Superior Scaffold at SAIA Annual Convention & Expo, Austin, TX
Put on your sittin’ britches – the Superior Scaffold boys travel where it’s so dry the catfish are carrying canteens – Austin, TX for the Annual SAIA (Scaffold & Access Industry Association) Convention and Expo.
I have a ten gallon mouth about this show because there was lots of cool equipment (some of which might be on your next job) great people to mingle with and awesome BBQ to eat.
Now, don’t sit on your spurs, I’ll get to the details of our visit. And you can hang your hat on that! But if you can’t wash off your war paint and want to get right to it – scroll down and it’ll take you right to the equipment.
But in order to set the mood for this adventure I have to show you a few of the sites around Austin.
The Texas Capitol building is surrounded by 22 acres of grounds and monuments and is well worth a visit.
The second pic is just one of the Hundreds of rockin’ blues performance venues scattered all about the town.
There are many food vendors serving out of mobile trucks. You can find them all around the city and their food is surprisingly very good.
And for you late night revelers out there – Austin is home to its very own mini Mardi Gras every Friday and Saturday night on 6th street where they close down the street for several blocks and let people run wild just like in the old west. Double and triple stacks of bars and bands provide a cacophony of blues, rock, and hip hop.
And for those of you who wanted to get tattoo’d or pierced to commemorate the occasion – there were many opportunities.
And at 2:15am the aftermath of partying all night spills out into the streets where drunken 20 somethings flock to the many pizza parlors for a sobering slice of cheesy confection. If scaffolding ever falls through there is a mint to be made in pizza on 6th street!
Now that you have a quick primer on downtown Austin, TX let’s get down to business – the SAIA annual convention and Expo. It’s the place where everyone in the scaffold industry comes to see the latest equipment, meet vendors, elect new board members, take classes, and attend awards ceremonies honoring a host of worthy candidates. This year it was held at the downtown Hilton, Austin.
He we are about to enter the SAIA Convention when I excitedly said, “we can check out the new equipment and get a free lunch!” Then Shawn interjected with his dry wit, “even the chickens under the porch know that.” To which I replied, “go cork your pistol mister, I’m just sayin’.” Then Bob piped in, “even a dead snake can still bite.” Then Shawn fired back, “Just because a chicken has wings don’t mean it can fly.” I think he must have been hungry. At that point I decided to stop with the Texas expressions and high tail it inside.
One of the largest displays, the Bee Access / Altrex booth where product demos where going on all day long. That’s Rudie building the MiTower in the background (A one man aluminum scaffold tower that is compact, lightweight and extremely easy to assemble and transport.) They had several cool pieces of equipment that caught our eye.
The first was an Aluminum Mobile Davit that integrates with existing their 5X5 beam system and is designed to eliminate traditional scaffolding to clear higher parapets. It features an adjustable height up to 8ft and an outreach of up to 4 ft with 1000lb load capacity. Shawn took one look at this and fondly named it, “the Up & Over beam”.
And second was a Hinging Porch Bracket or Rotating Porch Bracket, if you will.
It clamps to the swing stage and folds up so that crews can travel into position – and then it folds out into place allowing for ample room to access a facade or recessed area. It’s perfect for those places with varying surface extrusions.
A little further in we ran into the guys from Sky Climber who were showing off their latest and greatest. One of the coolest features we saw was their new motor with the voltage meter built right in.
Now, that might not seem like a big deal but to have the meter right there on the motor for crews to see is a giant asset.
And the always entertaining Harrold Giddish from H&E Equipment Services, Inc and SAIA.
There was so much to do and learn we can’t possibly list it all but we did manage to meet and greet with many of our industry peers from Jay at Strong Man to Lindsey and Johnathon at Access Lift & Handlers Magazine.
We were lucky enough to catch an invitation to Bee Access’ annual party at the one and only Stubb’s BBQ – so we bopped over there.
Live music, great food and awesome conversation greeted us there – as did marketing genius and SAIA award winner (William T. Ayres Founders Award for Membership Growth) Ms. Nicole Belmonte.
SAIA Spirit award winner, John Belmonte and Bill McAllister made everyone feel at home. Here is a link to their photos and blog.
It wasn’t all business, we did cut out with a bunch of industry partiers and ended up at Pete’s Dualing piano bar on 6th St. for some singing and laughter.
The last day of the convention was reserved for the awards ceremony, dinner, and after party.
Well, it’s time to put the chairs in the wagon and say goodbye to Austin, TX, another convention in the books. We made many new friends and got to visit old contacts as well as see new products and services for the scaffold industry. A success! We look forward to next year where it will be held right here in Philadelphia!
Superior Scaffold (215) 743-2200, 520 E Luzerne St., Philadelphia, PA 19124