Here’s Everything the CE Crew Is Doing at The Utility Expo This Week

The Utility Expo

If you’re looking to find me this fall, I’ll likely be in Louisville. Two of the best tradeshows in America are about a month apart — The Utility Expo September 26-28 and Equip Exposition October 17-20 — both taking place in Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC). The best part of these two shows and the best thing about the KEC (in my opinion) is the outstanding outdoor demo areas. There is no better place in America for attendees to test out machines in the dirt or grass — mini excavators, compact track loaders, skid steers, backhoe loaders, mowers, stand-on tool carriers, UTVs, just too many to name. Then, there’s everything else. Amazing booths, access to the industry’s top product managers, excellent educational sessions, Drone Zone, Community Zone, UTV test track, women’s tree climbing, street parties and awesome concerts. These are maybe the two best utility construction/landscape shows in America, and they’re happening back-to-back.

This week, the CE crew will be exploring The Utility Expo, so here’s a preview of the things we’ll be doing and seeing at this awesome event.

First off, the magazine portfolio of our parent company Benjamin Media Inc. is full of utility construction titles: Trenchless Technology, Utility Contractor, Water Finance Management, Tunnel Business Magazine and Solar Builder. We roll large to this show. It’s also just a great general construction equipment show, and it only happens every two years, so the CE crew always attends. Also remember that previous iterations of The Utility Expo took home several awards from Trade Show Executive’s TSE Gold 100, including the “Largest Trade Show of 2021.” It’s a big show, and there will be more than 850 exhibitors, making it the largest and most impressive Utility Expo to date. Of note: This tradeshow used to be called ICUEE.

So, what are we doing? Let’s start with … the Ditch Witch Super Witch, which is a must-see at The Utility Expo.

Super Witch demo


Community Zone and Concerts

When I work a tradeshow, I need sit time. For three days, I’ll run all over this show, visiting manufacturers, testing new machines, interviewing experts, shooting video and taking photos. In between all that I’ll be recharging in the new Community Zone, located in the North Lobby, featuring plenty of space to lounge and/or enjoy daily events including presentations, live music and samples of local Louisville products.

“The Community Zone is both a place for attendees to gather and recharge but also a gateway to the city of Louisville itself,” said John Rozum, show director of The Utility Expo, in a press release. “We hope everyone that stops by this area is then inspired to explore this fascinating city at the end of the show day.”

Another feature at the 2023 Utility Expo is the free Utility Rocks street party Wednesday, Sept. 27th, at 8 p.m., featuring local rock band The Crashers at Louisville’s famous Fourth Street Live! outdoor stage.

Utility Construction Education

The Utility Expo is full of great educational opportunities for folks looking to expand their skills or applications. The Utility Expo has an education lineup that provides a mix of field classrooms, educational workshops and free sessions talking about everything from new technologies, traffic safety, locating and more. Continuing education and professional development hours are important parts of the utility industry, and learning about new technologies and equipment is a big focus at the show. New this year, The Utility Expo features a Safety Symposium with 10 sessions and two different certifications from the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA).

“The education programs ATSSA will present at The Utility Expo can help participants expand their knowledge about traffic safety while on the job,” said Rozum in the press release. “This is a great opportunity for contractors to bring their crew to hear about emerging safety technologies or to become a traffic control technician and earning an ATSSA Flagger Certification, while also checking out the latest equipment on the show floor.”

The Utility Expo

The Utility Expo will offer more than 50 education sessions, including the following that allow participants to earn professional development hours (PDHs):

  • “Advanced Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD): Challenges and Good Practices for a Successful Installation,” with Sam Ariaratnam (Tuesday and Wednesday). Utility pros will walk through considerations including geological conditions, locating technologies and mapping tools to improve jobsite productivity and end the job with a successful installation. Eligible for 1.5 PDHs.
  • “Electromagnetic Underground Utility Locating,” with Mike Parilac (Tuesday and Wednesday). Utility pros will walk through how electromagnetic locating instruments interpret information, letting the user better understand the accuracy of each measurement, and how to use improved knowledge of the devices to improve locating results. Eligible for 1.5 PDHs.
  • “Safety Tech Trek,” with Monica Rakoczy (Tuesday and Wednesday). Utility pros will take a tour of the new and exciting innovations in the utility and construction industry that will make safety easier and more manageable on the jobsite. Eligible for 1.5 PDHs.
  • “Everything You Need to Know as a New Engineer,” with Doug Houseman (Wednesday morning, Wednesday afternoon or all day Wednesday). Engineers focused on the utility industry will take part in a conversation about how utility equipment is used, how to think about it on the jobsite and advantages and disadvantages of different types of equipment in different situations. Eligible for up to 8 PDHs.
  • The Jobsite from Planet Underground also returns to host hourly, free peer-to-peer demonstrations of predictive analytics software, electromagnetic (EM) locating, ground penetrating radar (GPR), subsurface utility engineering (SUE), underground RFID marking devices and GIS mobile applications.

The Utility Expo is the largest event for utility professionals and construction contractors seeking comprehensive insights into the latest industry technologies, innovations and trends.

Mini excavators are making big waves on jobsites all over North America. Click here for the latest news on these machines and the companies that make them.

Booths and Demo Area

The Utility Expo is great for equipment test drives and interactive product demonstrations. The entire show will be a giant showcase of the latest equipment from more than 850 exhibitors. Here are some of the booths we’re going to visit and some of the machines we plan to demo. See you there!

Volvo ECR25 Electric Excavator

Volvo ECR25 Electric compact excavator

The ECR25 Electric compact excavator offers zero exhaust emissions and has significantly lower noise levels, reduced energy costs, improved efficiency and fewer maintenance requirements compared to its conventional equivalent. Its batteries store enough energy to power it for up to eight hours in most common applications. A 240V, Level 2 AC setup is recommended, which is the same as for electric cars. This allows for a charge time of about six hours. An off-board fast charger can be used to bring it to 80 percent power within an hour. The ECR25 Electric has comparable specs to its diesel equivalent. The 2.7-ton machine boasts a digging depth of 9 ft, 1 in. and breakout force of 5,020 lbf. For more info, visit or booth K345 at The Utility Expo.

Caterpillar 301.9 Electric Mini Excavator

Caterpillar 301.9 Electric Mini Excavator

Caterpillar is focused on delivering purpose-built solutions to help customers achieve their sustainability goals by geography, by jobsite and specific customer need. One of many solutions, the battery electric 301.9 mini excavator will be on full display at The Utility Expo this September. The 301.9 is powered by Caterpillar batteries, and it includes an onboard AC charger. The company also plans to offer an off-board DC faster charging option. The Caterpillar-designed batteries will also be available to power other industrial applications. Built on proven Caterpillar technology, the lithium-ion battery range features a modular design that offers flexible configurations across multiple applications. For more info, visit or booth K335 at The Utility Expo.

Case 695SV Construction King Side-Shift Backhoe

Built on a strong legacy that goes back to the first-ever integrated backhoe loader, Case’s 695SV Construction King side-shift backhoe delivers more versatility, comfort and productivity than ever before. Perfect for municipalities and larger construction sites, its four-wheel steer and equally sized tires make it ideal for loading operations while still offering the versatility to quickly switch out loader and backhoe attachments. Its parallel lift tool carrier style loader arms make more intense material handling operations easy, while the side-shift design and three steering modes, two-wheel steer, crab steering and circle steering, allow the machine to work in confined spaces and right up against structures. For more info, visit or booth K277 at The Utility Expo.

Ditch Witch SK1750 with New Track System

Ditch Witch SK1750 with New Track System

Contractors looking for the power, versatility and visibility of the Ditch Witch SK1550 can now turn to the new Ditch Witch SK1750 mini stand-on skid steer and its patent-pending track system for added productivity and a smoother ride. The new track system features a tension check window, which allows operators to visually check track tension without threading a separate gauge tool, which saves time and helps operators feel confident in their routine maintenance checks. The improved track design provides a smooth, comfortable ride with outstanding maneuverability and stability. The track design also causes less disturbance to the ground. For more info, visit or outdoor booth K145 at The Utility Expo.

Mecalac Compact Wheeled Excavators

Mecalac will feature its compact wheeled excavators, the MWR Series, at The Utility Expo. Consisting of three models — 7MWR, 9MWR and 11MWR — the series features a range of benefits to help meet the needs of operations in the construction, landscaping and forestry industries, as well as municipalities and utility construction. The MWR Series of wheeled excavators are purpose-built to allow for maximum maneuverability in tight working areas, offering the flexibility and versatility of a skid steer or compact track loader in one machine and delivering higher speed and mobility than tracked excavators. Mecalac will also have a site dumper, crawler skid excavator and swing loader on display. For more info, visit or booth K187 at The Utility Expo.

We’ll also be checking out…

Keith Gribbins is publisher of Compact Equipment.

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