The first quarter of 2012 has come and gone rather quickly it seems. Time flies when you are having fun, as the old adage says. Here are a few exerpts of the fun we have had at Trade Shows during the first quarter of the year.
IMBC Jan 30 – Feb 1, Fort Lauderdale, FL
This was our first time to attend the International Marina and Boatyard Conference. It was great to meet the marina association members. Gary enjoyed seeing new faces versus the West coast marinas and expanding our network. Disney World is a great place to hold a conference.
M-PACT March 13-15, Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN
What a blast we had in Indianapolis! This year’s M-PACT Show was informative, friendly and engaging as always. We spent time with OmegaFlex and clients, and really enjoyed the city. At our booth, we played our Ohio AB Operator Training course, and answered questions about it and our other training offerings and services. The shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s Steak House really is legendary and you must try it. We visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and enjoyed the history of the city. A great part of Wednesday was the time set aside after the trade show, before dinner. We enjoyed being hosted at SIGMA‘s Reception. Mo’s… A Place for Steaks‘ Lobster Mac and Cheese was my favorite, ever, and I can see why so many groups from M-PACT kept heading back there.
National Tanks Show March 19-21, St. Louis, MO
The EPA National Tank Conference is always the center of the “tank universe” in March of every year. 2012 was no different. This year the buzz was centered on two issues; the upcoming UST Operator Training Regulations and the proposed EPA UST Regulatory changes (currently in the comment phase).
There was a significant amount of discussion on how to best implement the new training regulations. These debates included the merits of classroom vs. web-based training. Many owners are also exploring the out-sourcing of the Class B Operator role to a third-party. In many cases, the third-party Class B Operator can provide the owner with a level of objectivity not attainable from an in-house employee. This individual can also be charged with providing value-added services such as compliance testing, inspections, alarm response, etc.
Scott Brehmer attended the session titled 2012: A Tank Odyssey: Demonstrations on Emerging Digital Solutions for UST Compliance Management. He said it was an interesting format, sort of like speed dating. They had 6 round tables set up and at each table was a private company vendor or a state regulator showcasing their electronic product or website. We spent 12 minutes at each table and then rotated so that we were able to see each vendor by the end of the session. Most of the vendors touched on web-based training or data management systems. It was very informative and great to see folks in our industry pushing boundaries in technology.
Scott also attended the session titled Measuring Progress in the UST Program – What Can We Learn From 10 Years of UST System Testing Data? and said the session included a panel of 3 legends in the tank industry, one of them being Steve Purpora. Some of our current senior employees at Tait were trained by Steve Purpora’s father in the 1970s, so it was great to see his Steve carrying on his father’s legacy. What I took from the session is this – “USTs will leak as much as the regulations allow them to. Untested systems leak more than tested systems.” It’s as simple as that!
We enjoyed meeting the attendees and other vendors throughout the day as they stopped by to learn about our AB Operator Training courses and certification, and about the Fuel System Design and Construction projects we are working on. We enjoyed nice dinner and conversations with our clients at Salt and Ruth’s Chris restaurants. Speaking of food, the luncheon provided at the National Tanks Show was great! Steak and asparagus – I wasn’t prepared for that. I especially enjoyed the apple pie, and ate it first, actually. On the last day, the contest winners were announced and Chris Plassmeyer of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Hazardous Waste Program won the iPod nano we gave away. Congratulations, Chris!
In Chris’s own words, “I was shocked when my name was called out for winning the iPod Nano provided by Tait Environmental Services. I want to say what a great experience the National Tanks Conference was in meeting with contractors and state regulators in the UST world. Also, the seminars during the conference provided invaluable knowledge of current issues and ongoing research in the UST field.
I spoke with Michele Piazza of NEIWPCC, who said, “2012 was the best yet. We had exhibitors gold level and regular; I think everyone really enjoyed meeting each other and having the converstaitons they were able to have during the sessions and in the exhibit hall hours. Logistically, we had 643 attendees, 282 private and the rest were Federal, State or Tribal attendees. There were 30 posters, 41 exhibitors and the exhibit raffle was hugely successful. The feedback we have gotten was great, and we look forward to the next show in 2013.”
Tait will be at many more trade shows this year, and we look forward to seeing you there. If you will be attending any of the following upcoming shows this May, please let us know.
TCEQ Environmental Trade Fair and Conference, May 1-2, 2012 at the Austin Convention Center
TPCA (now TFFA) Southwest Fuel and Convenience Expo, May 6-8, 2012 at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas, TX