How CONEXPO-CON/AGG Helps Illustrate Where the Construction Industry is Going – An Interview with Volvo’s Stephen Roy
As CONEXPO-CON/AGG continues to draw near, Stephen Roy, President, Region North America, at AEM member company Volvo Construction Equipment, discussed his thoughts on the show and the direction of the construction equipment industry.
Roy discussed what attendees and fellow exhibitors can expect from Volvo at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, what he looks forward to most about the upcoming edition of the show, and why it’s so important for equipment manufacturers to make their presence known to construction industry professionals in attendance this coming spring in Las Vegas.
We’re just a few short months away from CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and it’s been almost three years since the construction industry came together in Las Vegas for the show. With that in mind, what are you personally looking forward to most about the 2023 edition?
Roy: For me, it’s really being able to highlight where Volvo is and where we’re at in our journey during a time that has been transformative in our industry. CONEXPO-CON/AGG offers us a chance to showcase what we have, gather feedback from our customers and engage our industry partners.
To really make a show like CONEXPO-CON/AGG work, the face-to-face aspect of it is so important. I think that’s why Las Vegas is the perfect venue for it. It attracts so many people, and with all the changes we’re seeing in our industry, I think it’ll be the perfect environment for people to find the latest and greatest innovations, as well as learn what will help their business succeed.
What does it mean for Volvo to be a part of the largest trade show in North America? And along those same lines, what should people expect to see from Volvo this coming year?
Roy: At Volvo we consider ourselves a change agent in this industry. Our theme is actually “Change starts here. Be ready for it.” So, for us at Volvo, we want to be at CONEXPO-CON/AGG to help illustrate where we see the industry going and how we are preparing our customers to be ready for it.
We’re not alone in this, but some of things we will showcase at the show will really highlight how Volvo is driving a focus on sustainable power and automation, and how we can help our customers be more productive, more efficient and more successful in their efforts to serve their own customers. We always say our goal is to make customers successful with their customers, so that’s the approach we’re taking. More specifically, we’ll have a mix of existing product, product that’s coming out soon and some forward-looking product that – like I mentioned before – will illustrate where the industry is going. That means a focus on sustainability, using electric machines and other sustainable power. We’ll showcase small compact electric equipment, all the way to larger equipment that has a mix of electric and diesel.
One thing that’s extremely important for us, and an area of focus for Volvo, centers on solutions for our machines. There’s no doubting the value and importance of the machines themselves. However, to maximize productivity and uptime, it takes the right solutions. So, at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, we’re going to showcase a lot of telematics platforms, a lot of productivity platforms, as well as machine controls – solutions, to increase productivity and uptime.
You’ve mentioned Volvo will have a lot in store for folks that stop by and visit your booth at the show. We’ve seen industry exhibitions and events continue to evolve, change and even grow over time. In what ways has Volvo responded to ensure attendees at shows like CONEXPO-CON/AGG get the most out of their time spent with your organization?
Roy: We’re very focused on making events and exhibitions like CONEXPO-CON/AGG a really valuable experience, so when our attendees are in the booth, they have access to the right information and the right experts who can answer their questions — and we want them to have fun in our booth too.
However, we don’t want to forget all those folks who won’t be able to be with us in Las Vegas this coming March. And, while there’s every reason to expect the show to welcome another record-breaking crowd, we’re also aware there are probably just as many people who are interested in what’s taking place in Las Vegas, but they aren’t able to travel there. So, we’re really focused on offering a valuable virtual experience as well.
We know for sure that we’ll have a lot of folks from the construction industry at the show in Las Vegas. But there are still plenty of people who are considering it and making that decision at this point. If you could provide a piece of advice or a thought for them to consider, what would you say?
Roy: This show is once every three years. The technology shifts since the 2020 show are quite significant. And I think being there face-to-face helps secure a true sense of where the industry is going. Additionally, as an OEM, we want feedback from our customers, too. We want to hear what they struggle with and how can we support them as we continue to develop leading-edge machinery, but also solutions that will support their fleet and their job operations.
Turning that question on its head a little bit, we know it’s important for attendees to be there, but on the exhibitor side of things, what do you think the value proposition is for those who decide to make such an investment in exhibiting at CONEXPO-CON/AGG every three years? Why is it so important for companies to make their presence known at this particular show?
Roy: I think there are a couple of major reasons why. For me, I think it’s a great time to see customers in one place, reconnect with customers and talk about the business at hand, as well as how we can support them. But it’s also for OEMs to reach new customers and new customer segments. The construction equipment industry is quite diverse. We’re seeing customers and applications today that maybe we weren’t talking to in the past — especially with the introduction of zero-emission, low-noise electric machines — so it’s exciting for us to pursue some of these new and valuable opportunities.
It’s a really exciting time to be in the construction industry, as well as the equipment industry serving construction customers. With that in mind, as you look forward to this show and even beyond, what industry trends are you excited about in the future, and what trends do you think are going to be on display or showcased at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023?
Roy: First and foremost, I think our customers are looking to make sure they become more efficient, more sustainable, and how they can support their customers. I think that you’ll see that when it comes to electrification, we’ll have discussions around autonomous and teleoperations machines as labor continues to get tight. And we’ll continue to focus on how to improve safety, productivity and uptime for our machines. Those are things customers today say consistently are important and will be more important in the future.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Roy: One thing we’re very excited about is having our Gold Rush stars with us at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and it’s really exiting that we’ll have an electric-powered rallycross car that’s part of the FIA World Rallycross racing organization, right now in Europe, but making its way across the globe soon.
And then, on behalf of my fellow colleagues at Volvo, I just want to say CONEXPO-CON/AGG is our time as an industry to show where the construction equipment is going and the changes that are coming, as well as an opportunity for equipment manufacturers who support to the show to be recognized for their efforts in driving transformational change within the construction industry.
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CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the largest construction trade show in North America and the premier event that connects professionals from every major construction sector. Held every three years, CONEXPO-CON/AGG takes the construction industry to the next level by helping construction professionals elevate their industry expertise, experience the newest equipment and products through demonstrations and industry-leading education, make new professional connections, and grow their own marketability within the industry. The next CONEXPO-CON/AGG will be held March 14-18, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information on CONEXPO-CON/AGG, visit http://www.conexpoconagg.com.
About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
AEM is the North America-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry in the United States supports 2.8 million jobs and contributes roughly $288 billion to the economy every year.