What is the Mountain of Demonstrations?

Richard Lee

Looking for new ways to improve your public works department operational efficiency? Take a trip to Gunstock Mountain on May 23, 2013 to attend the Mountain of Demonstrations, hosted by the New Hampshire Road Agents Association.

Currently in its 26th year, the Mountain of Demonstrations is recognized for its unique live demonstrations and as a one-stop shopping opportunity for public works personnel, parks and recreation departments, state departments of transportation, school facility maintenance personnel and municipal officials from all over New England. Attendees benefit from speaking directly with representatives and manufacturers about the newest high-tech road, bridge, maintenance, and related construction products, equipment, and services.

Every year the popularity of this event grows. Admission is complimentary for all municipal, government and school employees. Among the 550 attendees, over 80 municipalities are represented at the event, along with school administrative units and NH Department of Transportation personnel.

About 100 vendors participate each year. Just a few of the vendor services showcased include heavy construction equipment sales and service, construction rentals, paving, catch basins, piping, plow trucks and plow blades, automatic tire chains, asphalt treatment, road recycling, high pressure washers, concrete products, mowers, water, sewer and storm water solutions, engineers and much more.

One highlight of the day includes the Detour for Safety challenge. Attendees are encouraged to participate in this challenge as a way to better educate themselves and test their current safety knowledge. Every year different activities are included in the challenge. Some of the popular activities in the past have included a truck or heavy equipment pre-trip inspection. Participants were challenged to identify what was wrong with a piece of equipment during an actual pre-trip inspection. It was a great way to test our safety skills. Other activities tested our knowledge about different safety vest classes and when to wear each class, along with how long of a life a hard hat has. (They do have a life expectancy.) There have also been interactive presentations and demonstrations about storm water runoff, power equipment safe operation and healthy habits such as food and exercise. The Detour for Safety challenge is interesting and educational for those participating. And, as with all good challenges, we hope everyone learns something and a prize awaits the winner.

Live product demonstrations and hands-on equipment trials are also big attractions at the Mountain of Demos. The event is a great way to see new equipment in action and to give some items a test drive. New products hit the market each year so experiencing these items in a one-stop shopping experience is efficient and beneficial for our communities. Past live demonstrations have included a bridge breaking contest, infrared pavement reconstruction, slope side mowing demonstration, gravel parking lot stabilization and dust control (which is also good for gravel roads), rock breaking system demonstration, catch basin installation next to the parking lot bridge, guardrail installation along the edge of a pond, painting of sidewalks using a piano pattern, mower operating, and much, much more. These demos are important. They allow us to see how the products might work over time in a real-world application.

At the Mountain of Demonstrations the Road Agents Association makes two very important announcements. One is the Public Works Employee of the Year Award. This award honors one member of the public works community who has performed exceptionally well in their job above and beyond the call of duty. All municipalities are encouraged to nominate a public works employee for this honor. It is an important way for the NH Road Agents Association to honor one of their deserving colleagues.

The second announcement is awarding two scholarships each year to a student who is a relative of a member town employee. These are supported by the proceeds from the Mountain. We feel it is very important to help support the continuing education of our students. Over the years the NHRAA has awarded over $30,000 to sons or daughters of members who have decided to continue their education.

The NH Road Agents Association Board of Directors, who are all municipal public works employees, strive to create the best show possible. We are well aware of the pressure to perform difficult tasks in a most cost efficient way. This struggle is all too familiar. The Mountain of Demonstrations is held every year in an effort to help our colleagues with these everyday struggles.

Richard Lee is the Public Works Director for the Town of New London and the President of the New Hampshire Road Agents Association. He may be contacted at 603.526.6337 or by email.