McLanahan Reflects on Industry Changes At CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023
Michael McLanahan, Chairman of the McLanahan Board of Directors and fifth generation of the company’s family leadership, attended his first Las Vegas CONEXPO-CON/AGG in 1968, back when the two shows were held as separate events in different cities across America. Fifty-five years and numerous shows later at the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG event, McLanahan reflected on how he’s seen the show grow and change over time.
“The transition of the CONEXPO show has been extremely interesting,” shared McLanahan. “Back in 1968 when I came here for the very first time, it was much smaller. I think they were expecting 25,000 to 40,000 visitors, which was pretty good for the show.
“There was just one hall and some outside exhibits as well because the floor capacity wasn’t strong enough to sustain the weight of the big excavators and the like,” McLanahan said.
In 2023, North America’s largest construction trade show saw a record 139,000 visitors attend the triennial CONEXPO-CON/AGG. Approximately 2,000 exhibitors displayed their latest industry innovations in over 3 million square feet of trade show space. “The show is far more sophisticated these days than it was back then, and the halls are huge,” McLanahan said. “I see machines that are on display now that are much bigger, more sophisticated, and they didn’t exist just a few years ago. It’s been an evolution that has benefitted the aggregate industry.”
McLanahan’s booth has also changed and grown with the evolution of the show, from small spaces filled with signage and machine models to tiered structures with private meeting spaces and full-scale equipment displays. This year, McLanahan had its largest presence at CONEXPO-CON/AGG to date, exhibiting alongside its Family of Companies brands, including Anaconda, Eagle Iron Works and RubbleCrusher, which displayed its line of compact, mobile crushing equipment outside in the Silver Lot.
“I like the improvement. I like where we have come,” shared McLanahan. But it’s not just the size of the show and the contents of the booths that have changed over the years; the construction aggregates industry itself has changed as well. With increased emphasis on energy savings and environmental sustainability, product lines are also expanding and evolving to help producers comply with new regulations and standards.
McLanahan too has expanded and evolved its product line over the decades to meet the demands of the industry, designing machines based on customer feedback and knowledge in the field to deliver the best possible outcomes for their customers.
“I’ve been in this industry now for 67 years, and I have a great deal of pride in the fact that we have grown with the industry,” McLanahan said. “My company is 188 years old this year. It’s a tribute to my ancestors that we honor our past, we live in the present day, and we look forward to the future and plan for the future.”