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January 2013

Pre Con: TMS to Deliver Global Material

By Sarah Beauchamp, Assistant Editor


precon
International Needs
Delegates from nearly 70 countries convene at the TMS Annual Meeting.

Meeting

TMS (The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society) 2013 Annual Meeting & Exhibition, to be held March 3–7 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. At the international forum, more than 4,000 materials scientists and engineers working in all levels of industry, government, and academia from more than 68 countries will gather to “share research, network, and grow professionally,” said Louise Wallach, TMS's senior manager for events, programming, and sales.

Challenges

As with other conferences that have seen growth in the past few years, space is an issue for TMS's 2013 Annual Meeting. “Having signed multiyear contracts,” Wallach said, “it has been challenging to fit the current conference into the space that we reserved. TMS technical programming has grown significantly in the last five years. Although this growth has been a positive movement for TMS, it has created a space-intensive meeting.”

However, space may not be an issue if significant numbers of attendees are unable to show because of recent changes in federal legislation. “We are seeing and experiencing the impact of recent federal legislation imposing budget and travel cuts for government employees,” Wallach said. “National labs and government researchers, scientists, and engineers represent a key group of members and participants in TMS events.”

In May 2012, TMS joined more than 2,000 other associations — including PCMA — in signing an open letter sent by ASAE to Congress that expressed concern over the effects such legislation would have on government scientists' ability to interact with peers from private industry and universities. “Permitting federal employees to participate in scientific meetings allows them to interact with their counterparts and colleagues from other federal agencies, universities, and industries,” Wallach said, “to help facilitate technology transfer and achievements that are central to their jobs.”

Initiatives

“We draw participants from all over the world,” Wallach said. And with 3,800 technical presentations and 330 technical sessions happening over the course of four days, making that one crucial professional connection can be like finding a diamond in the rough. “We want to provide more opportunities for our attendees to network,” Wallach said. “Even though this will increase expenses, we feel that creating these opportunities and resulting value is essential. Many attendees only see some of their colleagues at the Annual Meeting.”

Among TMS's goals this year is to “increase collaboration and interaction across our key Annual Meeting areas, including educational programming, exhibiting, and other activities,” Wallach said. A Materials Innovation Learning Center (MILC), for example, will feature “hands-on demonstrations of materials software and data/information systems by our technical experts,” Wallach said, “as well as informal discussion areas to meet and interact with leaders and other experts in [materials innovation] research and engineering.”

TMS will also add to its technical content this year, offering several symposiums with “internationally recognized thought leaders in materials science,” Wallach said, including Jeffrey Wadsworth, president and CEO of the Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit science and technology research organization, who will discuss “Global R&D Trends — Implications for Material Sciences.” “With 50 percent of the total attendance being outside of the U.S.,” Wallach said, “we consider this when planning all events, as we strive to create a conference experience that resonates with global audiences.”

More information on TMS' Annual Meeting & Exhibition

Convene's Pre Con/ Post Con series asks meeting planners about their challenges and how they intend to address them (Pre Con), and then circles back around after the meeting has occurred (Post Con) to see how well they worked out. 

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