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In 2015, The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) laid out a two-year strategic blueprint for the society that included seven key goals. Two of those goals — building positive relationships and providing professional growth opportunities — felt especially palpable at the 2018 ASPE Convention & Expo held at the Georgia World Congress Center, September 28-October 3 in Atlanta. If such energy continues, ASPE has the potential to head in a pioneering direction over the next two years.
One of the most notable occurrences at this year’s convention was the appointment of the society’s youngest and first woman president of the board of directors — Carol Johnson, a columnist for Plumbing Engineer. A long-time active ASPE member and leader, Johnson was officially sworn in at the convention Breakfast Award Ceremony & Keynote Address on October 1 and will serve in the role from 2018-2020.
Other highlights from the ceremony included the presentation of the Kenneth G. Wentik Award of Excellence to Christoph Lohr, a Plumbing Engineer writer; honoring Women of ASPE (WOA) Chair Sarah Balz with the Distinguished Service Award; and recognition of the team leading Hunter’s Curve research with the Award for Scientific Achievement.
Before the awards ceremony, a variety of meetings, workshops and forums were held. On September 28, WOA brought in a series of speakers to present to about 50 attendees at its Leadership Forum. The line-up of speakers included Jason Gonzalez, Delta Faucet; Cyndi Wentland, CLW Performance Solutions; Judaline Cassidy, Tools & Tiaras Inc.; Paul Lorentz, Affiliated Engineers; Candy Barone, You Empowered Strong; and Sarah Balz, Affiliated Engineers. At the forum, Delta Faucet also renewed its WOA annual sponsorship. WOA also traveled to Mableton, Ga., to volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Atlanta in a service project.
The ASPE Young Professionals convened its official meeting September 29. The group reviewed lessons learned since its last national convening in 2016, focusing on fundraising and networking efforts. Officially sponsored by Zurn, the group is working on innovative ways to use the funds to attract and retain new members. Members also gathered informally for a networking event at Top Golf.
Partnership was a theme and focus of this year’s convention and expo. For the first time, ASPE co-located the event with the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA). As a part of this partnership, the expo floor featured a Rainwater Harvesting Pavilion and ARCSA hosted workshops during the convention.
Also at the trade show, ASPE signed a new Memorandum of Understating (MoU) with ASHRAE to formalize the organizations’ relationship. The agreement defines parameters on how the two societies will collaborate more closely to continue promoting general advocacy, research, technical committee coordination, joint conferences and meetings, training and education programs, publication distribution and chapter collaboration.
The joint expo attracted more than 300 exhibitors this year, ranging from manufacturers and suppliers, engineering firms and media outlets. Manufacturers launched new products, showcased building information and specifying technology, and announced coming connectivity and integration software.
Innovative Products on Display
GF Piping’s booth focused on making engineers lives easier. The company officially unveiled its Cool-Fit plastic piping system at the expo. This system features insulation , rust and scale prevention, temperature consistency, and installation simplification. The company will be expanding the system with controls and valves soon, with the goal of developing a total automation system shortly.
Holdrite showcased its fire protection capabilities on the expo floor. The latest generation of its HydroFlame Firestop System was on display, highlighting its ability to hold back fire and smoke for up to three hours. The sleeves in the system are designed to go around every pipe and can be adjusted to address all sizes. Later this quarter, the company will launch fire caulk and fire wrap strip offerings.
RectorSeal also spotlighted a fire protection offering. The company’s CID Cast-In-Place device prevents the spread of fire from through-penetration services in concrete floors. The major product focus for RectorSeal at the expo, however, was its new Triple Guard Active, an automatic appliance leak shut-off technology. Designed to protect against damaged caused by leaking water heaters, washing machines or any other appliances, when a leak is detected, the automatic intake shut-off activates to close off the water source.
Aquatherm’s efforts centered on highlights from its fall BIGGExchange event in Germany and promotion of its recently launched “TechTV” free video series. Hosted by Aquatherm’s Chief Technology Officer Jim Paschal, P.E., the series of short videos presents information on aspects of designing, installing and maintaining systems using the company’s polypropylene pipe.
Zurn’s booth centered on its new project specification software, InSpec. The software was designed to simplify specifying projects by offering collaboration capabilities and a range of advanced plumbing products accompanied by critical details, product name and parts all in one place. There are already 300 projects using the software.
Bradford White focused on its ElectriFlex Series at the expo. On the market a few years, this series of water heaters offers flexible solutions for commercial electric applications, including light-, medium- and heavy-duty models. Also, the line features kits that make conversions easy for installers at the supply house and in the field.
Victaulic spotlighted its domestic water piping systems. The theme of the company’s booth was, “if you have a pipe, we have a flow a joint control solution for it.” Offerings highlighted included CPVC, PVC, HDPE, stainless steel, copper, galvanized carbon steel and PRV stations.
Navien’s booth showcased its NFB. The high-efficiency condensing heating boiler features a patented stainless-steel heat exchanger that eliminates high-stress point welds, includes advanced user interface and controls with intuitive text display and exclusive NaviLink Wi-Fi remote control and built-in hardware to connect a boiler system pump, three-zone pumps or three-zone valves.
T&S Brass highlighted its sensor technology — ChekPoint. The line of faucets features above-deck electronic control modules with internal flow control switches for adjusting auto time-out and shut-off delay settings.
Viega’s VIPTool Engineering technology was a hit at its booth. The software allows for the planning of safe and reliable building services, from the draft to the implementation planning, while automatically taking current standards and legal foundations into account. All modules are compatible with each other and have a uniform operating concept. Already released in other countries, the software is currently being converted from the metric system.
Uponor’s BIM offering was an attraction at its booth. Through a partnership with UNIFI Labs, the UNIFI Connect portal provides secure workflow for inserting accurate Uponor content directly into Autodesk Revit models in real time. Designers can simultaneously browse content from internal, firm-based libraries when searching for Revit content to place in projects. Uponor also promoted a press adaptor that will be released this month.
Eemax focused on its design strengths at the expo. The company’s Parabolic Heat Design (PhD) offers fast speed to temp, precise temperature control and less wasted energy. Actively controlling energy usage and temperature, PhD helps with meeting safety standards and preventing overshoot and low pressure drop. In the first quarter of 2019, the company will be releasing a new electric tankless water heater.
MIFAB highlighted its new foray into hydronics at the expo. HydroMax is a siphonic roof drainage system. The system was developed to advance siphonic principles to create a powerful way to remove rainwater from a roof. Using small-diameter pipework running at full-bore flow, HydroMax provides 10 times more flow capacity than an equivalently sized gravity system on a single-story building.
With hundreds of exhibitors and nearly the same amount of attendees, it was impossible to see it all. Nonetheless, it was inspiring to see the changes taking place in the profession and learning about some of the new products in the industry. The next ASPE Convention & Expo will take place in New Orleans in 2020.