The 53rd annual Conference of Metallurgists (COM 2014) was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 28 to October 2, 2014. The theme of the conference was Prosperity through Process Advancements and had 13 symposia, all with some processing focus. The conference drew about 650 people, despite the difficult economy, and the sessions and events were well attended. Some highlights of the conference included:
Two short-courses, on applications of vanadium to energy systems and on process control, took place on the weekend before the conference started with the opening reception on Sunday night.
The plenary on Monday morning was a discussion on the balance between operational excellence and step-change technology. This format had four recognized process experts discuss incremental improvements in operations with major new technology implementation. After the opening debate on the balance between the two, the audience was eager to participate with a question and answer period. Following the discussion, the event spilled into the hallways, and echoes of it could be heard all throughout the conference.
Following the plenary, delegates were able to attend the trade show and poster session, as well as two special events. The first was a discussion on the role of extractive metallurgical societies in the changing global landscape, moderated by Gerardo Alvear. Representatives from six societies each gave their responses to a survey that was sent out before the conference and the audience was able to interact throughout the session. The results were tabulated and presented to the luncheon audience by Nathan Stubina. The other special session was on risk management, put on by the Management in Metallurgy section of MetSoc. This had a full audience well engaged for the entire two hours.
Students had special night time events and the industry-student mixer, now in its 17th year, was a great venue for those finishing their theses to discuss job options with members of industry. The banquet on Tuesday night was sold out and was a memorable time, finally winding down after the post after-hours reception.
The COM's main purpose is to provide a forum for learning, and this year, with three honorary symposia dedicated to Professors Bill Davenport, Gilles Allard, and Ram Rao, it also served to recognize those who have spent their careers teaching others. The Davenport symposium, spearheaded by Eric Partelpoeg, also included a pub night, which was sold out long before the start of the conference. All other symposia had very strong technical content, as affirmed by the post-conference survey, and rooms had strong attendance from start to finish. The conference ended with a tour of local laboratories on Thursday.
Thanks to the attendees, all the symposium organizers, the conference organizing committee, Brigitte and Ronona and the rest of the CIM staff. It was nice to leave the conference with a sense that there is a strong community of support for process metallurgy and that MetSoc has helped to maintain the momentum into the future.
Kingston Process Metallurgy