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Report from Southern Metal Finishing Conference
by Ted Mooney

Finishing.com attended and exhibited at the Southern Metal Finishing conference in Charleston SC on August 6th through 8th for the third consecutive year. Charleston is a wonderful tourist destination, even the 3rd time around, with an aquarium, harbor boat rides, carriage rides, unequaled historical & house tours, and great dining all within easy walking distance. The conference took place at the recently renovated Embassy Suites, restored from the original Citadel, in the heart of the historic district.

The social part of the conference started with a golf tournament on Sunday followed by a combination pub crawl - scavenger hunt in the evening. Monday was the start of a two-day course on powder coating, attended by about 45 people, and an AESF-sponsored course on Innovative Pollution Prevention. Tabletop exhibition space sold out early, with about 20 exhibitors. The conference appeared to be attended by about 150 people. A cocktail party on Monday featured an entertaining slide show of Sunday's scavenger hunt, just embarrassing enough to get the participants drinking again. Most of the speakers, exhibitors, and organizers arranged to go out to dinner en masse, resulting in a continued great spirit of camaraderie for the conference.

The Tuesday luncheon featured Jerry Beck, the North American finishing manager for Schneider Electric (parent company of Square D), as keynote speaker on globalization. It was half terrifying, half inspirational, but wholly eye-opening. -- TM


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