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The 2011 Precast Show promises technology, training, and experts to help precast producers succeed in a post-recession marketplace. The event takes place Jan. 27-29 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. It is co-sponsored by the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) and the American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA).

The show will feature comprehensive, precast-specific education and technical training, along with a trade show floor filled with experts displaying equipment, supplies, and services needed to run a competitive precast concrete operation. Products on exhibit will range from heavy equipment such as cranes, forklifts, mixers, batch plants, and forms; accessories such as admixtures, sealants, and lifting devices; and technology that includes bar coding systems and plant management software.

Attendees can also take advantage of educational courses with the latest information in technical training, quality, management and leadership, finance, safety, and sustainability. Cargotec and Palfinger will sponsor the Articulating Crane Operator Certification program to prepare operators for national certification. It includes a classroom session, written exam, and practical exam. The program will help producers satisfy OSHA's crane operator training and certification requirements that took effect in November 2010.

For a change of pace, precasters are invited to attend plant tours hosted by local precasters, Dellinger Precast Inc., Oldcastle Precast Inc., and Rinker Materials-Concrete Pipe Division CEMEX.

Special recognition

The Precast Show program also includes awards events that spotlight high-quality producers, safety-conscious plant operators, innovators and inventors, and the design community. On Wednesday, Jan. 26, the Certified Plant Recognition Breakfast will honor the top 25 scoring plants in NPCA's certification program and celebrate milestone anniversaries of continuously certified plants.

The Pinnacle Awards Competition takes place Saturday, Jan. 29, with pre-casters presenting innovative ideas, inventions, and problem-solving techniques in a competition judged by their peers. Also on Saturday, the Creative Use of Precast Awards competition recognizes projects that promote the innovative and cost-saving advantages of precast and prestressed concrete over other materials.

Winners of both contests will be honored at the Salute to Excellence dinner on Saturday evening. This year's grand finale event will be held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum, where attendees can explore the new, state-of-the-art facility that celebrates the history of stock car racing.

Precast Show exhibits will be open from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday; Jan. 27, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28; and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29. Visit www.theprecastshow.org for information.