Well, the 2015 International Bridge Conference is now just a memory. Check out my pre-conference blog for some background (if you haven't already). I left #IBC15 with many takeaways, and here are my top four.
- FRP Education and Exposure. The International Bridge Conference allows FRP technology advocates to illustrate the benefits of FRP to the larger bridge community. This year, suppliers and designers of FRP composite products gave eight educational presentations, including topics like pedestrian bridge decks, vehicle bridge decks, rebar, strengthening damaged concrete, pier protection systems, beams, and even floating bridges. Informational opportunities like the IBC continue to expose FRP technology to the mainstream bridge community.
- Networking. Making contacts and building relationships with owners, designers and other suppliers gives FRP advocates many opportunities to share success stories and lessons learned. Even if a prospect doesn't immediately need FRP technology, they'll remember us when they do!
- FRP Industry Planning. Since the conference brings many FRP industry personnel together, it's a great time for our trade association to meet and plan future educational and technical efforts. Last week, the Transportation Structures Council of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (both of which Composite Advantage is a proud member) met to discuss conferences, workshops and standards groups that we should support.
- Frustration with Washington, DC. The continued inability of Congress and the Administration to agree on a long-term transportation bill hangs over the infrastructure world. Meanwhile, bridges and other infrastructure continue to deteriorate and DOTs and other agencies can't make any long-term plans or start new projects. Additionally, very few DOT representatives have funds available to attend events like the International Bridge Conference. DOT engineers then miss out on the latest and greatest industry information while suppliers like us lose an opportunity to inform them (our ultimate customers) about new products.
Overall, it was a worthwhile conference and as always, it was great to see old and new friends in a fun city. Did you go? What were your takeaways?
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