It’s that time of year when we give thanks for everything we have, reflect on where we’ve been, and hope for a better year ahead. For me, the end of the year, combined with the holiday season, and preparing for the World of Concrete, is stressful to say the least, but well worth the angst once I realize all there is to look forward to in the coming year.

A lot has happened over the past 12 months. Columnist Pierre Villere says we’re finally on our way to a recovery (his full report will be in our November-December issue). Last month, we shared our Annual Survey with you, which echoed Villere’s statement. Producers across the country report that construction has increased, and with it, a greater need for concrete. Precast producers are buying more equipment, raising prices, and hiring more employees.

There is cause for much celebration, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the elephant in the room. It’s not a secret that our industry is facing a labor shortage. With an increase in production demand, a labor shortage seems like quite a big elephant. Coupled with a threat from the wood industry, it might leave some producers feeling the end-of-year stresses multiply. But I’m here to tell you, ease your angst.

Though these are big issues, they’re not issues that can’t be addressed. Considering the last 15 years, the issues we face today pale in comparison. So where’s the silver lining you ask?

World of Concrete is where you can learn from peers and experts alike on the major issues affecting our industry. You can share ideas and come up with solutions. You can test new and innovative equipment that will give you an edge. You can be a part of the “world of concrete” and everything that makes it great.

We’ll be there, along with the editors of our sister publication, Concrete Construction, offering live demonstrations and educational luncheons and forums, which include two daily sessions of Breakfast with the Experts. See our WOC preview on page 10 for information on all of the producer-related events and educational opportunities.

More than a trade show

WOC is more than just an annual trade show where manufacturers showcase their newest products. It’s where our industry meets to discuss what’s happening and what we need to do to prepare for the year ahead. These discussions shouldn’t be had in a closed-door boardroom.

Throughout the year, TCP has brought the issues to your attention either in our print publications, in our digital sphere, or both. At WOC, we’ll continue to stay at the forefront with a steady stream of interviews with prominent members of the ready-mix concrete production and concrete construction communities. If you’d like to join the conversation, register today. If you can’t make it to the show, we’ll still bring you all the good news, breaking developments, and trending solutions.

As for the end-of-year angst, focus on what you’re most thankful for. For me, it’s seeing the smiles on my nieces’ faces when I bring them a bag of M&Ms after returning from a work trip. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make us the happiest.