CONFERENCES: AWWA Holds Successful ACE12 in Dallas
Jul 26, 2012
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) held its Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE12) in Dallas, Texas June 10-13, gathering water professionals from across the country and the globe to see the latest products and services available and to discuss some of the major issues across the industry.
The annual water event featured more than 100 professional sessions comprising of more than 550 presentations. More than 500 service providers exhibited at the event, showcasing the latest developments in all aspects of the water community.
Speaking before an estimated crowd of 2,000 water professionals during a packed opening general session, Jerry Stevens, AWWA immediate past-president, urged attendees to renew their commitment to assuring safe water and reliable service for future generations.
“The American Water Works Association has a long and renowned history of serving and protecting the public health, a record we all can and should be proud of,” Stevens said. “Now it is our turn to continue that work and make sure that the highest water quality is preserved for future generations.”
Among the hot topics on the exhibition floor was efficiency, particularly on the side of energy efficiency, operations and maintenance, and billing and work order efficiency. Water meters and products and services related to water loss management were also a hot topic. Companies and service providers stressed the importance of new technology and how utilities can utilize it to make the best decisions possible in terms of managing resources and spending for infrastructure projects in a climate where budgets are stretched thin.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and well-known Washington, D.C. pundit Steve Roberts also gave keynote speeches during the show, providing insight into the U.S. political landscape leading up to the fall 2012 presidential election. Roberts commented on advantages and disadvantages for each major candidate and discussed the difficulty in getting people to pay for needed water infrastructure upgrades.
“You can make the case for public health protection or increased economic activity, but part of the problem you run into, is that Americans are profoundly ambivalent…on the issue of government spending,” Roberts said.
In addition, attendees also had the opportunity to hear from the 2012 Water Industry Lunch Speaker, Emmitt Smith. Smith, a three-time Super Bowl champion, is an active and forward-thinking businessman. Currently, Smith is the majority partner and co-chairman of ESmith Legacy, Inc., a Dallas-based commercial real estate and investment company that delivers real estate solutions and services for both general and minority market development.
Several individual awards were given out at the event. Among them was the A.P. Black Research Awardee, presented to Dr. Steve E. Hrudey. The award, established in 1967 in honor of Alvin P. Black, is given in recognition of outstanding research contributions to water science and water supply over an appreciable period of time. Dr. Mark LeChevallier, director of innovation and environmental stewardship for American Water in Voorhees, N.J. was awarded the Abel Wolman Award of Excellence.
Many companies displayed extravagant booth set-ups, complete with software and product demonstrations. “Best in Show” small booth category winners were Niagara Conservation (first place), Olameter (second place) and Aquatherm (third place). Medium booth category winners were Trojan Technologies (first place), Ameron (second place) and GE Water and Process Technologies (third place). Large booth category winners were Mueller Co. (first place), Xylem Inc. (second place) and American Cast Iron Pipe (third place).
The Fremont Department of Utilities of Fremont, Neb., won the annual “Best of the Best” Water Taste Test contest, composed of regional winners from water-tasting competitions across North America. This is the eighth year AWWA has held the national competition.
After a successful 2012 show, water professionals are looking ahead to next year’s AWWA ACE13 which will be held in Denver, Colo., June 9-13.