If you wanted to start a trade show and make it thrive, you couldn’t choose a better partner than Big Bob Weatherton. “In the early 1970s, Bill Avery (founder and editor of Concrete Construction magazine) told me he wanted to start a trade show but couldn’t see how it would be successful. He finally went ahead, but it never would have succeeded without the big equipment and pump guys as exhibitors,” he says. A a founder of the American Concrete Pumping Association (which is celebrating its 40th year this year along with WOC), Weatherton brought the pumpers. Today, WOC is the largest annual trade show in the world—due in no small part to the efforts of Big Bob.
The history of concrete pumps in the U.S. is inextricably linked to Weatherton. He invented the articulating boom truck for concrete pumps, which allowed boom trucks with long reaches to travel easily to jobsites. He moved the pumps from 3-inch lines to 4-inch lines and worked with the ready-mix companies to develop more pumpable mixes.
“It is not about pumping. It’s about the art of putting concrete in place with quality and having the best possible price,” he says. “Pumping is just an extension of the ready-mix truck. We all have the obligation to make sure we can get concrete in place at a competitive price. Certainly, pumping brought that about, but we should always keep our eye on the ball.
“From the start, I told pumpers and contractors not to say bad things about the ready-mix business,” he cautions. “I encouraged everyone to work together. We are so fortunate to be involved in this marvelous concrete industry. We need to take care of it.”
In recognition of the 40th WOC and the big part he played in its success, Weatherton is one of this year’s Most Influential People.