We are pleased to report that the 2012 ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium (WWAC Symposium) enjoyed record attendance numbers this year. Held in Orlando, Florida, USA on 7–9 August at the Holiday Inn Castle Hotel, the symposium boasted over 165 attendees. The record attendance numbers, which are more than triple the numbers of past years, highlight the growing importance of automation and cyber security in the municipal water/wastewater sectors. The surge in attendance is also a testament to the symposium’s renewed focus on today’s challenges in automation, instrumentation and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) for this important aspect of our public infrastructure.
Additionally, the symposium’s full day short course on cyber security, which included guidance on how to set up an effective cyber security risk management programs, boasted over 35 attendees from water utilities from across the United States.
Now in its seventh year, the ISA water/wastewater symposium is experiencing a new-found growth in popularity thanks to newly-formed alliances with the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FSAWWA), the Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA) and the National Rural Water Association (NRWA). By forming strong partnerships with other associations, the symposium has been able to reach out to automation, instrumentation and SCADA professionals across the industry. For members of these associations, the symposium represents targeted professional development, training, and networking opportunities that they could not find elsewhere.
“Our secret is our focus,” says Bob Lindeman, the 2012 President of the ISA. “Our annual WWAC Symposium specifically caters to the needs of professionals involved with automation, instrumentation and SCADA in the municipal water and wastewater sectors. It is a niche event and we are proud of its increasing popularity. There is no other event like it in North America.”
The symposium was also specifically positioned so that municipal water and wastewater districts and utilities could easy send their staff. Thanks to the symposium’s sponsors including Schneider Electric, Phoenix Contact, Gray Matter Systems, Honeywell, and Eramosa Engineering, among others, the symposium was able to offer inexpensive training and professional development credits. Additionally, thanks to the symposium’s association partnerships with the AWWA and WEF, attendees were able to gain approved CEUs (continuing education units) and PDHs (professional development hours) that could be used towards continuing education requirements for a wide variety of state-issued operator, engineering and technician licenses.
Attendees were treated to hot breakfasts, fully catered lunches and an exhibitor hall where could learn about new products and services. The symposium’s exhibitors, who were all focused on automation, instrumentation and SCADA, enjoyed the show’s focus and the ability to talk with attendees in a targeted, intimate atmosphere.
With over 30 technical speakers, including a keynote on using automation for asset management and invited talks on cyber security and human-computer interface design, attendees enjoyed the symposium’s technical focus. Attendees also received copies of the proceedings in a bound book and PDF-based digital versions, which made it easy for them to take their new-found knowledge home with them. This in turn was rounded out by the symposium’s tour of the newly constructed Southern Regional Water Supply Facility by the local water utility, Orange County (Florida) Utilities.
In the symposium’s closing remarks, general symposium chair Graham Nasby of Eramosa Engineering, spoke about the need for greater collaboration in the sector. He also talked about the growing importance of automation, instrumentation and SCADA in the municipal water/wastewater sector, and how ISA WWAC symposium is a natural “niche event” that specifically caters to professionals involved with these unique aspects of our collective public infrastructure.
The 2013 ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium will be taking place August 6-8, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. The Call for Abstracts for the 2013 technical program is now available and can be found at www.isawwsymposium.com/call-for-abstracts/