VMA staff and volunteers organizing the first Valve Basics Seminar & Exhibition suspected attendance would be high, but the strong showing exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. In fact, during the last two weeks before the event, held Oct. 29 at the Sheraton Brookhollow Hotel in Houston, TX, the Valve Manufacturers Association had to close its online registration site because the room reached capacity.
The day featured five hours of “Valves & Actuators 101” instruction by a team of VMA volunteers (see acknowledgements at end of article). Based on the evaluations received, attendees were most receptive to the presentations, which included an industry overview, quarter-turn, multi-turn, check, pressure-relief and control valves, and actuators. One young attendee wrote on her evaluation: “As an entry level engineer, this has been a really good and informative session. I appreciate and thank the organizing committee for such a wonderful job.”
These comments reflected the high ratings for the event: 91% gave the seminar either a "4" (59%) or a "5" (32%), based on a scale of "1" (not satisfied) to "5" (extremely satisfied). Asked if they would attend another Valve Ed program on a different topic, nearly all attendees (96%) responded "yes." In addition, 97% said they would recommend the program to others.
“The biggest challenge we had,” said Greg Johnson, chairman of the VMA Education & Training Committee, and also a presenter, “was too much information to convey in the time allotted.” The committee met following the event and decided to expand the instruction period to six hours when the event is next held, and to delete some of the “too technical” information so as to keep the focus squarely on the basics. VMA hopes to develop a Valves & Actuators 201 and other basic programs in the future.
Two Basics Programs Scheduled for 2010
The success of the event and the clear need for training on valve fundamentals led to an immediate decision by VMA’s Education & Training Committee to hold two programs this year. The first will take place on May 20 in the Philadelphia area, while the second is scheduled for Oct. 28 in Baton Rouge, LA. The locations were selected because of their proximity to a large number of industrial plants and facilities that use valves, actuators and controls; users, along with distributors/manufacturers representatives, specifying engineers, students/recent grads and other industry newcomers are among the groups that will be targeted for attendance.
The venues are currently being finalized. Online registration for the May event in Philadelphia is expected to open by late January. Those interested in attending can go to VMA.org for more information.
Thanks to our presenters and committee members…
A number of volunteers have poured an enormous amount of blood, sweat and tears into producing the content for VMA’s first Valves & Actuators 101 program. The association wishes to acknowledge and thank this dedicated group of individuals. Presenters included: Greg Johnson, Chairman, United Valve; Leon Brooks, Vice Chairman, Cameron; Ed Holtgraver, Actuator Lead, QTRCO; Paul Souza, AUMA Actuators; Bob Paul, Cameron; Arie Bregman, DFT Valves; and Dan Angelino, Farris Engineering (a div. of CWFC). VMA also would like to thank Education & Training Committee members who participated in preparing the presentations, but were not at the event: Bill Travis, Dresser Consolidated; Glen Menendez, Rotork Controls; and Bill Patrick, Velan.