Hardscape contractors, dealers and retailers attended the Hardscape North America (HNA) trade show held Oct. 17-19 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY to see new products, learn and network.
HNA welcomed 50 new exhibitors in 2018. The co-location with GIE+EXPO (Green Industry & Equipment Expo) added up to 1,000 exhibits – indoors and out – and provided HNA exhibitors exposure to over 12,000 landscape and hardscape professionals. The total participation in HNA and GIE+EXPO was 24,796 – a 3% increase over 2017. New this year, the entire industry had access to indoor exhibits all three days with the Dealer Preview at 12 p.m. on Wednesday and contractors invited to visit exhibits beginning at 3 p.m.
“In speaking to many of the new exhibitors at HNA I was happy to learn that they were pleased with the new three-day format allowing contractors to attend on Wednesday, and their plans to return to HNA 2019,” said Charles McGrath, Executive Director of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute. “HNA is now recognized as the national showplace for the Hardscape Industry as well as the place to learn best practices for dealers and contractors.”
With education opportunities spanning Tuesday, Oct. 16 – Friday, Oct. 19, attendees were ready to learn. The Pre-Show Installer Course registrations saw a 14% increase over 2017 for the sessions held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown.
The Dealer Program, which focused on taking control of your inventory, spanned two days this year. It began on Tuesday afternoon with an interactive session and roundtable discussion led by Matt Mallas and Derek Whisenand, then segued into the Dealer Networking Reception. The program continued on Wednesday with two sessions by Bob Clements and the keynote by Dr. Robert Ballard.
Dr. Ballard packed the room for two HNA Keynote Addresses – one for exhibitors/dealers and a second session for contractors.
Hardscape contractors, as well as landscape contractors, were able to choose from seven conference sessions and six live hardscape demonstrations that were approved for ICPI Installer Continuing Education Hours. The demos featured a new format and presenter. Frank Bourque, an award-winning hardscape professional, speaker, writer, consultant and entrepreneur, led the sessions on how to install hardscapes around pools and water features for long-lasting results.
A new VIP Pass gave attendees access to all conference sessions and demos for a 50% discount. More than 275 HNA registrants purchased the VIP Pass, and a total of 1,025 had access to the live demos with either the VIP Pass or the demo upgrade. GIE+EXPO attendees with upgraded registration were also able to attend the live HNA demonstrations.
The HNA Installer Championship attracted much attention in the 20-acre Outdoor Demonstration Area. Five Regional Installer Championships took place in cities throughout the United States, with the winners advancing to the final competition. The 2017 winner was also sponsored to return and defend their title. In all, 19 teams competed on Thursday during HNA, and the four highest scoring teams moved on to Friday’s final Championship round. Ultimately, Segmental Systems from Otis Orchards, Washington, emerged as this year’s Champion.
The HNA 2018 Champions received a prize package valued at approximately $12,650. The package includes an iQMS362 16.5″ Masonry Saw w/16.5″ diamond blade, a Weber MT CF3 forward plate compactor, their name engraved on the HNA Installer Championship Cup, a plaque, a return trip to HNA 2019 to defend their title and additional promotional value in various media including Interlock Design Magazine, Hardscape Magazine and HNA website.
The HNA awards, which were presented on Oct. 18, drew a record number of entries (155). Winners were recognized in 18 categories, while 18 honorable mentions were also named in 17 categories. New this year, categories were added for natural stone, outdoor living features and vintage projects installed before 2008. The winning entries are available to view at http://bit.ly/2018HNAawards(link is external).
The 2018 Platinum Sponsors for HNA were Belgard, Natural Paving USA, Keystone Hardscapes and World of Stones. The Gold Sponsors were Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply, Nicolock and Techniseal, Inc., and the Silver Sponsor was Pathfinder Systems. HNA is produced by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and is endorsed by the Brick Industry Association and the National Concrete Masonry Association.