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Sales: Blake Wilson

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A Look Back at CONEXPO 2023

CONEXPO is North America’s largest construction trade show, and it happens every three years in Las Vegas, NV. The most recent event was March 14-18th and Blake Wilson, VP/General Manager of Contractors Machinery Inc., attended this year’s show. We caught up with Blake and talked all about his experience.

CONEXPO 2023 is in the books from Las Vegas. Reports are the show broke attendance records, with over 139,000 people from over 30 countries. What did you think of this year’s CONEXPO overall?

Wilson: My feet hurt from trying to walk 3.5 million sq/ft of Convention Center. I have attended CONEXPO several times over the last 35 years and my biggest takeaway is that Technology is everywhere in the Construction Equipment Industry. Electric-powered equipment, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Controls, real-time machine maintenance and much more…

CASE Construction Equipment promised “You’ll see the difference” at CONEXPO, as they highlighted ‘The New CASE. What did you see?

Wilson: CASE Construction Equipment division’s biggest difference is a commitment to and investment in its dealer network, manufacturing quality products, as well as committing to being a leader in developing new products and getting them to market. This began with CASE DL550 Minotaur Compact Track Loader/Dozer and continues with their EV Series of Electric Mini-Excavators, Compact Track Utility Loaders and more.

The CASE Booth touted over 30 new machines, attachments and technology. What new products from CASE are you excited about and why?

Wilson: Obviously, the Minotaur is front and center as THE new product…we are expecting delivery of new units within the next 30 days at Contractors Machinery (CMI). Other new products such as mini-wheel loaders, wheeled excavators and the new SV utility backhoe will be additional products that CMI will inventory and provide to our clients

People are excited about the Minotaur DL550 compact dozer loader, what kind of game changer is this for your customers?

CASE Minotaur DL550

Wilson: The Minotaur has been thoroughly tested and creates a completely new product segment in the equipment industry. The ability to have a machine-controlled crawler dozer that easily becomes a loader is ideal for those in the dirt moving business.

Why is it important for CMI to be present at CONEXPO?

Wilson: It enables us to see the latest innovations in our industry from throughout the world. Additionally, it is an opportunity to look at potential other equipment lines that CMI may want to carry for our East TN customer base. We picked up Toro at the last CONEXPO in 2020 and it has been an excellent addition to our line-up.

CONEXPO gives a good indication of what’s happening in the construction industry as a whole. How is it feeling to you?

Wilson: The old school construction industry stereotype is changing rapidly. The industry is strong, but the future needs, and requires, young people to get involved. The take-away from CONEXPO is, if you want to be part of a dynamic, fun, high-tech industry, male or female, this is a great place.

The construction industry is evolving and advancing in many ways. What new technologies or equipment did you see that impressed you?

Wilson: Machine controls are amazing for most of the heavy equipment manufacturers. Video game players will be the operators of the future. CASE Construction’s acquisition of Raven Technologies will be a game changer for both the Agricultural and Construction sides of CASE in the very near future.

What innovations are you seeing in hydrogen-powered or electric-powered construction equipment?

Wilson: Nearly every manufacturer had electric-powered equipment on display at CONEXPO. Electric will have a place in certain segments of our industry, but battery life, universal charging stations, etc., remain a question. The CASE Concept “Tetra” Wheel Loader has a methane engine and, on paper, seems like a great potential use of resources and an efficient machine for the waste management industry.

One last question Blake: Did you win or lose at the tables?  

Wilson: There were moments of success but as usual the House came out ahead.

The next CONEXPO event is scheduled for March 3-7, 2026, in Las Vegas.

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