The American Filtration & Separations Society (AFS) hosted its 58th Conference in Houston on May 9-11- six months after its founding and first event in 1988. Over the years, virtually every topic and many locations have hosted the AFS across America for its spring and fall conferences.
As the AFS continues its growth, this spring’s conference in Houston was the most attended in years in spite of the downturn of the oil and gas industry. Activities began with its Short Course format Monday with eight half- and full-day educational courses. Tuesday morning opened with plenary speaker, Larry Ryan, business president of Dow Energy and Water providing a strategic industry overview. Later, luncheon speaker, Klaas De Waal – 2016 AFS chairman and publisher of International Filtration News magazine – spoke. De Waal detailed the recent AFS selection as host of its third World Filtration Congress (the 13th World Filtration Congress / WFC 13) by peer global societies for its continuing excellence and superior proposal. WFC 13 will be hosted in the spring of 2020 in San Diego, with over 1,000 global delegates and a 150 booth Expo anticipated. Wednesday’s plenary speaker, Michael Spearman, detailed the start-up and highly successful sale of his company, Porous Media, to Pentair after 23 years in business along with details of its many successes and struggles along the way. Dr. Scott Northrop from ExxonMobil was the keynoter at the Wednesday luncheon providing an insightful presentation into natural gas recovery filtration & separations.
The 2016 Spring Conference Chair was David Engle of Nexo Solutions, LLC, supported by ten industry stalwarts who developed three concurrent tracks, an expo and other arrangements making this conference one of the best in recent memory. The conference hosted numerous sessions and speakers covering almost everything one would want to know about oil, gas and chemical filtration and separations. Session moderators included: Peter Cartwright, Cartwright Consulting; Maria Anez-Lingerfelt, Pall Corporation; Patrick McGowan, Dow Chemical; Paul Hart, Elements Global; Barry Perimutter, BHS Filtration; Lin Zhao, Dow Chemical; Brad Nelson, Rice University; Jay Stell, Schulz Process Services; Bob Chin, Padden Design Engineering, LLC; Mark Willingham, Filtrate Solutions, LLC; Bill Zavora, Calgon Caebon; Andy Narayanan, Mycelx; and Heath Burns, Nexo Solutions.
The most exciting, new, well-attended event this spring was the first AFS Expo, with booths consisting of AFS corporate and non-sponsors, in over 10 years. In the future, the AFS will be re-instituting booths with an expo each spring and tabletops at its fall conferences at what has become a popular annual filtration media and separation conference oriented toward new and emerging media technologies
Another highlight of the event was new corporate sponsor, Dr. Graham Rideal, of U.K.-based Whitehall Scientific Ltd., dressed as a Blues Brother and playing a pretty jazzy saxophone during the AFS conference reception to the delight of delegates and exhibitors alike. Dr. Graham was “hot” and received an ovation Wednesday at the AFS luncheon for his wonderful musical ability and contribution.
As with all AFS conferences, the AFS hosted a Corporate Sponsors meeting including the introduction of additional new corporate activities and the WFC 13 where further details were provided. The event had plenty of food and drink, and a fun meet & greet event, which now seems to have become an industry tradition for both Corporate Sponsors and non-sponsors seeking to learn more about the AFS.
About the AFS
The American Filtration & Separations Society is the largest filtration society in the world and the principal educator of the industry. The Society hosts semi-annual conferences in support of the industry and infrastructure where filtration and separations are an essential factor in the success of American business and education. www.afssociety.org