Set for 10 to 14 March 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, ConExpo – Con/Agg is North America’s largest construction trade show. Represented are asphalt, aggregates, concrete, earthmoving, lifting, mining, utilities and more. Held every three years ConExpo comprises an enormous week boasting plenty to see, including an award-winning Tech Experience area and an array of presentations given by industry leaders.

ConExpo 2020 postcard

ConExpo 2020 runs 10 to 14 March

The majority of ConExpo attendees are contractors, with dealers, distributors and rental companies making up the next-largest group. That said, ConExpo is the only show that connects attendees from every major construction sector, with most areas well-represented during the week.

The show’s sheer size and breadth is impressive – 2,800 exhibitors across 2,500,000 square feet make for a robust lineup of things to do and see. Most major crane manufacturers will be in attendance; ConExpo is world-renowned for the opportunity it presents to get up close and personal with some truly impressive equipment. The lifting tent is also a must-visit: hundreds of exhibitors will be showing every imaginable type of rigging and wire rope gear, in addition to training simulators and more.

And this year’s expo will feature 150 education sessions, with topics ranging from workforce trends to tech innovation.

To that end, SC&RA, along with its partners, are sponsoring 16 educational sessions at ConExpo – to which Association members can register at a discount.

Beth O'Quinn - use

Beth O’Quinn - use

“The crane, rigging, and aerial lift track at ConExpo was put together and is sponsored by SC&RA and the NCCCO Foundation,” said SC&RA senior vice president, Crane & Rigging, Beth O’Quinn. “The track features industry veterans who are experts in their fields. Other tracks within the education portion also feature sessions sponsored by SC&RA.”

One of those sessions, Best Practices for Oversized Cranes and Specialized Carrier Permits, will be led by O’Quinn’s colleague at SC&RA, Steve Todd, vice president, Transportation.

Steven Todd

Steven Todd

“In this session, I’ll be highlighting the permitting and moving of oversize cranes and transportation carriers,” said Todd. “We’ll certainly touch on our FHWA [Federal Highway Administration] interpretation of divisible load from 2018. We’ll also talk about a few states that have already changed their policy to be more crane-industry-friendly, and we’ll warn the industry that there are many other states that haven’t adopted it.”

The better part of his presentation, indicated Todd, will be reviewing technology as it relates to permitting and movement of oversized cranes. The overall value of SC&RA’s track and the event overall, he added, is undeniable.

“Speaking primarily from a carrier standpoint, I believe that any specialized carrier that is marketing itself in any way, shape or form to the construction industry is missing a golden opportunity by not attending ConExpo. As I’ve heard from carrier members in the past – although there is an expense involved, when you compare that to individual flights that it would take to see numerous customers and potential customers – you have them all in one place at ConExpo. There’s immense value to that.”


Available tools

Desiree Matel-Anderson

Desiree Matel-Anderson

While Desiree Matel-Anderson, chief wrangler at Field Innovation Team, is not an SC&RA member, she will be covering some SC&RA material, namely the Association’s Severe Weather Guidelines, during her presentation Crisis Workshop: How to Keep Your Company Prepared.”

She believes that for companies to remain positioned productively moving into a new decade, especially as it relates to being prepared in the event of disasters, leaders should always be thinking about how they can help.

“Be ready to drive, load, move and support response efforts post-disaster, co-ordinating with local emergency management to support citizens,” she emphasised. “If the jurisdiction you are working in is not able to get back up and running, then your skills are needed.”

Innovation is high on Matel-Anderson’s priority list during times of crisis. “How can your skills, equipment and knowledge be repurposed to support disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation?” she noted. “In disaster preparedness, is it possible that cranes could utilise sensors to provide data that could be analysed to alert communities to incoming risks, like weather? During response, can a fleet of co-ordinated forklifts carry medical supplies and pallets of clean drinking water to areas in need? During recovery and mitigation, could bulldozers communicate with one another to route swarms of machines to jobsites and expedite the rebuild?”

Matel-Anderson’s primary goal at ConExpo is to develop with her audience an understanding that “…we all have it within us to support our communities and be an innovator to support problem-solving challenges in disasters. Innovating in disaster – whether response, recovery, mitigation or preparedness – is essential when we lack resources, time and personnel, and lives are on the line.”

Joseph Collins

Joseph Collins

From post-disaster to preventing disaster, especially on the jobsite, Joseph Collins, heavylift division manager at member company Becht Engineering, will be delivering a presentation at ConExpo titled: Managing Ground Bearing Pressures.

“The new cranes are larger and heavier than ever before,” he pointed out, “and we can’t take the crane foundation design for granted. There are many tools available today to determine allowable ground-bearing pressures. The contractor and-or site owner (controlling entity) is responsible for investigating the ground conditions. The contractor is responsible for designing crane foundations using an appropriate safety factor.”

Collins believes there is simply no reason for a crane project to experience ground-bearing failure today. “The most effective method to determine the allowable ground-bearing pressure is by core drilling with an engineered interpretation of the boring logs,” he said. “Alternatively, the geotechnical engineers can perform a density test to confirm the effectiveness of back-fill and where the soil will see lighter loads. There is also a nuclear method. If there is a question about underground voids, utilities or abandoned structures, I advise utilising ground-penetrating radar.”

Ultimately, Collins hopes that attendees to his session leave with a much better understanding of the tools and procedures available to prevent accidents caused by ground failure. “This, hopefully, will result in more informed decisions at the worksite regarding this topic: How much does the soil capacity investigation cost? What is the appropriate safety factor for allowable ground-bearing pressure? And why can’t we simply divide the weight of the load by the area of the matting system?”


Continued evolution

Joost Eertman

Joost Eertman

Joost Eertman, technical director at SC&RA member Ropeblock in the Netherlands, will look at (potential) onsite disasters from above the jobsite when he presents “How to Delay or Prevent Rope Twist and Cabling from Rope-Sheave Interaction.”

His aim is to establish a profound understanding with his audience in connection with the aspects going on in their crane and rope and learn what the options are enabling the best crane uptime by choosing the right gear.

According to Eertman, the top issues construction companies need to be paying attention to in the industry today regarding wire rope condition and-or operational practices derive from the continued evolution of both machines and projects.

“With the higher vertical transport nowadays, i.e. wind power, the risk of rope twist and cabling-related crane downtime looms,” he said. “This risk may well mature in a wider scale once the market starts to decommission older, smaller installations. Taller heights will require first-class rotation-resistant ropes. That investment deserves special care, as twisting it reduces longevity significantly.”


  • · SC&RA looks forward to seeing hundreds of members at ConExpo 2020. Attendees can find SC&RA at booth F-100101. For more information on SC&RA’s presence, contact Beth O’Quinn at


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