The Precast Show 2014 returned to Houston, Texas, Feb. 13-15, for three days of exhibits, education, meetings and special events. Nearly 3,000 precast industry manufacturers and suppliers experienced a trade show floor that buzzed with optimism that the steep recession in construction was over and better times were ahead. When The Precast Show had its debut in Houston in 2009, most of North America was mired in an economic downturn in which many construction-related businesses lost up to 40% of their revenues. Five years later the recovery appears to be solidly underway, though some regions of the country are slower to rebound than others.

"We heard from many exhibitors that there were more precasters ready to buy equipment than in the last several years," said Ty Gable, president of the National Precast Concrete Association (precast.org), which co-sponsors that show with the American Concrete Pipe Association (concrete-pipe.org).

"The construction economy has been weak for the last several years, and many manufacturers were just trying to stay afloat. They have been delaying making any large equipment purchases," Gable said. "This year there was a general feeling of optimism on the trade show floor that the very slow recovery of the last couple years is going to gain a little momentum in the next year or two." The trade show featured 222 exhibitors in 49,200 square feet of exhibit space on a trade show floor that spanned about 100,000 square feet.

"We are the largest precast-specific trade show in North America," Gable added. "For the most part, our attendees are not browsers – they are buyers or decision influencers – and so we’re delivering quality leads to our exhibitors. We often hear from exhibitors that they get good solid leads from The Precast Show that will keep them busy for weeks after the trade show."

In addition to the trade show, both NPCA and ACPA held extensive training, committee meetings and special events during the week. NPCA also partnered with the Precast Prestressed Concrete Institute on a course for local architects. PCI held its Winter Conference in conjunction with The Precast Show and will join The Precast Show as a partner starting in 2016 in Denver. The Precast Show 2015 will be held at the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., March 5-7, 2015.