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VMA Seeks to Fill Education Void with ‘Valve Ed’

valve_ed_logoGot valve education? The Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA) does—and you can get a first-hand look at what the association has to offer at the Valve Basics Seminar & Exhibition, Oct. 29, 2009 in Houston, TX. This new event serves as the official launch of “Valve Ed,” VMA’s educational program stressing valve and actuator fundamentals. Attendees, many of whom are expected to come from plants and industrial facilities around the Houston area, will be the first to view the new Valves 101 and Actuators 101 educational programs.

Why a valve basics event?

The industries that use (and manufacture) valves are losing more and more experienced personnel to retirement. Today’s high school and college graduates typically don’t think about seeking employment in heavy industry, so finding workers to replace retirees is challenging. The problem is huge and affects far more than just the valve industry and its users. Solving this dilemma will surely take more resources than any one organization has available (though the National Association of Manufacturers’ is doing its part with the Dream It! Do It! campaign).

As for those individuals who do get hired or are looking for jobs in the industries that use valves, where does their training come from? While major end-user companies may offer valve training to their employees and some valve and actuator manufacturers provide specialized training on their products, a void seems to exist when it comes to basic, entry-level training on valves and related products. Filling that void is VMA’s mission.

With this in mind, two years ago the VMA Board of Directors approved the development of an education and training program, activated an Education & Training Committee, and decided to run the program under the auspices of the Friends of the Crawford Library, Inc. (FOCL), a non-profit organization made possible through a grant from the Crawford Family Foundation of Chicago, led by valve industry leader and philanthropist William F. Crawford. To help support the continued development of Valve Ed, the FOCL is seeking contributions from companies and individuals who recognize the importance of providing affordable industry education. (For more information, visit the Valve Education page on VMA.org and scroll down to the section on “Your Support Will Help Us Expand Valve Ed!)

In addition to the upcoming conference and exhibition, the Valve Ed program will also include:

  • Stand-alone training CDs containing PowerPoint presentations and print manuals, beginning with Valves 101 and Actuators 101 available in late 2009. (Additional topics will be launched in subsequent years.)
  • Article compilations from Valve Magazine; the “Back to Basics” series is the first of these compilations and is now available for purchase (click here for details).
  • Education sessions taught by experienced industry volunteers at major industry trade shows and conferences.
  • A Valve Education section on VMA.org to alert the industry about education-related events, products, articles of interest, FOCL contributors and more.
  • Online training to suit the learning style of the younger generation.
  • Connecting with universities and technical schools to offer basic valve education in a more formalized setting.

Back to the seminar...

The Valve Basics Seminar is designed for a broad audience seeking basic information on valves and actuators, including end users, specifying engineers, sales personnel, distributors and others. Industry newcomers and those needing a “refresher” on the fundamentals should find the instruction particularly helpful.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., president, United Valve, and chairman of VMA’s Education & Training Committee, is guiding the development of the Valves 101 seminar. He says that attendees will learn about:

  • Basic valve types, including gate, globe, check, ball, butterfly, plug, control and pressure relief
  • The applications for which each type is generally used
  • Valve standards and how they apply
  • Basic piping information and application issues critical to effective valve specifications and usage.

The Actuators 101 session, according to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., CEO, QTRCO, Inc., and E&T committee member, will cover:

  • The various actions—such as linear, rotary, etc.—that are used to operate different valve types
  • Available actuator options, including electric, pneumatic, hydraulic and more
  • The variations, characteristics and technical considerations involved in actuator operations.

Visit the “valve petting zoo”


The event, which takes place at the Sheraton Houston Brookhollow Hotel, begins at 8:00 am and concludes at 6:00 pm on Thursday, Oct. 29. A full-day registration, which includes two 2½-hour educational sessions and all meal functions, is $275. Half-day registration ($150) and exhibit-only entry ($75) are also available. For complete program details, both prospective attendees and exhibitors can go to: VMA.org > Events > Valve Basics Seminar.

Share your thoughts

Valve Ed is a work in progress, and future development of the program will depend on what is most needed by those who work in the industries that use and make valves. To provide you with an opportunity to discuss industry education and training, we’ve set up an Education link in the Valve Industry Blog. Here are a few examples of subjects you might want to discuss:

  • Do you agree that the industry is in need of more basic education? Where is the need most acute?
  • Do you think it makes sense to have 1-day educational events in various locations around the country where valve-intensive industries are located?
  • Would you be interested in a multi-day valve training course?
  • Is there a need for a certification program, such as Valve Specialist or Actuator Specialist?
  • What topics would you like to see developed into educational products?
  • How do you like to learn about subjects that relate to your work: In group sessions with presenters? Working through a printed manual? Viewing a CD at your computer? Interactive online instruction?

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is associate publisher/editor in chief of Valve Magazine and also serves as project manager for the FOCL/VMA Education & Training Program.




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