In Good Company at ACE'08

I don't know if it was southern charm or warm temperatures, but this year's American Water Works Association's Annual Conference and Exposition was a pleasant experience.

First, my flight from Dallas to Atlanta was ON TIME. Then, the hotel offered me a room with a view (music was everywhere). And finally, the Georgia World Congress Center, still sporting broken panes of glass from the March tornado, was accommodating and comfortable with plenty of seating for weary walkers (a couch, table and chairs right next to our booth).

The exhibition hall actually opened on Sunday afternoon for a few hours. Neighboring exhibitors were friendly; in fact, everyone was polite, even those people you accidentally bump in the aisle. Overall, the general pace seemed less frenetic than other trade shows. Traffic on the floor ebbed and flowed as professional programs and meetings took precedence.

I was able to attend a few meetings, including the U.S. EPA/State Regulatory and Implementation Update featuring Cynthia Dougherty from EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water and Lance Nielsen of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators. They both seemed confident that work was being done to ensure that drinking water is safe. For example, the agency is reviewing comments on its draft contaminant candidate list No. 3 and expects to finalize the list by the summer of 2009. EPA also is reviewing the Safe Drinking Water Act, and Dougherty noted that some revisions may be needed as new science has developed to determine health effects and data has been collected from 45 states plus tribes. The last review only had data from 16 states. Meanwhile, the state group is focusing on system capacity and small systems and encouraging utilities to take an "all hazards approach" to security and natural disaster preparedness.

Back on the exhibit floor, I met with representatives interested in doing something for Water & Wastewater News and wondering how our brand could support them. I found myself appreciating these new and renewed relationships -- all seeking to promote or protect water quality. I really think they are an awesome group of people.

P.S. In an earlier blog on tradeshows, I wondered if contracts are signed on the show floor. At AWWA ACE08, just 15 minutes before the end of the exhibition, a Canadian-based company sealed a deal so large it easily paid for their expenses! Isn't commerce great?

If you attended this show, let us know about your experience. Send e-mail to Lisa Williams.

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Jun 17, 2008


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