Autumn has arrived, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, and with it comes a number of trade shows and conferences that enable fluid and gas flow specialists to learn about new trends and technologies, make or renew contacts with suppliers, and network with potential customers.
One important event, WEFTEC 2014, kicks off on Sept. 27 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans and runs through Oct. 1. WEFTEC -- Water Environment Federation's Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference -- is billed as the largest annual conference, expo, and learning venue for water-quality professionals in North America and one of the biggest in the world, covering a number of areas from potable water infrastructure to wastewater treatment.
As such, it is well worth attending for companies that are active or looking to expand in the growing, dynamic, and global water-treatment markets. In the United States alone, spending on infrastructure projects involving potable water will account for more than $1 trillion between 2010 and 2035 and exceed $1.7 trillion through 2050, according to a study by the American Water Works Association (AWWA).
The AWWA study adds that the $13 billion of current average annual spending in the U.S. on water infrastructure will rise to $30 billion (in 2010 dollars) by the 2040s. This spending will be ongoing to maintain the performance of water systems and meet demand for new infrastructure.
Add to this the need for new and rehabilitated water infrastructure worldwide, especially in developing countries such as China and India, and manufacturers and suppliers of pumps, valves, filtration, and other water process equipment, and the innovative technologies that enhance their performance, are flush with sizeable opportunities well into the future.
WEFTEC, in fact, is promoting global business opportunities at this year's show, along with what organizers describe as "access to the most cutting-edge technologies in the field." A look at the more than 1,000 exhibitors slated to be on hand reveals an impressive list of suppliers to the fluid and gas flow industries, as well as related companies whose products and services support plant operations.
The exhibition, which opens on Sept. 29, will include displays by pump, valve, and motor manufacturers, engineering and consulting firms, contract operators, and lab equipment and services companies.
As trade events go, WEFTEC is relatively small in the number of attendees who are expected -- around 23,000 based on last year's turnout in Chicago, which included 3,400 international attendees from 85 countries. (The recent International Manufacturing Technology Show, also in Chicago, in contrast, drew over 114,000 domestic and international attendees during its six-day stand.)
But small is good, in that it often allows more time with key contacts and less of the hustle and bustle that can leave exhibition booths too crowded for meaningful information gathering and conference sessions too full for one-on-ones with speakers afterward.
The WEFTEC conference and education sessions will cover various operational aspects of a dozen key water and wastewater areas, among them: collection systems; energy conservation and management; plant operations and treatment; regulations; research; water reuse and recycling; and stormwater treatment, infrastructure, and management techniques.
There will, as well, be individual pavilions highlighting important areas of water management, awarding of continuing education credits and professional development hours, and area plant and site tours (though these might, by now, be fully booked).
If you haven't made plans to attend WEFTEC or are sitting on the fence about going to the event, this is your last chance to commit. Even a day or two at the conference and expo would undoubtedly justify the time and expense of travel.
For information and registration, go to www.weftec.org
Vega Leads GE Oil & Gas in Latin America
GE Oil & Gas named Patricia Vega president and CEO of its Latin American operations.
The company supplies fluid and gas flow equipment and technology for energy extraction, refining, storage, transportation, pipeline inspection, power generation, and other uses.
A 20-year veteran of the oil and gas industry, Vega is based in Rio de Janeiro and runs an organization of 5,400 employees. She succeeds João Geraldo Ferreira, who held the job for seven years and has left the company.
Prior to joining GE Oil & Gas, Vega was with Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and other energy companies. She is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
In a statement, Vega says her goals include increasing GE's regional market share, maintaining partnerships with customers, and continuing the development of market-leading technologies.
WEFTEC 2014 is billed as the biggest North American conference and expo for water-quality professionals.