At their best, industry conferences can provide a great opportunity to see some old friends, make some new ones, learn a little about the latest trends and developments, and – with any kind of luck – do some business. And when it comes to those criteria, the VTCA Transportation Construction Conference & Trade Show may be one of the best.
EBA recently exhibited at the VTCA Spring Conference, held April 15-17 in Hampton Roads, VA, and – according to our own Kenneth Shirley, who was on-site throughout – all of these opportunities were very much in evidence.
The Conference itself focused exclusively on the challenges facing Virginia’s dynamic transportation program (one of the largest programs of its kind in the country) and the impact the program has on the construction, engineering, and aggregate industries. With an emphasis on the future of transportation and program delivery, the Conference featured numerous presentations on new technologies, updates on agency initiatives and workloads, and sessions on business development led by transportation contractors, aggregate producers, consultant engineers, material suppliers, and government transportation officials.
There was also a trade show where nearly 100 companies displayed the latest tools, technologies, materials, and services.
Kenneth reports that the up-close-and-personal nature of the VTCA Conference created some great opportunities for frank discussion. When transportation agency executives were sharing performance metrics that are impacted by internal staff and outsourced firms, for example, they were transparent about the roles and credit for the successes. On the flip side, industry executives were very forthcoming about sharing with agency decision-makers new ways to do things with greater effectiveness and enhanced life cycle benefits.
The same held true on the new business front. Positioning himself to team “for the next project,” Kenneth notes that he received several leads on future contracts, and had a great conversation with a potential teaming partner who reassessed their position regarding a possible job. He also was able to relay EBA’s specific managerial involvement in a high-profile activity, enabling another partner to better understand how EBA was ensuring the project’s success.
The common thread in all of this activity: relationships. The VTCA Conference is all about renewing old relationships and starting new ones. And those relationships are the reason EBA will be front and center once again when VTCA Spring Conference rolls around in 2016.