To say the ASPE Technical Symposium, held Oct. 1-4 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis, was a whirlwind would be an understatement.
I arrived Thursday evening in time to enjoy the Manufacturer Product Fair held from 5-8 p.m. with appetizers just outside the fair hall. There were 34 exhibitor booths, none of which were showcasing any brand new products. But, exhibitors such as Watts Water Technologies were happy to be there with a demo model of its IntelliStation. I walked the Regency CD Ballroom for nearly all three hours of the Product Fair and there were attendees getting a demonstration each time I passed the booth.
Charlotte Pipe also had a large presence at the Product Fair. I spoke with Vic Hines, a CPD and senior field technical representative with the company, and he said that attending the Technical Symposium is a great time to connect with engineers.
Hines also said Charlotte Pipe is continuing to stress value engineering to current and future engineering clients. “We’re giving them the tools to be successful (with their clients),” he said.
On Friday, ASPE loaded up with marathon sessions for the engineers. There were two, 3-hour blocks. In the morning I attended Madison, Wis.-based Affiliated Engineers’ Sarah Balz, who was pme’s 2014 Plumbing Engineer of the Year, in-depth look at LEED v4. Balz gave a near-full house of attendees a look at the changes from v3 to v4 — which will go into effect Oct. 1, 2016.
In the afternoon, I sat in the audience of a panel discussion on Ethics in Engineering. This was very interesting to listen to as engineers and the plumbing industry in general have a lot to think about in terms of being above-board with their clients, working partners and, maybe most importantly, themselves. For more on this session in particular, check out my Editor’s Note in the November issue of pme. I’m going to be providing a lot more on the subject in that space.
Saturday had four session banks, this time covering an hour-and-15 minutes each. I sat in on the following sessions:
- Top Design Issues for Domestic Hot Water;
- Lessons Learned in Sustainability;
- Navigating the Product Certification Maze; and
- The Diversity Factor in Plumbing: People, Not Fixtures.
Each of these sessions had valuable insights in their own right, but the panel discussion on diversity was enlightening. The panel was conducted by Lindy Damato (CPD with San Francisco-based firm WSP), Erin McConahey (P.E. and Principal with engineering firm Arup) and Stephanie Radel (CPD and Design Services Supervisor with Uponor). Each panelist had their own story about how they’d been either discriminated or put-down during their careers.
The audience was a nice split between genders, maybe 60-40% between women and men. Attendees also told their own stories about how they’d struggled either in offices or, even within ASPE.
One statistic that the panel provided that was startling to see is how in Turkey 27% of women are in the engineering field compared to just 10.2% in the U.S.
“There is a lot of conscious bias in the U.S. for women not to go into math and science,” McConahey said.
I have a lot more to say on this panel and I think I’ll dive into in more depth in my Editor’s Note in the December edition of pme. For a full ASPE Technical Symposium recap make sure to read the November issue of pme.