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Rhode Island Public Works Association Hosts 2022 Ocean State Construction and Equipment Show

by: Joanne Ray
It’s been a rough two years for the construction industry. People are excited to once again venture out to attend the many construction and equipment shows offered throughout New England.

Each year, the Rhode Island Public Works Association (RIPWA) hosts the Ocean State Construction and Equipment Show where vendors come to showcase the latest and greatest of the construction industry.

This year’s show is coming back to the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, Rhode Island, on May 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will take place both inside the grand ballroom and outside in the parking lot.

The grand ballroom and foyer inside will be filled with vendors offering smaller tools and equipment or services related to the industry. The vendors will bring years of experience and knowledge about the products they sell.

The parking lot at the Crowne Plaza will host many varieties of large equipment and tools. A knowledgeable staff will teach attendees about the benefits of each piece of equipment.

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“We are anxious to see our favorite supporting vendors as well as the many new vendors that have already registered for this year’s show,” said Erin Gingerella, Administrative Assistant to RIPWA. “Come join us to see the latest in tools, equipment, materials, and services in the construction industry. Admission is free.”

Gingerella pointed out that show tickets are given out to participating vendors in advance so they can reach out to their own potential customers and invite them for lunch and the chance to see equipment that can increase productivity and efficiency in their own businesses.

In addition to vendors reaching out to their customers, the RIPWA extends invitations to all Rhode Island public works departments as well as surrounding Connecticut and Massachusetts public works departments. Other departments invited include water departments, parks and recreation departments, highway departments, airport staff and school and college facilities management departments.

Funding Quality Training
According to Gingerella, RIPWA was formed in 1989 and the construction and equipment show began not long after that.

“The RIPWA began its equipment show at Wright's Farm many years ago and branched out to having two shows a year when we added an outdoor show at the Washington County Fairgrounds,” Gingerella said. “In 2017, we switched back to one show and moved it to the Crowne Plaza as a more central and easily accessible location with good space for both indoor and outdoor vendors. The 2020 show had to be cancelled and in 2021, we moved the show outdoors at Quonsett for COVID safety. This year we are back at the Crowne Plaza.”

Gingerella pointed out that the mission of the Rhode Island Public Works Association “is to support high quality training and educational opportunities for the Public Works community in Rhode Island, to represent the interests of the Public Works community to the general public as well as federal, state and local government bodies and agencies and to provide a forum to public works employees for the exchange of ideas and technical information that is helpful to them in conducting their daily duties and responsibilities.”

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The RIPWA is run by a Board of Directors that includes:

  • Steve Mattscheck, President
  • Steve Daignault, Vice President
  • Charles Walsh, Secretary
  • Tim Ledogar, Vendor Board Member
  • Gary Tedeschi, Executive Director
  • Jeff Cathcart, Consultant
  • Erin Gingerella, Administrative Assistant

Gingerella said the funds from the show are used to provide in-person training to Rhode Island public works departments. Last year, RIPWA hosted a fall public works academy where public works employees from around the state met for training. Trainings included winter maintenance, CPR/AED/first aid, customer service, OSHA-10, chainsaw safety and flagger certification. Upon completion of the academy, students received certificates from RIPWA President Steve Mattscheck. The same is planned for later this year in 2022.

“Last year we spent $19,000 on trainings that had come from the show,” Gingerella said. “RIPWA made it happen.”

Last year the association was also able to host the First Responder Golf Outing in memory of Bob Briggs Jr.

“The outing threatened heavy downpours, but that didn’t stop our teams from showing up and bringing light and joy to the Briggs family,” Gingerella said. “With some luck from above, we were just finishing the last holes as the rain settled in. Almost $11,000 was raised for the family and every raffle prize was donated to Bob’s 11-year-old son Conner, who was overcome by everyone’s generosity.”

Expanding Classes and Competition
Gingerella said that at this year’s show, the association will be hosting classes for Rhode Island public works employees.
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“We are also hoping to host a few high school groups for the purpose of showing them rewarding careers in the public works industry,” Gingerella said. “This is something new that I am trying to organize as public works directors are considering where the next generation of public works employees will come from. This will be a small start to ask a few directors to speak to a small group of technical high school students. It is only now in the works.”

The “Build A Better Mousetrap” competition will also be making a comeback at this year’s show. The competition includes departments who are encouraged to enter a tool or piece of equipment that has been developed or modified by their own staff to increase safety, reduce cost or improve efficiency for their team.

“We have not had this competition in years and thought it would be great to bring it back,” Gingerella said.

Lunch will be served in the afternoon and throughout the day the show includes a raffle of generous donations given by some vendors.

“As the days are growing a bit warmer, we look forward to the spring and the hopes for a spectacular 2022 show,” Gingerella said. “We hope to see you at the 2022 Ocean State Construction and Equipment Show.”

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Visit for more information, tickets or to register to be a vendor. A list of our current registered vendors can be found on the event page of the RIPWA website as well.

Ocean State Construction and Equipment Show
  • May 25, 2022
  • Crowne Plaza Warwick
  • 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick, Rhode Island
  • 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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