Podcast – Russ Turner of the National Pavement Expo – NPE

Russ Turner of NPE

National Pavement Expo, NPE 2020

Host Matt Starnes asks Russ Turner, Associate Show Director for the National Pavement Expo all the questions you have about NPE 2020!

Learn about:

  • What an associate show director for a major trade show does
  • What is NPE, when is it, and where is it held this year?
  • Highlights this year including roundtables
  • Special events?
  • Types of exhibitors
  • Education session information
  • Why you need the NPE App!

And more!

Listen to the podcast episode and read the full transcript!

The National Pavement Expo returns to Nashville, TN!

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Read the full transcript of the podcast all about NPE 2020!

Announcer:  Welcome to the Sweepers and Tankers podcast, sponsored by Johnston’s Sweepers, a Bucher company, providing endless sweeping solutions and by Bucher Municipal North America, powered by innovation and specializing in the development and manufacture of world-class recycling sewer cleaners for over 30 years. This podcast covers topics on the street sweeper and sewer cleaning equipment marketing. Now, let’s welcome our host, Matt Starnes.

Matt Starnes: All right. Russ Turner, thanks for joining me. I really appreciate it. How are you doing today?

Russ Turner: I’m good, thanks. How are you?

Matt Starnes: I’m doing good. Excellent. And I appreciate you talking to us. I know we’re a little bit close to showtime. We probably have a week out from the show, so you’ve got ample free time to talk to me.

Russ Turner: I’ve got a ton. It’s perfectly fine, I’m happy to do it. Thank you for having me, Matt. Thank you.

Matt Starnes: Oh yeah, absolutely. And so your role is Associate Show Director for National Pavement Expo, and can you explain what that role involves? I know from talking with you, and it’s fun to do so. And then how long you’ve been with NPE?

Russ Turner: Yeah, certainly. I’m responsible for every aspect of the show. All the moving parts that make it up, from the marketing, operational side, and then the conference side. There’s a great, strong team that I work with directly, is my right and left-hand folks, that bring it together. So I’m real lucky. This will be my fourth time attending, but my third time managing the show. I came on board in early 2017 to make the transition happened between AC Business Media and Emerald Expositions. Prior to that, I’ve been doing trade shows for, at the time, probably about 10 or 11 years.

Matt Starnes: Oh wow. Okay. Long history with these great inner workings. I will say, I’ve been on both sides of them for a number of years as well, and it’s always interesting. I think it’s so much more involved than people really understand what it takes to put one of these shows on, and what even people attending just don’t know. Just to exhibit, what… We’re obviously an exhibitor this year with Johnston and Bucher. But even on that side, there are so many moving parts. And I think that’s good. It’s almost like that perfect song you hear on the radio and you’re like, “Oh wow! They just come up with in the last… That’s a one-hit-wonder.” So it’s all the years in the clubs practicing and…

Russ Turner: You got it.

Matt Starnes: Yeah, yeah. It’s amazing. So for people that might not be familiar with NPE, can you just give the basics on it? When it is, where it is, and where it’s held? It’s one of my favorite locations this year, for sure.

Russ Turner: Absolutely. Absolutely. National Pavement Expo is the largest show that deals with the pavement maintenance and reconstruction industry. We will be in Nashville, Tennessee. Everybody’s really excited about that. I know you are.

Matt Starnes: Yes!

NPE 2020 logo

 

Russ Turner: We’ll be there starting, actually, on Tuesday, January 28th for our half-day leadership boot camp. It’s a half-day session for up-and-coming leaders or current leaders working to sharpen their leadership skills, build the best team, and understanding culture, and time management. And then aside from that, the conference portion of the show will continue to run Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, January 29th through February 1st respectively.

Russ Turner: And running concurrently with the conference is the exhibit hall floor, which will open up Wednesday, January 29th, at 4:30 PM for preview night. Which is always a really good time with food and drink and letting everybody get together for the first time in hopefully not a year. But for some folks, it’s been a year since they’ve seen each other. And then Thursday and Friday, January 30th through 31st, respectively again, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Matt Starnes: Yeah. I tell you, the only downside of exhibiting, from my perspective, is I don’t have time to do a lot of the educational content that you’ve got built-in. Just when I look at the list of it. It’s just so wonderful. I’m just like, “Wow. I wish I could attend this. I wish I could attend that.”

Russ Turner: Well, come on!

Matt Starnes: I know!

Russ Turner: Let’s make it happen!

Matt Starnes: I know, I know. It is really a great opportunity to, like you said, to learn inside the industry. And part of that is the round tables that you have. Can you speak a little bit about those? I think those are particularly interesting.

Russ Turner: They’re very interesting and they’re very important, not only to the show itself but to the industry. So round tables, historically, have been split up either all day Thursday or all day Friday. So we have some folks make some suggestions. And so what we decided to do is duplicate them, all the round tables. Which are free for anybody with a conference or even a hall pass. So they’re going to be on Thursday and Friday from 4:45 to 5:45 PM. And the reason we did that, like I said, because of suggestions, but not just that. If you’re working for a group that you do paving and fuel coating, they would only, historically, be able to go to one session. But this makes it more feasible for attendees to go to both. We’re really looking forward to duplicating those for this year.

Matt Starnes: As far as other highlights this year, other than the round tables education-wise, what are you looking forward to? Or what do you always look forward to?

Russ Turner: Specifically this year, what we did is we have a designated area on the show floor called innovation alley. And what that is, it’s at the end of the 1,400 aisle, it’s a special area for anybody who wanted to showcase any new products or initiatives or services that they’re having if they’re new to the show and the industry, for all them together, collectively in one general specific area, so they’d be easy to find. Now that’s not to say that… There are other new exhibitors spread out throughout the exhibit hall floor. Right? But specifically, these folks are in this designated area. And we look forward to essentially expanding it for years to come. So that’s something new and cool.

Russ Turner: As far as the conference, the educational component is concerned, we’ve got 30-40 sessions. Got some new faces, got some old faces as well. Probably just over 55 sessions that will be running the duration of the show. I think we’ve probably got just over 50 new companies in the show, which is a great number. And then probably over 200 exhibitors all together. So we’re really looking forward to it.

Matt Starnes: Very cool. As far as special events go, we talked about the round tables a little bit. What other special events are you picking up there for the folks?

Russ Turner: The main one that we’re having, officially related to the show, is preview night. We’ve ramped up the DJ for this year at preview night. And have some great food and drinks, so it’ll be happening. So come hungry, come thirsty, and come there on Wednesday night at 4:30.

Russ Turner: And then our magazine partners, Pavement Maintenance and Reconstruction, they will be hosting the pavement awards at 6:00 PM on the exhibit hall floor. 30 contractors are going to win some awards, and is in the middle of the 1,500 aisle, is where that’ll be. So that’s definitely something to stop in and check out your peers. Maybe even get registered or put in a job for next year to be considered as a Pavement Award winner.

Matt Starnes: I remember getting drawn from our booth over there, and I mean it was a really impressive amount of people that showed up. And it was exciting to watch for sure. So I know.

Russ Turner: It’s great. Like I said, it’s put on by our magazine partners, it’s a real good activation, and folks are curious what the buzz is going on. But definitely check that out at 6:00 PM on Wednesday during preview night.

Matt Starnes: The other thing I noticed on your website, nationalpavementexpo.com. Free plug. Looks like you have some equipment giveaways Friday, it looks like it starts around noon, and I wasn’t aware of those. Is that new this year? Is that something I just missed from the previous year?

Russ Turner: It is not, forgive me. So that’s been going on for the last several years. The equipment giveaways.

Matt Starnes: Okay!

Russ Turner: Yeah. And that’s a real cool thing. Whenever you get to the show, make sure you stop by. Got three groups that are going to be doing giveaways. RynoWorx is having a giveaway on Friday, January 31st, at 12. Neyra having a giveaway Friday at 1:00. Pure Asphalt is also on Friday at 2:00 PM. So keep an eye out for those details, grab a show bag, tickets included in it. Make sure you stop by each of those companies: RynoWorx, Neyra, and Pure Asphalt. And enter to win some cool new stuff for you and your crew.

Matt Starnes: I mean, these are not door prizes, for sure. One of them is a 10-gallon melter, and one of them is very impressive as well is that whole pallet of hot pour crack fill. I mean, these are some substantial prizes, for sure.

Russ Turner: No kidding. It’s great. These folks have been kind enough to donate some equipment products to help out a contractor. So make sure you stop by their booth, like I said, and enter to win. Okay?

Matt Starnes: Absolutely. Turn our attention to the exhibitor hall. Obviously, we’ll be there in the street sweeper category. I think you guys are sold out or packed out, for sure, the way it looks. What are some of the other industries and types of exhibitors represented this year? I think it’s probably the biggest one you’ve had in a while.

Russ Turner: It is. Yeah, we’re thrilled about the exhibit hall floor. The way it looks flows really well, and it’s packed. Anything related to the pavement maintenance and reconstruction industry, whether it’s heavy equipment, actual pavers, anything related to seal coating, you’ll see sweepers there, [inaudible] equipment, striping machines, marketing software, billing software. The list goes on and on. This is the meeting place for our industry. Whatever you need for your company to run more effectively and efficiently, you can find it here, for sure. Any sort of solutions across the board, it’s here. And not just related to the equipment, coming to see what’s new and latest and greatest stuff, but just the networking that I’ve heard about the last couple of years, bringing the industry together. Folks see each other, connect, catch up, make new connections. It’s really great.

Matt Starnes: Absolutely. Yeah. Based off of last year, and we really like Nashville, and we’re excited that the show’s return to Nashville, but we definitely have expanded our presence in our booth at the show. And we’re bringing our mechanical street sweeper, the ES351, which definitely ties around with the type of industries that are represented at NPE.

Matt Starnes: But yeah, the networking is just amazing. And you know, I was a little bit new to the sweeper industry. And I was just pleasantly surprised that, I’ll call them my friendly competition, the different competitors we’ve got out there, were, for the most part, almost everybody is very welcoming. Met at a couple of events, like sweepers night out, as well. Just everybody was really nice. It was much more of a family-type setting, a good comradery around there, where it was just really welcoming. And I was pleasantly surprised. You know, sometimes you go to shows and your competitor might be a little standoffish. You’ve cultivated a really good feel for the show, which is… Hats off to you guys. I’m sure that takes a while to build.

Russ Turner: We were lucky. When we took over the show, the previous group, they were with it. It’s a really great show. This industry is special to me, just because everybody helped, with us being new to the show and managing it. I just got overwhelming support from exhibitors/manufacturers and contractors that want to help. They just want to help out the industry. And I’d get advice daily, and we’d take it, and then we just try to progress not only the show but do what we can for the industry. And that’s really what it’s about.

Matt Starnes: Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m thinking about technology. There are always really cool, different emerging technologies represented at the show. But I’m a little bit of a mobile app addict, and I know you guys have an app. Can you just go to the highlights over that real quick? Because I definitely used it last year, and I already have mine set up for this year.

Russ Turner: Good. I’m glad to hear that. Please download the app. So what you’ll do is go to the App Store on Android or Apple, and you will search Emerald Expositions. Download that. And then, once you have the app, open it, type in National Pavement Expo. The app will load up, populate to your phone, and then you can see all sorts of things. It’s a real cool app. We love it. Anything from the exhibit hall floor, the actual map, information on the events, everything related to the conference portion, speakers, session, times, anything like that. We have something cool, which is a product gallery show specials for anybody who’s participating in that, just to take a look at that. Play around with it, I encourage you to. And start mapping out your trip now by using the app. It’s really great.

Matt Starnes: Yeah, super helpful. And I left the app on my phone from last year, so this really had to basically just re-skin it, which was super easy. But I’ll tell you, a lot of times, what I like to do is go back to apps after NPE and just look at some things I might’ve messed. Especially being an exhibitor, you just can’t get it all in. I’m always just astounded at how much is going on. Like you said, it’s such a great opportunity to meet other people in the profession and get some new ideas and those types of things. So great job with that. That truly is a good resource. Even if you’re not a digital first-person, I just think it’s so easy to use, and everybody’s got a phone, and it’s right there in front of you.

Russ Turner: You got it.

Matt Starnes: What is your favorite thing about the show? [inaudible] choosing a favorite child, but…

Russ Turner: So I get asked this a couple of times this year, since I’ve been doing it, and it’s remained the same. Just that we are bringing the industry together. That’s so cool. We’re bringing everybody there, manufacturers, exhibitors, contractors, to make connections, network, not only on a personal level but on a business level, as well. Just to help out the industry. I love it. It’s the cool thing about trade shows. You can see a lot of cool things online, but really being there, and feeling, touching, seeing, shaking hand, having dinner, and meeting up with people, it’s the connections that are made. Which is incredible. That’s the beauty of trade shows.

Matt Starnes: Yeah. When you go to a trade show, too, you can be like, “Hey, this is somebody I want to do business with.” Like you said, “I had dinner with them, or I had this great interaction with them, and they took the time to show me all the features I had questions on a particular piece of equipment.” And you get that preview of, “Okay, what does this company like to do business with?” Because, like you said, it always comes down to the people. And that’s just an amazing experience you don’t get from a website.

Russ Turner: Exactly.

Matt Starnes: I know you probably moved the show at different times, but I’ve got to say, Nashville last year was great. And looking forward to this year. So I think it’s definitely an added character, if you will, to the lineup.

Russ Turner: Well, thank you. And on that note, looking forward to 2021… And it sounds weird to say. But we’re going to be in Nashville again-

Matt Starnes: Ah! Fantastic!

Russ Turner:  Which is great. Yeah, I know you’re happy to hear that. We’re doing Nashville… What are the dates? January 20th through the 22nd is the exhibit hall date, respectively. The conference portion will be January 19th through 23rd, is when that’ll be. I’ve got a lot of dates going on in my head now.

Matt Starnes: Oh, absolutely. Well, definitely looking forward already then to 2021. I think we’ve talked a little bit offline and stuff, but Bucher is getting into introducing the winter maintenance equipment to North America. So hopefully in 2021, we’ll have a piece of winter equipment. Because I know a lot of, like you were talking about, the sweeper folks, when it gets snowy, they turn to a different source of income. So that’s…

Russ Turner: Exactly. And I’m excited to see what you guys have. And on that note, Matt, that’s been a category we’ve been diligently trying to cultivate and grow over the last couple of years is snow removal. Because, to your point, a lot of guys, when it’s too cold to do other stuff, they got to do it.

Matt Starnes: I think it was cool before this too, but I’d love to get you back after the dust settles, and you gain your strength back after Nashville. Catching up, and seeing your perspective on the show, and having you back on.

Russ Turner: Absolutely. I’d love that.

Matt Starnes: All right. Russ, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Russ Turner: You got it. Thanks, Matt.

Announcer:  Thank you for listening to the Sweepers and Tankers Podcast. Please rate, review and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music or whatever awesome podcast service you subscribe to.

Find out more about the National Pavement Expo:

Read our article all about the show here!

The official NPE 2020 website: https://www.nationalpavementexpo.com/