The 50th anniversary of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers is the perfect time to roll out the red carpet with the 2014 ASPE Convention and Exposition Sept. 20-24 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

 “It’s the 50th anniversary celebration. It’s going to be really nice,” says Pam Rosenberg, ASPE’s manager of education and certification. “Every night there is going to be something to do and it is going to be bigger and better than it has ever been.”

ASPE has refocused its efforts to make sure members have a better understanding as to which meetings and seminars are the right fit for them. From the first-year engineer at his or her first ASPE Expo to the upper manager, ASPE will get them in the correct place.

“We really took a step back and we’re doing things differently for the sessions this year,” Rosenberg states. “Normally, we have a track that is specific to a topic, such as fire or health and life safety. This year, we are making it easy for attendees to know where they should be.”

Billy Smith, ASPE’s senior director of technical and regulatory affairs, reports there are 25 different technical education programs on tap for the event. There will something for everyone in attendance. Smith is excited to sit in on a session that will take a broad overview of plumbing’s past and how the future is shaping up for the industry.

“That session is ‘Biosphere 2: Engineering Then and Now,’” Smith says. “It will look at where plumbing engineering started and the evolution over the years. It also will go into where we see plumbing engineering heading.”

Green plumbing and technologies once again will be a major focus of the ASPE Convention & Expo which will include a Green Plumbing Design Workshop. Smith says the expo will continue to focus on the industry in relation to “green.” He adds ASPE wants to take advantage of having so many people in attendance and the opportunity to make sure they are in tune with all green technology brings to the table.

“There has become a general and more strategized focus from the industry on green design and technology,” he says. “We will try and enlighten more of our design industry on green.”

This year’s event also will have a dedicated focus on Legionella. Immediately following the Legionella session is a seminar called “The Future of Environmental Plumbing Design.”

“Especially in the codes and standards world, Legionella is a major focus,” Smith says. “(People are interested) in its effect on codes and compliance, as well as its effect on the plumbing community in general. How will the design engineer and our industry as a whole move forward in protecting the public’s health and safety in all areas against Legionella.”

There are extended ASPE Expo show floor hours for the first time this year. Attendees can stop by manufacturer booths on Monday, Sept. 22 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Tuesday, Sept. 23 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), something vendors should be pleased about.

“It’s a tremendous benefit to the manufacturers having the chance to display their products and new technologies and focus on the large attendance of our society’s plumbing design professionals,” Smith says. “To be able to collaborate with the plumbing engineering industry and receive input is a great networking opportunity.”

Smith, who was on the manufacturing side of the business for many years believes, it’s critical for engineers to meet with the product creators so they can all assist in some way to product development, application and performance.

“(Engineers) can see where manufacturers are at with their products and where they are heading,” he says. “They can provide input to (manufacturers) as to what they see out there in their applications, what they see coming and what they are working on. It’s about how through collaboration, we work together and adjust our plumbing engineering industry’s focus to research and development where needed.”

This would not be a true industry event without a couple of premier after-hours event. On Sunday, Sept. 21, Sloan Valve hosts a party at the famous House of Blues.

“That’s going to be a nice evening,” Smith says. “A lot of good music, socializing and dancing.”

Smith continues: “Well, it may not be good dancing.”

Monday night ASPE will host a networking event for its Young Professionals Group at Chicago’s Rock Bottom Brewery. Attendees can sample various beers and speak with fellow young engineers about their careers, projects and more.

Rosenberg and ASPE are ready to cut the proverbial ribbon on the 2014 Expo and get the show rolling.

“We’re expecting a good turnout and there is a lot of energy,” she says. “The sponsors, the exhibitors and everyone else are looking forward to the show.”