Every other year, members of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) come together to learn about advancements throughout their field and network with members of the industry. While the event has been hosted in many major cities across the U.S., including in St. Louis back in 2015, this year’s event will go somewhere it has never been before: outside the U.S.
From Oct. 19-22, ASPE members will travel to Montreal, Canada for the year’s “premier professional development event for plumbing engineers and designers,” according to the event’s website. Attendees will learn about the latest plumbing system design techniques and are given the chance to gain skills that they can take home with them once the conference has wrapped up.
“We have our board of directors to thank for this opportunity. They agreed and understood the importance of being progressive with our event offerings and also saw the importance of catering to our Canadian members, who have shown great support of ASPE over the years,” says Billy Smith, executive director and CEO of ASPE. “Additionally, we are hopeful that our holding an ASPE event outside of the U.S. will bring about future growth opportunities, especially more new members from Canada.”
Aside from the possibility of growth, ASPE also noted that the popularity of Montreal was a big reason that it was the first destination that would host an ASPE event outside of the U.S.
“Montreal is currently the No. 1 destination in North America for hosting international educational events. This city has continued to outrank some of the major destinations like Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas,” says Stacey A. Kidd, director of membership and meetings for ASPE. “Beyond that, Montreal also continues to rank high in visitor satisfaction, so the city presents the perfect environment for having a successful event.”
With the new destination, comes a new way of teaching attendees during the sessions at the ASPE Tech Symposium.
Each session awards .15 CEUs that can be used for license and certification continuing education requirements. Sessions are split into five groups: Fundamentals, Fire and Line Safety, Materials and Equipment, The Business of Plumbing Engineering, and Designing Across Borders.
Also new this year, some sessions will be hosted in French, the official language in Montreal.
“Through the tireless efforts of our education committee, we will be offering ‘Designing Strategies for PEX Tubing Systems,’ ‘Navigating Canadian Codes and Standards for Non-Metallic Piping,’ and ‘Variable-Speed Pump Selection and Control’ in French,” says Pam Rosenberg, director of education and certification for ASPE. “The education committee worked with experts in Canada and the ASPE chapters in Canada to determine which sessions were previously successful for their members and what would be beneficial to Canadian engineers and designers in general.”
A full list of sessions has been posted on ASPE’s Tech Symposium page; attendees do not need to pre-register for the educational events.
While there will be changes to some of the formats, some popular events will make their way back, too, but with a little twist.
Back in 2007, the ASPE Tech Symposium hosted its first product show, giving attendees the chance to check out new and innovative products. This year, however, will be the first year that the product show will be held over two days.
“We have expanded the product show to a two-day event with expanded hours, allowing exhibitors and their representatives more quality time with the attendees. In addition, our sponsorship packages were expanded and developed to cater to each exhibitor’s needs,” Kidd says.
With the change, the product show is set to be the largest it has ever been.
“Since the inception of the product show, it has doubled in size. Over the years, the manufacturers and manufacturer representatives have come to understand that there is a greater opportunity to spend quality time with the ASPE members who specify their products at the Tech Symposium Product Show,” says Brian Henry, director of Affiliate Relations for ASPE.
Attendees looking to step outside the conference rooms at the Hotel Bonaventure Montreal will have a unique opportunity this year.
ASPE is offering attendees the exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Jean R. Marcotte Wastewater Treatment Plant, the largest wastewater treatment plant in North America and the third largest in the world. Members can attend at various times: 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., both on Saturday, Oct. 21.
“This facility treats 50 percent of the Quebec province’s wastewater and processes anywhere from 2.5 million cubic meters to 7.5 million cubic meters of wastewater per day,” Rosenberg says. “The facility reduces and eliminates harmful chemicals, bacteria, viruses and hormones from the wastewater prior to being flushed into the St. Lawrence River. Each tour is three hours long and provides continuing education credits for attendees.”
This year’s symposium will also feature a workshop on intermediate plumbing system designs. Yet another new feature in this year’s conference, the six-hour-long course allows a group of 20 people the chance to learn about systems that include domestic hot and cold water, natural gas, sanitary waste and vent and storm drainage. The workshop will take place Saturday, Oct. 21.
Even with all the new events at this year’s ASPE Tech Symposium, there will still be a focus on its core mission; bringing together industry members to network and learn from one another. This event just may break more ground on how far it can go in the future.
People can find the full list of exhibitors, and more information for the 2017 ASPE Tech Symposium at 2017tech.aspe.org.