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Find time to stop by the World of Concrete Bookstore for souvenirs and educational materials.

It's almost time to start packing. World of Concrete 2012 is right around the corner.

Each show has a flavor all its own and each teaches us lessons about how to enjoy the next one even more. I was taught a tough lesson at my first World of Concrete.

There was no shortage of advice from my colleagues, and I was confident that I had thought of everything: the best time to arrive and leave when booking my flight, the perfect amount of clothes to pack, and the right hotel to book. I compiled a list of exhibitors I wished to visit. I also made a point of attending my first seminar: Concrete Mix Design, Part I: Evaluation of Mixtures, taught by Ken Hover. Eight years after my first World of Concrete, you can attend the same class, still taught by Hover. I highly recommend it.

So I had it all figured out. But I did not consider one small detail, which brings me to my piece of advice: Do not wear new shoes to the show. I did and I paid for it the hard way. Staying busy for those four days kept my mind off the discomfort (pain, honestly) most of the time. But when there was down time and my mind wandered, I cursed myself for not considering the correct shoe-breaking-in period ahead of time. I'm still not sure what it is, but I'd guess two or three weeks.

That is just one piece of advice for WOC 2012. My other recommendation is to spend some time at the special editorial events outside and inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. These include the Pervious Concrete Live demonstration, Hoover Dam Bypass Tour, the Concrete Industry Management Auction, and the Women in Concrete Lunchean & Forum.

If you want to get your hands dirty and really become a participant, you can drive a ready-mix truck at the Western Star Serious Trucks Challenge. The John Deere Operator Challenge will have loaders, skid steers, and backhoes you can opreate. Winners in both of these events will win some great prizes.

Of course there are many exhibitors in the Producer Center, seminars to attend, and much more. Take advantage of all of the opportunities to learn more about our dynamic industry. And most of all, have fun!