If you have been following Concrete & Masonry Construction Products, you’ve likely read the notion that regardless of the health of the construction industry, the introduction of new innovation and technology by tool and equipment manufacturers never ceases. Of course, the cutting-edge tools and equipment is designed to help you, the contractor, conduct your business more effi ciently, positively impacting your bottom line.

This year’s World of Concrete (WOC), held Feb. 1–5, 2010 featured dozens of examples of the latest and greatest tools and equipment. Specifi cally, our Most Innovative Products (MIP) contest included nearly 100 of the industry’s best offerings. As of this writing, we are still compiling your “most innovative” votes for the MIP contest, and the winners will be profiled in the next issue of CMCP.

In regard to WOC, one of my responsibilities was to attend exhibitor press conferences. One that stood out to me in particular was the Hilti press conference. The past few years, I have missed their press conference due to a confl ict with another event. This year I was finally able to attend, and I was impressed with their new tools, not to mention the enthusiasm and expectation the company projected at the event. As I listened to Cary Evert, president and CEO of Hilti Western Hemisphere, he commented not only on his company’s new products, but on the marketplace as well. His overall theme: Times are tough, but as a company, Hilti hasn’t slowed on the innovation front. The construction industry will be back, stronger than ever.

This unofficial theme of “the industry coming back stronger than ever” was echoed throughout many of press conferences and manufacturer visits I made during WOC.

Now, I don’t claim to have a crystal ball that can provide a specifi c date as to when the industry will truly recover, but those days are approaching sooner than later. According to the Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill., residential construction is expected to post positive numbers in terms of cement consumption in the latter part of 2010 after years of steady decline. For contractors and equipment manufacturers, this is a beacon of hope as we are ready to make our way out of this perfect storm.

A couple other items to note:

The WOC Regional Conference is scheduled for May 14–15, 2010 in Orlando. WOC’s education program is the focal point of the conference. Attendees can choose from 12 of the most important and popular WOC 3-hour sessions, and earn credit toward master certifi cates. For more information, check out www.worldofconcrete.com.