Equipment vendors swarm the lot outside the Las Vegas Convention Center Jan. 16 setting up displays while the 800,000 sq ft show floor inside hummed with similar activity. A co-located Technology for Construction conference began a day early and extends through Thursday. (Photo by Tom Sawyer for ENR)

The World of Concrete trade show opened in Las Vegas Jan. 17 and organizers say pre-registrations for both vendors and attendees are up making this likely to be the largest show in the event�s 32 year history.

"Pre-registration for attendance was 17% ahead of last year at one-week-out," says Steven Pomerantz, show marketing manager. The gate was 72,000 visitors at the 2005 event, also in Las Vegas. Vendor registration is also up to 1,800 from 1,600 last year, he added.

The 800,000 sq. ft. show floor is also larger than last year, by 100,000 sq. ft., to accommodate the additional vendors, Pomerantz added.

For the first time this year also, the U. S. Dept. of Commerce has set up shop in the show with the International Trade Administration's service agency, the U.S. Commercial Service, whose mission is to foster export of U.S. products by improving exchanges between business interests at home and abroad. "They're bringing in lot of delegations from different countries," says Pomerantz.

Members of a Ukrainian delegation get an orientation from one of their counselor officials about what to expect at the show in the days ahead, Jan 16. (Photo by Tom Sawyer for ENR)

Gail Snyder, a senior international trade specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service based in Portland, Ore., says the service has hundreds of officers in consulates and embassies around the world, as well as in many locations in the U.S., who work as matchmakers between U.S. and foreign firms.

Many of the foreign offices have helped organize delegations to the show. "We see it as an important venue," Snyder says, who adds that the service works about 25 to 30 major events this way each year, but to be eligible show organizers must apply and be approved for participation. "It's a growing show, and its something people plan on every year. It's a place to go and get a good understanding about a lot of things in a short period of time."

The largest delegation, she says, is bringing 100 people from South Korea.