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International Emerging Technology Symposium Provides Glimpse to the Future

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Those who were unable to attend the International Emerging Technology Symposium, a forward-glimpsing clearinghouse of ideas and solutions presented by plumbing industry leaders and co-convened by IAPMO and the World Plumbing Council on Aug. 19-20, are able to view the entire event online.

A host of innovators and industry heavyweights gathered in Chicago to present future solutions to today’s challenges within the manufacturing, engineering and trade industries as they pertain to water and energy conservation, sanitation and health, renewable energies and the sustainability of the environment. The two-day event presented an often sobering picture of dwindling resources, but offered great promise for the future, carried forward by an industry well prepared to lead the charge toward healing the planet.

“Our hopes and goals in approaching this symposium were to bring together the best and brightest minds in the plumbing industry, the experts in environmentally-conscious plumbing system design, installation and maintenance,” said IAPMO Executive Director Russ Chaney, “but the level of determination and committed involvement we received from this top echelon of the industry was truly remarkable. It far surpassed my greatest expectations.”

The international panel shared ideas and compared experiences based upon differing geographic and economic concerns, bringing to light a world in which one country’s or continent’s imminent crisis is another’s triumph — and how the two can learn from each other.

“I think while people in the industry believe that water saving is very much on the mind of the U.S. public, I’m not quite sure it is,” said Jeff Patchell, publisher of World Plumbing Review. “Only in the last 18 months in Australia, after more than a decade of trying, the penny has finally dropped; water efficiency is a mandatory thing going forward. I think (America’s) tipping point may be two or three years away, but you’ll know when it happens. All of a sudden, everything you’re doing is almost imploding into one point that unless it’s got a water saving aspect to it, you don’t even try. I think (the U.S. plumbing) industry has to do everything it can to bring it together and work as one. This symposium has been a great start to that.”

Stephen L. Johnson, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, delivered a keynote address that was right on point, commending the organizers and participants for taking up the challenge on their own.

“As I look at it, it’s one thing for policy makers in Washington D.C. to talk about the challenges of water quantity and water quality,” Johnson said. “It’s a whole different thing to have the leaders of both manufacturers and the actual installers taking hold and wanting to commit to these new technologies — new technologies that are good for the consumer, good for the environment and good for our economy.”

A series of Webinars archiving the symposium will soon be available for viewing online at IAPMO’s YouTube Channel. In the meantime, please direct your Web browser to www.iapmovideos.com to watch interviews with participants, organizers and panelists conducted during the event. For more information, please contact Maria Sol Alba at (708) 995-3005 or Career.Services@iapmo.org.

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