Exclusive Product Launches at Inaugural PAVE/X

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“These outdoor demos were something we knew contractors were looking for from an event and buying experience.”

- Jessica Lombardo, PAVE/X co-founder

The leadup to the first-ever PAVE/X: The Pavement Experience trade show was like a fresh mat of asphalt: hot and compressed. Announced less than twelve months ago by IRONMARKETS, the show had to fight to gain name recognition in a well established industry, as well as to entice potential attendees to spend their money and time during the traditional off-season.

There's only so many weeks of downtime pavement pros have, and to do something like this, it has to be worth their while. The biggest question mark for this event was first, "Would people show up," and secondly, "Would the experience deliver?" Now, after three solid days of quality educational sessions, jam packed trade show flow space, and phenomenal live equipment demonstrations, it's safe to say PAVE/X blew past what anyone could have expected.

Attendees from all over the United States came to Texas to see live outdoor demonstrations, learn about the latest equipment and innovations for their businesses on a sold out trade show floor, and learn from industry experts during 60+ hours of educational conference programming.

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Day 1 of educational sessions were packed! Credit: Brandon Noel

Many of the classes were jam packed, with the industry panels and round-tables being some of the most in-demand sessions. Conference attendees were engaged and energized, even when they were a bit sluggish from a full night of activities in San Antonio's beautiful downtown riverwalk area.

If You Build It...

The process of putting all the complex pieces into place for everything was intense, and, in order to make everything go-off without a hitch the IRONMARKETS team had to work quickly. 

“We had high hopes this event would be a success since it was built from years of experience and with the pride and passion my co-founder of the show, Amy Schwandt, and I have for this great industry,” Jessica Lombardo, PAVE/X co-founder, said. “The result of our efforts, and the efforts of our great team, far exceeded all of our expectations. The three days were packed with great content and events and you could feel the energy and excitement for the future of our industry from everyone who attended.”

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There were stands to watch the live demos, but also a food-truck food court with tables and benches to grab a bite to eat or a beer. Credit: Brandon Noel

The inaugural PAVE/X event in San Antonio saw nearly 1,700 industry attendees and featured exhibits from over 70 manufacturers. But the highlight of the event was the 9+ hours of live outdoor equipment demonstrations. 

“These outdoor demos were something we knew contractors were looking for from an event and buying experience,” Lombardo said. “PAVE/X was thrilled to bring a fast-paced demonstration showcase for attendees to watch equipment at work and ask questions to help ease the decision making process for them from the experts that know the equipment best."

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The Astec crew demonstrating their CP135 during day 1 of PAVE/X. Credit: Brandon Noel

PAVE/X featured outdoor demos from:

  • Astec
  • BOMAG
  • Cementech
  • Cimline
  • Crafco
  • Dynapac
  • Etnyre
  • Graco
  • KM International
  • LeeBoy
  • Odra
  • Schwarze
  • SMITH
  • Weiler
  • Wirtgen

A Packed 3-Day Event

The event started off with the Pavement Award Ceremony where the event celebrates the hard work and dedication of paving and pavement maintenance professionals with awards in 10 categories. Attendees could also visit the Innovation Theatre to hear presentations on the latest technology and other advancements the industry has to offer.

“The Innovation Theatre was a great way for our manufacturer partners to showcase their equipment and technology in a unique way,” Amy Schwandt, PAVE/X co-founder, said. “Attendees were able to not only hear about the great innovations available for their equipment and businesses, but also get their questions answered from the experts.” 

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Matt Stanley demonstrating the LeeBoy 8520C FULLY ELECTRIC commercial asphalt paver. Credit: Brandon Noel

And innovations were evident from the over 70 manufacturer partners that were on hand to showcase what they had to offer to help attendees gain a competitive edge in their business. As a group of contractors were about to enter the convention center, I stopped to get a sense of what drew them to come to PAVE/X, a brand new show.

"Just all the contractors that were going to be here, and all the actual equipment suppliers," said Cisco Barren, with AB Sealers. "You know it's the first, inaugural show and we wanted to be a part of it. We loved the live demonstration."

Throughout the course of the three days, attendees also had plenty to see inside on the trade show floor. Several brand new products were launched at the Tuesday night preview, seen by contractors in-person for the very first time. LeeBoy unveiled the HB4T Hotbox, which featured:

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LeeBoy HB4T Hotbox. Credit: Brandon Noel

  • Trailer Mounted 4 Ton Hopper
  • Thermostatically Controlled Diesel Burner
  • 110 VAC Overnight Heater
  • Single Material Unloading Door
  • Full Width Shoveling Platform with Integrated Material Shutes
  • Hydraulic Dump Hopper
  • Curb Side Operation
  • Cantilever Side-to-Side material loading doors
  • Integrated Compactor Storage Compartment

Marvin Joles of the popular Blacktop Banter podcast was checking it out and said, "It's beefy! That frame looks like it could carry a paver on top of it."

"Our dealers and customers have been asking for something like this from us, for years," said Bryan Thornton, Leeboy's governmental sales manager. "The engineering team has had this product in production now, or in planning now for a little over a year. The finishing touches just went on prior to PAVE/X."

Crafco also brought something new to the floor with their new "EZ Patcher" which is so new that the red paint was quite literally still drying when it arrived at the PAVE/X show floor.

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Crafco's new EZ Patcher. Credit: Brandon Noel

Not many details are publicly available yet concerning the EZ Patcher, however, Crafco said the in the very near future there will be more to come. What was revealed about its mastic magic included:

  • 65-gallon heated mastic applicator attachment for skid steer loaders
  • Integrated skid steer hydraulics and power
  • Hydraulic operated material gate with adjustable speed
  • Hydraulic bi-directional auger/mixer with auto-reversing mix-melt mode
  • Color camera and monitor for operator visibility in-cab
  • Machine is symmetrical/reversible for dispensing on either side of the loader
  • Floating drag box with quick release slide latches

However, it was JCB that brought the most exclusive and new hardware to San Antonio with them. Re-entering the North American paving market with two high efficiency rollers, the CT160 and the CT260.

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Lori Ditoro, Editor-in-Chief Equipment Today and James Gill, Product Manager, JCB, standing in front of the new CT260 on the PAVE/X showroom floor. Credit: Lori Ditoro

“The models have been available in markets outside of North America for some time. They have proven to be a great success, and the durability has been truly tried and tested," said James Gill, Product Manager at JCB North America. "By re-entering the North American market with a product that we have confidence in, it paves the way for the rollout of an extensive portfolio of compaction equipment."

The CT160 uses a three cylinder, 19.8 hp engine, and the CT260 models get a three cylinder 24.4 hp engine. All engines are Tier4 Final compliant and do not require a diesel particular filter (DPF) or diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). JCB’s LiveLink telematics system is standard, providing customers with real-time location and geofencing, utilization monitoring and operational data, including when the vibration system is in use.

Speaking to a few contractors at the event, the sentiment seemed to be unanimous: more. Everyone loved what they saw, and they just wanted more PAVE/X. 

"It's better than I expected," said David from Bright-Stripe Services, based locally out of San Antonio. He drove down to see what the fuss was about, and was glad that he did. "I know you're [probably] sold out for space, you know, and I know you have probably a waiting list for next year, but all I could say is to add even more."

It wasn't just paving and maintenance equipment manufacturers at the show, however, there were two asphalt plant companies who also had booths. Both Asphalt Drum Mixers (ADM) and ALmix were out there trying to educate contractors who might be considering taking that next leap into the industry.

"It's a little different, you know? We're not a direct product that a lot of these guys use," said Ryder Harman, Sales Manager, ALmix. "We're here to kind of educate everyone on the benefits of stepping up to using our product and how it can give them tighter control their business, cost savings and the potential ROI. Even if you're a year out, two years out, or three years out, it's good to start thinking it through. So you understand what the plant will look like, what equipment you'll need, and get kind of a game plan for moving forward, when you do get to that point."

I followed up, and asked what are some of the key indicators that signal a contractor is ready or nearly ready to take this kind of a plunge.

"What we hear a lot of is that most are people who are having trouble getting the asphalt that they need when they need it. They're at the mercy of their competitors," Harman said. "They want to have that control back to their business and having an asphalt plant can give them the opportunity to add another revenue stream, which is to sell their own mix to the market. They don't want to rely on anyone else. They like to handle things themselves."

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Brandon Noel, Editor Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction; Dormie Roberts, Marketing and Digital Solutions Manager, Dynapac; Lori Ditoro, Editor-in-Chief, Equipment Today. Credit: Lori Ditoro

The Pavement Awards

The awards ceremony was a surprisingly emotional event this year, with the return of the former editor of Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction magazine, Allan Heydorn, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame by his successor and protege, Jessica Lombardo. Heydorn graciously relented to calls for a speech when he reached the stage, and spoke humbly about his beginnings, but, also, about where he still sees his legacy all these years later. 

"I started out in this job not knowing anything about pavement or asphalt," said Heydorn. "But thankfully I met people who were open to me asking a lot of questions a long the way. When we created the Hall of Fame, I never imagined I'd someday be in it, because it was meant for people who'd shaped or impacted the industry in significant ways."

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PAVE/X Pavement Awards. Credit: Brandon Noel

In addition to all the awards that were given away this year, the next Pavement Awards will feature a BRAND NEW award category. Currently, there are two awards for sealcoating and striping either large or small sized jobs. Striping has always been included in the sealcoating awards due to the fact it goes hand-in-hand with it. However, the skill, profession, and technology surrounding the striping arm of the pavement industry has grown by leaps and bounds. We felt that it was time to specifically honor that.

For the 2025 Pavement Awards, there will be a striping specific award: The Superior Striping Award. This new recognition will be graded and judged on three main components:

  • Scale: the overall size of the job submitted, in terms of amount of materials utilized and the physical space in square feet
  • Design: how was the job laid out? How complex was the job? How many colors and what types of materials were used?
  • Execution: what was the plan of attack? How long did it take to complete? What challenges were presented and overcome? What innovative techniques or technology were incorporated?

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At the Blacktop Banter PAVE/X Kickoff party. Kenny Roy, Royal Pavement Solutions; Brandon Noel, Editor, Pavement Maintenance and Reconstruction. Credit: David Zuehlke of Dynapac

Ultimately, this review of the show is only a fraction of all the amazing events, parties, sessions, and personal interactions that transpired last week in San Antonio. It truly was an experience, and if you happened to miss out on it this year, be sure to sign up ASAP when registration opens in June. 

“We were absolutely thrilled to bring a sold out tradeshow floor to attendees of the inaugural PAVE/X,” Amy Schwandt, PAVE/X co-founder, said. “This is confirmation that the paving and pavement maintenance industries are thriving and we are so excited to build upon year one’s success in 2025.” 

PAVE/X 2025 will be held in Chattanooga, TN January 29-30th 2025 at the Chattanooga Convention Center. 

“We will take what we learned in 2024, along with attendee feedback, and apply that to the PAVE/X 2025,” Lombardo said. “We have a great space reserved and have plans to expand the tradeshow floor and demonstration experience in the demo lot we have close to the convention center in the parking lot of Naked River Brewing. Attendees will love the city of Chattanooga and we can’t wait to keep the momentum for 2024 going into 2025.” 

Registration for PAVE/X 2025 will open in June at www.pavexshow.com.  

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