By Andrew Ausel | April 29, 2016
The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) hosts the world’s only conferences on design-build in the transportation and water/wastewater sectors, and they have experienced impressive growth every year, including this year’s conferences that wrapped up just recently. If you were there, you may have heard that this year was no different as both conferences grew between 5-10% in total attendees as well as the number of exhibiting and/or sponsoring companies. While this is a great achievement in terms of what it means for DBIA and its events going forward, it is also encouraging for the future of design-build.
This year’s conferences were right on track with the consistent trend of growth we have seen over the years. In 2012, our transportation conference registered 758 attendees and our water/wastewater conferences drew in 730. Since then, our conferences have steadily grown each year and we are proud to report that in 2016, the Transportation Conference eclipsed 1,100 attendees and the Water/Wastewater Conference amassed 950 attendees! Combined, attendance at these conferences has grown 39% since 2012 and has set the bar for conferences to come.
This growth comes from attendees regularly attesting to the quality of our educational sessions. The conference planning committee and staff works hard to ensure sessions are content-rich and not marketing ploys. We know returning attendees expect much of the same in years to come in terms of quality and we accept the challenge of ensuring fresh perspectives and topics every year to reflect the latest industry trends.
In addition to the overall attendance and session marks, we are just as proud of the number of public agency / owner attendees in Charlotte this year. With legislative design-build authority growing or stable in the region, both conferences saw great turnout from organizations such as Charlotte Water, City of Houston, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, North Carolina DOT, South Carolina DOT, and Virginia DOT just to name a few. For several years, our owner attendance level hovered just over 100 for Transportation and just under 120 for Water. However, we shattered both of these marks this year and welcomed 115 transportation owners and 139 water/wastewater owners at this year’s conferences. This attendance is incredibly encouraging and will undoubtedly guide our decisions for conferences to come.
We are grateful to our conference planning committee, speakers, sponsors, board members and staff that collectively made the events successful. We look forward to continued growth at our Design-Build Conference & Expo later this year as well as next year in Minneapolis. Until then, we’ll be back in our office resting our feet until the next conference in Las Vegas this November. See you there!