Well, the N.Y.S. Highway & Public Works Expo is officially in the books and wow, what a great way it was to emerge from the COVID cocoon that was 2020.
In a good way — maybe the only good way — 2020 showed us what we missed and really cared about once those things were either gone or scaled significantly back. What's that old saying? You don't know what you've got until it's gone?
The 2020 installment of the highway expo temporarily vanished, but it came roaring back in October thanks to the vendors and the highway departments and their crews.
Josh Phillips, general manager of the N.Y.S. Highway and Public Works Show, was hired just a month after the 2019 Expo, and he was excited to get started to plan the show in 2020, until …
"To be quite honest, the cancellation of the 2020 Show was a major gut punch," he said. "The momentum from holding the Expo in the new building location was exciting to think about for 2020. And then, it seemed 50/50 that we would be able to hold the show this year."
But in mid-summer, a good reality, for a change, set in.
"I walked into an open building on Monday [Oct. 11] to meet with the decorator and it hit me," Josh said. "At that moment. I took a photo just to prove it was real, and I uploaded it to our Facebook page to prove it. WE WERE HAVING THE SHOW!"
When the exhibitors started to bring in their equipment to the Expo on Tuesday, "they were smiling, laughing, excited and ready to be part of it again," he said.
Josh is quick to point out that putting on the N.Y.S. Highway & Public Works Expo is far from being a one-man or one-woman band. It takes a team of passionate professionals at Superintendent's Profile to put on a show like this, as well as publish a magazine every month. But most of all, he (and all of us) with Profile are thankful for all of you.
"Without them, there is no Expo," he said. "And ‘gratitude' is the best word I can think of to express how we at Profile feel about every vendor, every attendee, every lunch sponsor."
After the struggles we've been though, personally and professionally, over the past year-plus, it was nice to see all of you again.
And if you don't mind, please indulge me as I quote myself here: thank you for exhibiting and attending the Expo. And thank you so much for continuing to read Superintendent's Profile each month and reading my thoughts I spill out in this column.
Hope so much to see you next year. P