Though attendance figures weren't available at press time, the American Society of Plumbing Engineers 2000 Convention and Engineered Plumbing Exposition boasted packed aisles at the Convention Center of the expansive Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. The 150,000-sq.-ft. Convention Center housed the Exposition, featuring products from over 300 manufacturers, from bubblers to faucets to fixtures and pumps. (PME will feature an overview of some of the Expo's product highlights in a future issue.) Exhibitors were pleased to report a steady flow of interested visitors throughout the two-day show.
The massive 2,884-room hotel, with its indoor mall, atrium and river (featuring daily flat-bottom boat tours), also offered attendees several chances to take a break from the show and seminars and find a secluded spot to regroup.
U.S. astronaut Dr. Jerry Linnenger presented the keynote address for the convention. Linnenger was aboard the Space Station Mir in 1997 for five months and spoke firsthand of the challenges that had to be overcome to achieve success on his mission. He emphasized the key ingredients to success in all tasks, which include: preparation, self-reliance, determination, teamwork and courage. Having overcome great odds himself, Linnenger challenged the ASPE audience to embrace change and the willingness to rise to the occasion and confront the challenges ahead in the new millennium.
Linnenger was aboard Mir from January through May 1997, setting an endurance record for an American male astronaut in space. During his stay, Linnenger and his two Russian crewmates struggled to repair Mir's numerous system failures. He and his comrades survived several life threatening incidents, including a massive computer failure that caused the station to tumble out of control, as well as an interior systems fire that almost resulted in termination of the mission. Linnenger's speech included lessons on celebrating life and family, as well as the admonition to plumbing engineers to work together with industry professionals to solve problems and design more efficient systems.
Education was another major focal point of the convention. For the first time, the society planned an extra day of educational seminars that took place after the Exposition had ended. ASPE also scheduled its seminars around the Expo's show hours, making it possible for more of its members to attend the educational sessions and still get a look at all of the products debuting on the show floor.
The three-day event covered various topics that impact the plumbing engineer, including:
- Two-part workshops on plumbing fundamentals, seismic design requirements, project/process management, fundamentals of project software and excel software, domestic water heating systems training, water purification fundamentals, pump application and using the Internet for telecommunications.
- Seminars on medical gas systems for small facilities, acoustics in plumbing systems, creating teamwork, oil and solid separators, construction law, microbiologically influenced corrosion, fuel gas systems, uniform drawing systems, Legionella, special hazards sprinkler systems, changes to CSI specifications, managing employees and customers, understanding grease traps, siphonic roof drainage systems, design of laboratory vacuum systems, building commissioning, ANSI standards and value engineering.
Another highlight of the convention was the election of a new ASPE board at the society's business meeting. Representatives of the society's nearly 8,000 members voted to appoint David Chin, P.E., C.I.P.E., C.P.D., as the new ASPE President. Other appointments included Julius Ballanco, P.E., and PME's Editorial Director, to Vice President, Legislative; J. Joseph Scott, C.I.P.E., to Vice President, Technical; Ronald George, C.I.P.E., to Vice President, Education; and Brian Salisbury, C.I.P.E., to Vice President, Membership. Larry Oliver, C.I.P.E., C.P.D., will continue for another term as Secretary of the Treasury.