owned the crane business in town, as there was so much work going on.

I kind of flustered him saying that I was glad I didn't own the crane business. My point was that most of the cranes are close to topping out on the structures. Then, who'll be in the market for a used crane? After a number of years of nonstop construction activity, it looks to me as if Sin City is about to take a pause.

More than once I heard from the city's definitive source of accurate information—the cabbies—that plans to build this new mega-structure or that new casino have been put on hold. Supporting this observation, I didn't see too many bulldozers or excavators digging any large foundations.

As we prepared this issue of the magazine, I was surprised to discover how many large commercial construction projects were underway elsewhere (see "Towering Achievement". These megaprojects practically span from coast to coast. From New York to Las Vegas, many of you are involved in a once-in-a-lifetime project that you will look on fondly for years to come.

It's fitting that we discuss these types of projects and how a producer handles the pressures in an issue that features the CON-EXPO-CON/AGG show. Later this month, manufacturers from across the world will unveil hundreds, if not thousands, of new products geared to the construction industry. The five-day event provides a unique insight into state-of-the art construction techniques. I'm sure there will be ideas and products that you can incorporate into the world of concrete production. Adopting new technology may prove to be the best way to deal with megaprojects.

We have also opted to report on another kind of megaproject: the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recast your operation. Sometimes, we become so focused on how well we upgrade our operations, we fail to step back to review what our investment means to the community.

So it's refreshing to learn of the effort the managers at Hanson Pipe in Houston took to introduce its new project last year. They realized that capital investment is more than an equipment line item. They looked at plant expansion as an opportunity to demonstrate how their investment in a dream also benefited their neighbors and the community.

It's a community-minded approach to capital investment that our entire industry needs to adopt. Properly done, the effort ensures that your once-in-a-lifetime project receives the proper community recognition it deserves. After all, why should the construction companies be the only folks to enjoy the tradition of a topping out celebration?

Finally, please send us news releases about your plant upgrades so we can share them with the industry.

Rick Yelton
Editor In Chief