Las Vegas, NV

March 3-7, 2026

Open Menu
Close Menu

Ep. 138: Live at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 with Dana Wuesthoff



CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 Podcast_Taylor White and Dana Wuesthoff

Host Taylor White welcomes a very special guest to the podcast today, and he does so in an equally special location. Dana Wuesthoff, the Show Director for CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the largest construction trade show in North America joins Taylor at the Expo itself to discuss the planning and logistics involved in creating such a huge and hugely successful event. As the show director, Dana oversees a team of people and service vendors that work tirelessly behind the scenes to bring the event to life, and today she highlights the immense coordination and teamwork necessary for such an event to happen, and the importance of having this dedicated team to work with and rely upon. She and Taylor go on to discuss the many benefits of attending events like CONEXPO-CON/AGG, including the opportunity for attendees to connect with others, share ideas, and solve problems together. Additionally, they describe the new community zone that was introduced this year to provide a space for attendees to recharge and connect with one another.

Delving into the details of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show in Las Vegas, our duo reveals that it is one of the largest construction shows in the world, covering over 6 million gross square feet with over 2.8 million net square feet dedicated to exhibit booths alone. They note that the show is organized by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, along with two other industry associations, and offers over 175 educational sessions put together by the organizers and industry associations. The many interesting panels and discussions taking place at the event, as well as the variety of educational opportunities available within the exhibitor booths are also reviewed. In essence, today’s exceptional episode highlights the vital role that events like CONEXPO-CON/AGG play in not only bringing people together, but also advancing the industry, and providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities - truly an episode and event that you can’t afford to miss.


  • Dana Wuesthoff and her role in producing the Expo
  • The planning process for the show
  • The immense coordination and logistics involved
  • The dedicated team of vendors and service partners
  • What Dana enjoys most about the show
  • Some challenges in running outdoor events
  • Setting up the largest exhibits
  • The takedown process
  • The new community zone
  • The show’s organizers
  • The educational opportunities available

Watch now:


Listen now: 


Listen on your favorite app: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | iHeartRadio | Spotify | Stitcher 

Join more than 40,000 industry peers who receive construction industry news and trends each week. Subscribe to CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365.

Episode transcript: 

Taylor White: So thank you, everybody, for coming out to the live podcast of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG. And I also want to let everybody know that this is the largest CONEXPO ever. And today we were graced with a beautiful sunny day. It knew that I was coming and doing a live podcast. So the weather shined on us today. And I want to thank our sponsor Kamatsu. Obviously, they have a beautiful booth display out here today, CONEXPO-CON/AGG. So thank you for that. 

But today with me I have the honorable Dana Wuesthoff, who is the show director for CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the show. And whenever I had the opportunity, they're like, "Hey, we want to do a live podcast." And I'm like, "I want to talk to someone important." Everybody on the team at CONEXPO-CON/AGG is important. I think she would attest to that. But we have someone that has a lot of background knowledge about the show and has a big hand as far as what goes on here and the planning. So Dana, thank you for being here with us today.

Dana Wuesthoff: Thank you for having me.

Taylor White: I appreciate it. To everyone in the audience, Dana can introduce, and what do you do? What's your role here at CONEXPO and kind of give a little background on that?

Dana Wuesthoff: Dana Wuesthoff, I'm the show director for CONEXPO-CON/AGG. I work for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, so we own and produce the show. I've been there for 17 years. I kind of grew up in our services and I'm kind of like a giant project manager. There's a whole team of people, an army of people and service vendors that all work behind the scenes. We plan for three years to bring this event to life.

Taylor White: Yeah, that actually was one of the things that I wanted to ask, because on the way here, so we took the shuttle from north to here, which by the way is amazing. It's great. It works awesome. One of them, my estimator was like, "Hey, do you know how long that they planned this for?" So when this ends, is it, "Boom, we're onto the next one," or are you already onto the next one now?

Dana Wuesthoff: I'm planning 2026 already. I have been for a while. I think some of my team probably hates me a little bit because I'm like, "Yeah, '23 and '26 at the same time." We certainly are planning in advance. You really don't stop with this event. It really does take three years and then some to plan for it.

Taylor White: Yeah, I think that was one of the biggest things. And especially a lot of people on my crew, they're like, "Man, like the sheer size." I mean, everyone always tells you, obviously going up to it, right? Like, "This is a big show. It's North America's largest construction and exposition." And to try to cover everything is pretty intense. But I think that's the true beauty of it. So I think that's why it takes so long to plan a show like this. And to see everything in here are there some kind of fun facts that you could tell people listening, whether it's this is after or live right now as far as what goes on to put this in?

Dana Wuesthoff: Yeah. Most of those poorest services, maybe with the exception of electrical, these are the people moving in like freight and having the labor. And so he gave me some fun facts. That one vendor alone, one vendor, they have over 1,100 workers on our show, we had $40 million in accounts of freight come in for our show, equipment, and freight. That is the equivalent of lifting over 3,000 African Bush elephants, that's what that translates to. We had 3,000 trucks come through either the marshaling yard or to the show. Just a ton of logistics behind the scene. All these wonderful exhibits with the dirt and the aggregates and everything up there, the equipment on there, that was 175 dump trucks coming in, just dropping that stuff in. So really an immense amount of logistics and coordination that go on behind the scenes. And of course, we couldn't do any of this if we didn't have that army of vendor service partners working with us.

Taylor White: Yeah, I think that's one of the best things that you see around here. There's a point where it's like, "Oh, I don't know where to go with this." There's always somebody around you can ask, and yeah, you guys have a really solid team here. One thing that I wanted to know about is a lot of carpet. What happens to the carpet after we're done? This might be a stupid question, but does it get ripped up and thrown out?

Dana Wuesthoff: It really depends. There's some that might, there's some that can be reused. We also have a new program we're doing this year with a new vendor partner where we're doing an exhibitor donation program. So it's things that they aren't using. It could be carpet, it could be other things. Sometimes maybe someone has a TV monitor that they went out and bought for a booth display, but they don't really need it afterwards. So they can donate these things through this vendor, and then they partner up with local charities and organizations that can take those materials so they don't go to waste and they go to organizations that need them.

Taylor White: That's really cool. Yeah. When I was walking there, I saw the machines on the carpet and everything. I was wondering what the heck they do with this stuff? That's really neat. 

CONEXPO. Has it always been in Vegas? What's the history behind CONEXPO like what we see here today?

Dana Wuesthoff: It is a much older show than people realize. It wasn't always in Las Vegas. In fact, the very first CONEXPO that was held was in 1909 in Ohio. It's a very long show. CONEXPO-CON/AGG actually were two separate shows. So the two shows came together in 1996 here in Las Vegas. They've been here ever since. And of course, it continues to grow each time we hold it.

Taylor White: Is there anything, as in the future, that you could kind of let us in on now? Like what's going on? Any big plans or are we going to have to wait and just see?

Dana Wuesthoff: You're going to have to wait and see. I feel like sometimes it's a surprise to even me and the team. I mean, look around Las Vegas. There's always so much development and excitement going on here. The Loop is new this year on the Las Vegas Convention Center campus. There's plans to extend that to different hotels up and down the Strip and stuff. So Vegas is probably going to look different in three years when we're back again.

Taylor White: How does the Loop system work? How can people go and act like, "That's really neat?" We actually were told, like, "Hey, you can go, you could use this and that." How does that system work? Because that's pretty neat.

Dana Wuesthoff: It is very neat. It's something new for us. They opened it, I think that was last year. So if you haven't gone and checked it out yet, I would recommend it. It's fun even just to take a ride and of course, save yourself little steps. But they are underground tunnel systems that there are electric vehicles down there. There's a driver, but it connects the back of South Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center to the Central Hall and then over to the West Hall. That's the one at the Las Vegas Convention Center. That's free for you. You can just hop on and ride it. 

And right now they're expanding that system. They call them Connector Loops. The only one that they have open is to Resorts World, which is right behind us, that big red and black building back there. So you'll see more of those little connector tunnels come on to the various hotels. I believe the long term version is they're going to try to connect that to the airport and stuff as well. So they moved pretty quickly on the development of that Loop system underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center. So I expect to see some more of those before we're all back here together again in 2026.

Taylor White: Yeah, that's really exciting. Another question I had was just about leading up to the event, as far as planning it and your role, what are you kind of specifically looking at? As far as, “Okay, the show is coming up,” like a show director, what does your role entail whenever you say, I am the show director, what are you kind of doing?

Dana Wuesthoff: I think what I said before in terms of being kind of a project manager really sums it up. I mean every single area and department internally with us. If it's our marketing team, that's marketing to the attendees to come. Our digital team, of course, that works with you all on our social media and just getting everyone excited and keeping our audience engaged in the two years, basically that we're not holding the show, but we want to keep the conversations going about the industry and what everyone's talking about. So I really kind of just liaison with each of them. I work with them on where we're going, if we're on track to get there. 

My other half of my job is I oversee our event services areas, our logistical services, like badging, registration, our operations that work on drawing our floor plans and stuff. Those are the groups that I oversee, so we're working a lot with them. It's really interesting to see specifically our operations team and how they manage plotting out using our floor, basically where the booths are going to go, where the aisles are going to go. It's really kind of a chaotic science behind it to make it all work well.

Taylor White: I mean, you wouldn't be able to tell that because it's like everything is flawless. So yeah, hats off to you and your team and everybody, obviously. Do you have a favorite part of the show that you enjoy? That might be a difficult thing because I know every part of it is probably awesome, but is there one specific thing that you're like, "I got to do this every time."

Dana Wuesthoff: My favorite part is literally just seeing the people all coming together and seeing connections, whether that's the exhibiting companies and their booths are packed and they're talking with people or being in an area like this where it's just attendees connecting with one another and talking about challenges or successes and sharing ideas. I hear from folks so much where they'll be like, "I was standing in line to get a beer and I started talking to this guy and then he told me about this thing and it blew my mind, and I'd never even know I needed to have it, but it solved this problem I had." I love stuff like that. I don't know how to say other than just the opportunity that this provides for people to make those connections that are just so valuable.

Taylor White: Seeing people, talking to them and getting to shake hands and visually actually put faces to people that you've been talking to for so long as well. That's pretty incredible. Are you super pumped about how the weather kind of panned out for everything for today? 

Dana Wuesthoff: I am. This is beautiful. The other day I was out here and it was exactly like this, and I left and then people told me it started raining. If anyone is local here in Las Vegas, please don't tell me it never rains here. You know that it never rains here. I'm like, "No, it does.” It's rained a few days now. I don't believe you anymore. I think you got to stop saying that. It rains here. 

When we were here earlier in the month– It takes about a month ahead of time to set up this show. In early February, we were here in this lot, and we were starting to bring in some of the cranes and stuff. So we've had a rotation of our staff just in and out of Las Vegas for the last month. And I was one of those privileged ones that got to come out here. It snowed. I'm from Wisconsin. I legitimately had on my hat, my gloves, my winter coat, and there were crazy snow flurries here, and there weren't any in Wisconsin. As I was talking to my family that day, I just thought it was so crazy, the weather that we've seen, but I'll take this all day. This is wonderful.

Taylor White: You just mentioned a month ago, people start coming and say, "What's the first thing that comes to the show that you're like, 'Okay, this has to come in first?'"

Dana Wuesthoff: Really, it's the largest exhibits. It's the cranes, the ones right behind me in that corner up there. I mean, those are the ones that take the longest amount of time to set and to build and to go up. So just like on a construction site, they need a really big lay down area to bring in all of their freight and put it up. So it's definitely a very strategic art that we rely on our general contractor for to help us orchestrate what freight comes in, at what point, to make sure that we have a safe environment that we can get all of the exhibits up in the short amount of time that we provide to them.

Taylor White: Yeah, and then I guess a whole other part of it would be like the takedown part of it as well, too. I mean, we're nowhere near there's still so much show left, but okay, the cranes and the machinery that are the halls and the aggregate and this and that, what's the cleanup portion like?

Dana Wuesthoff: You'd be surprised how quickly things come down. It takes a long time to build them, not quite as long to tear them down. I mean, most of the Las Vegas Convention Center, most of that, they'll be out within three to five days. This lot, obviously, is going to take a little bit longer, but they move those machines and everything out very fast.

Taylor White: The festival grounds is a really unique spot as well, much like everything else here, but the community zone also. That's something that you guys did new this year.

Dana Wuesthoff: It is. This is a brand new area. It's the first time that we've done it. We're super excited to do it this year. And we really did it because you all, as our attendees had said, that you were looking for this. You were looking for a place to just, well, a sit-down. We know how big the show is. We know how tired your feet can get, but really, you just wanted a place to sit down get your devices charged, kind of recharge yourself a little bit, have a snack or a beverage. And this to really just have a spot to connect with one another. We worked hard to just grab some different leaders in the industry, some influencers that people are already following and listening to them talk about what is relevant right now, what people are talking about and really just a spot to, like it says, to just gather and build community.

Taylor White: Yeah, I could not agree more. It is cool. Like even just right now looking out and seeing everybody that's in the audience, it's pretty amazing. They're the reason that we're doing all this, right? What I've realized too, as far as even working with you guys or just over the years following CONEXPO, you guys have really done a really good job of working with influencers. Where do you see the value working with people online that have a following or are doing good things in the industry? Where do you kind of see that value and why that kind of push for that?

Dana Wuesthoff: The name of this area is very fitting when we say community because that's really what we want to try to build. I mean, obviously once every three years we're able to physically build it. We build this sort of little city within the city and we bring together the construction community and we want to try to keep that community going in the years and the time that we don't have the show. Obviously, digital is such a great aspect for that social and other online opportunities where when people can't physically get together, we can connect online and we want to continue to try to build that community and to keep you all connected as a community. And that's really where we're going with it. This is just a manifestation of being physically here today.

Taylor White: As far as the community zone and what you were just saying is the fact that although when this show is kind of Saturday and you're wrapping up, the CONEXPO community is still going to be a community for the next three years leading up to the next show. Keeping everybody connected and together for those three years leading up to it and still working together and being a community for everybody, that's really unique. I think that's really cool because it's not like, “Okay, we're going to go away for three years and then boom, we're here again.” You guys are like, “No, we want to continue this and carry everybody forward for the next three years to keep the interest and keep everybody together.”

Dana Wuesthoff: I even hear from attendees how they say, “Yeah, I've made friends at this event, I met people, I've been friends with them.” We reconnect every three years at this show and we want to help continue to foster that. We want to be able to help provide some platforms or some events or opportunities for them to help those connections continue.

Taylor White: Someone that's in your position and in your role, is there anything kind of angus is more of a personal thing. I would like to know what qualities do you think is really important to have a person that's in your role doing what you're doing? As far as planning this big show and having a big team and working together on that?

Dana Wuesthoff: It's the business of live events and there's a lot of nights and weekends work. You have to work with a lot of people, you have to travel. I mean, that's not for everyone. But I think that really, at the end of the day, really be willing to know how to collaborate. And relationships are incredibly important. Like I said, we have this amazing army of staff internally at AEM, and we work with so many amazing vendor partners that we have to really build a lot of trust with, too. This is really an orchestrated event. If one or two things aren't working correctly, you can have things crumble quickly. It's really just kind of trying to make sure that you're staying in front of all of that.

Taylor White: Is there a most challenging part of planning the show that is like, “Okay, this is one of the most tricky things to orchestrate about CONEXPO,” what would that be?

Dana Wuesthoff: I almost said it before. It's not the trickiest thing. It just triggers in my head because you mentioned transportation before and I was like, “Yes, a compliment on transportation.” It's one of the toughest things. The city is tough. It's just busy. Especially there's a lot of things going on in the city. There are a lot of people. Obviously, we're bringing a lot of people here to the city for the show and just moving from point A to point B. Anytime you're getting in vehicles and moving people around, the logistics of that can be very challenging between it. It's kind of funny that you said that. I was like, “Yes,” transportation is always a tough one for this show to try to make it right.

Taylor White: Yeah, I mean, you guys nailed it. What is the square footage? Because again, I'm just thinking of the transportation, like how we got over here. We took a golf cart, then we got on a bus, boom, you're here. This is exactly where we wanted to go. We walked in and we saw the statues and I'm like, “Okay, great, this is where I need to go.” What's the square footage of the show? It's massive.

Dana Wuesthoff: For exhibitions, we always talk in the terms of net square feet. So that takes out like, the space in the aisles and spaces like this and stuff. It's talking about just the exhibit booths proper. And we are over 2.8 million net square feet just for CONEXPO-CON/AGG. Our sister event, the IFPE show, that's over in the South Hall is an additional 165,000 net square feet. So we're pushing 303 million net square feet. And of course, then you have to sort of put it in gross square feet if you're talking about the actual distance that you're traveling. So that's about 6 million gross. Put it in a different perspective. It's like 65 acres that we span from that end of that bend.

Taylor White: That's wild. Where do the CONEXPO and then CON/AGG come from?

Dana Wuesthoff: There are multiple associations behind it. I kind of mentioned before, I work for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and that's sort of the CONEXPO side of it, more the equipment side of it and the OEM manufacturers. And there are two other owner associations that come along with the CON/AGG side, which represents more of the aggregate side of it. Those are The National Stone Sand & Gravel Association and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. So these three industry associations are really the ones behind the CONEXPO-CON/AGG together. And that was part of that whole partnership that I mentioned back in 1996 or when those two shows came together.

Taylor White: So over the years, and I guess in years to come, have you ever had the opportunity to get in some machinery or operate something maybe, or try some of the simulators out in the halls?

Dana Wuesthoff: You know, the funny thing is, I never get a chance to, and I always want to. I mean, during the setup of the show, obviously, that stuff isn't kind of ready. They're moving it in. And then during the show, usually it's always so crazy busy that I kind of feel bad, I don't want to take an opportunity away from attendees, so I just watch it and I'm like, “That's cool,” but I need to make it happen this time.

Taylor White: Yeah. What's your day to day at the show? Obviously, you kind of mentioned your role, but when the show is active and on, I'm imagining you're a very busy person here.

Dana Wuesthoff: Yes and no. I mean, I don't know if any of you have ever done project management. When it gets to that certain point, you almost sort of wait for problems to happen. You just kind of wait for someone to say, “Hey, this is going wrong. What should we do?” Or “We need help with this,” and stuff like that. And then I get to do some fun stuff like this too, where I get to go talk with people and meet. I mean, otherwise, I'm just kind of walking around, I'm talking to exhibitors when I have a chance to get into their booth and they're not busy talking to attendees, just to kind of make sure things are going okay. But that's it. Just trying to make sure that we're staying on course and that there's no problem and none of my team or any of our vendors needs help.

Taylor White: Yeah, you said a lot of interesting things going on and there are so many interesting panels and discussions and education sessions going on. Was that always a part of the show for me? You go to and you see there's machinery and stuff, but to actually have education sessions or being able to listen to industry professionals, what was the draw for that? Or have they always done that at the show?

Dana Wuesthoff: For 2023, we have over 175 different educational sessions that we, as the show, put together. We work with probably about ten different industry associations to help put together that programming of what those different traps and topics are. And then, of course, there's so much education in the booth. The exhibitors themselves, whether they're demonstrations or they're having discussions, we try to also understand what they're doing so we can help share that information with attendees.

Taylor White: Yeah, that's really exciting. And on Friday at 09:00 a.m., I'm on one as well, too. We're kind of talking about branding and marketing, and we obviously touched on, but I just thought it was a really interesting part of the show that you guys have this stuff that people can go to and see and learn so much because I think that there's so much to learn from shows like this. Pretty incredible you guys put on here. So I think that you guys deserve a big round of applause for that.

Dana Wuesthoff: Thank you. I will be sure to pass that on to our education team. They work very very hard on that.

Taylor White: Yeah, for sure. And I'm excited to see what happens in 2026 as well.

Dana Wuesthoff: You can probably expect even more sessions. I mean, we're always working. Again, kind of what I said before, when this one wraps up, we look at, “Hey, what was great,? Let's keep doing it. What do we need to change or improve?” And we just start to roll right into the process for the next time.

Taylor White: Awesome. Well, I appreciate the conversation and hope everyone got a little more insight as far as the facts and what went on at the show, and what goes on behind the scenes to put on something amazing. Thank you very much, Dana, for being here and talking.

Dana Wuesthoff: Thank you. And thank you all for being here. I hope that you guys are enjoying the show. 

Taylor White: And it's awesome that we get to share this experience with everybody. So, thank you, guys.

Subscribe to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 weekly newsletter to receive more great stories like this.