WASHINGTON, D.C. — Heavy equipment suppliers brought their newest wares to the nation’s capital this week to flex the $1 trillion U.S. construction industry’s fiscal muscle and impact on the U.S. economy.
Hosted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers in partnership with over 40 member companies and industry partners, the Celebration of Construction on the National Mall runs from May 14 through Tuesday.
In addition to being open to the public, organizers invited lawmakers, regulators and their staff to learn more about construction’s efforts in innovation and sustainability and how the industry helps to drive the American economy.
It was the first such construction-related event on the National Mall, AEM Public Relations Manager Justin A. Metzger told Construction Dive. The organization expects 16,000 people to attend the event.
More than 75 pieces of off-road construction equipment from excavators and cranes to pavers and milling machines are on display just blocks from the U.S. Capitol building. Hands-on displays include the latest in autonomous machines and renewable energy-powered products from exhibitors including Caterpillar, Gradall Industries, John Deere and Komatsu Corp.
Visitors can also take part in demonstrations, featuring interactive training programs and technology used on jobsites. Boston Dynamics’ Spot the robot dog was seen strutting around the Trimble booth:
Bringing equipment to Washington helps AEM members show how the industry has made strides on improving technology and manufacturing safe and sustainable equipment, according to the association. The event also provides an opportunity for the group to shine a light on its policy priorities, which include:
- Prioritizing infrastructure investments.
- Expanding access and eligibility to state and federal career and technical education programs.
- Supporting policies that promote U.S. trade and investment.
- Adopting tax incentives to encourage investment.
- Reforming the country’s immigration system.
The equipment manufacturing industry supports more than 2 million jobs in the U.S. and contributes $316 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product each year, according to a recent AEM economic impact report. The construction industry accounted for approximately 4% of U.S. gross domestic product in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.