Plumbing engineers and designers are gathering in San Diego this month for the American Society of Plumbing Engineers’ 2021 Tech Symposium. The professional development event will be held Sept. 22-26 at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, where attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an array of events geared to their industry and network.
The conference includes a two-and-half day technical education program with more than 30 sessions covering plumbing design topics, and a two-day product show where attendees can obtain answers to their specification and application questions about products and services. Special events include a Friday night reception hosted by Charlotte Pipe & Foundry Co., and two events hosted by ASPE Young Professionals: a Leadership Academy and a networking outing.
Plumbing Engineer recently spoke with Billy Smith, FASPE, executive director and CEO of ASPE, who gave an update on the organization and what to expect at this year’s symposium as well as the biennial convention in 2022.
Amalia Deligiannis: What are some of the challenges ASPE faced over the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Billy Smith: Wow! What a time of change the past 15 months has brought to ASPE and the plumbing engineering industry as a whole. The society weathered the pandemic storm quite well. Our membership numbers remain stable and, in some regions, we’ve actually increased our membership.
That alone shines a light on what a tremendous value ASPE is to our industry. More importantly, however, is the value our current members see in retaining their memberships and the benefits our new members see in joining ASPE, even during this pandemic.
Deligiannis: What successes has ASPE had during the pandemic?
Smith: One of the most successful items the society has brought to our chapters is the ability to hold Chapter Technical Meetings virtually as the chapters were required to stop holding face-to-face meetings.
We decided to provide our membership with the same opportunities they desire and need to remain a credentialed member and provide continuing education through their respective chapters without missing a beat. That is always ASPE’s goal, to provide our membership and industry the best education available in the industry.
Deligiannis: How is membership and the association faring overall?
Smith: Due to the excellent governance of ASPE’s board of directors and guidance and implementation by its ED/CEO and staff, proper decisions were made to ensure that the society remained stable, and ensure our membership remained stable with continued growth opportunities. ASPE remains on solid footing and primed to continue advancing forward.
This involved some heavy lifting by those who love ASPE most and we are better for the efforts.
Deligiannis: For our readership who aren’t ASPE members, what can ASPE offer them to encourage them to join the association?
Smith: If they have a desire to continue advancing their career via the best education, networking and growth opportunities with industry experts and colleagues, becoming an ASPE member is essential, considering it is the international organization for professionals skilled in the design, specification and inspection of plumbing systems.
ASPE is dedicated to the advancement of the science of plumbing engineering, to the professional growth and advancement of its members and the health, welfare and safety of the public. To assist your readership who are not members of ASPE, the society disseminates technical data and information, sponsors activities that facilitate interaction with fellow professionals and, through research and education, expands the base of knowledge of the plumbing engineering industry.
Society members are leaders in innovative plumbing design, effective materials and energy use, and the application of advanced techniques throughout the world. In addition, our website has a tremendous amount of continuing education opportunities, an endless supply of helpful tools available to all our current members and chapters alike to help them excel in their careers.
The ASPE “Connect” Community has been an outstanding addition to the communications and networking opportunities we continue to bring to our industry through advanced technologies our industry so desires. All these beneficial products, tools and communication advancements are what makes ASPE so valuable to our current and prospective membership.
And your readers can bring these benefits into their career-advancing efforts as well. They’ll simply need to join ASPE to gain the those benefits.
Deligiannis: What are you doing to encourage membership growth?
Smith: First and foremost, taking care of our loyal members who have and still do see the benefit and value in ASPE. Our stability during the pandemic brings evidence of that while we’ve increased our educational and certification opportunities over the past year. This ensures that we are not just taking care of our members, but the plumbing engineering design profession as a whole.
Advancing our communications within the industry has been successful over the past year and will continue to grow. Our growing digital communication vehicle, The ASPE Pipeline, brought additional opportunities for our members, our industry partners and our affiliates to provide valuable input and important technical education marketing opportunities to the industry.
Deligiannis: What is planned for this year’s ASPE Tech Symposium?
Smith: As to our 2021 Technical Symposium, we plan to provide an outstanding track of technical sessions to advance the knowledge of ASPE’s members. We will also provide an expanded product show which will cover two days.
Our affiliate members have really shown their desire to support and be a part of ASPE’s Technical Symposium. They plan to be on-site to see everyone there. The unwavering support that ASPE gains through our industry partners and affiliates is based on long-time relationships that never waver. We bring benefit to their participation and they bring benefit to ASPE with participation. We are here for each other.
Deligiannis: What are some hot topics and key focus points for this year’s symposium?
Smith: The best way to find out all that is being planned for the 2021 Technical Symposium is to check out the ASPE Technical Symposium webpage at www.aspe.org/2021-tech-symposium.
Deligiannis: Looking forward to 2022, what can the industry expect at the ASPE Convention?
Smith: Oh, we are excited to see everyone in Indianapolis in 2022 for the ASPE Convention and Expo. It will be held Sept. 16-21, 2022. We’ve already begun the planning, as if that ever really stops. Our exhibit floor space is already booming with our loyal affiliate and exhibitor base. No surprise there!