By Clay Stevens, president, International Exposition Co.

Chem ShowIt seems that whenever I have discussions with processing professionals about their biggest challenges, the need for ongoing education and training always ranks near the top. In fact, a recent survey on 2012 Planned Spending & Initiatives by Plant Services magazine found that training ranked third, just behind “reduce operating costs,” as the most important key initiatives.

This is not surprising news, as I’m sure most of us would agree that there is a tremendous need among processing professionals for continuing education and training. This is especially true for engineers and production/plant personnel who are constantly challenged to fill the void between theoretical education and the practical demands of applied process engineering. In addition to trying to stay up-to-speed with the latest industry trends and new technologies, they must also be aware of new and changing environmental standards and government regulations.

I’ve seen a variety of research studies that have been conducted over the years documenting how important continuing education is to enhancing an employee’s value and to increasing a company’s productivity. One recent White Paper on Operational Excellence In Process Industries concluded that people needed to be empowered and trained to successfully perform their job functions.

That’s why many companies are investing heavily in training. To meet this need for more and better ongoing education, many processing companies are using a variety of training techniques, including more online and digital initiatives.

However, thousands of processing professionals have discovered that perhaps the most effective method of learning is through insightful classroom sessions combined with hands-on experience. I’m referring to the thousands of engineers and other production personnel who have attended the CHEM SHOW over the years and have benefited from what we refer to as the classroom and show floor experience.

This year’s CHEM SHOW in New York City, Dec. 10-12, will be especially valuable to processing professionals as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has created a multi-faceted educational conference featuring solutions-focused seminars, workshops and tutorials. As a global organization with more than 40,000 members in 92 countries, the organization’s AIChE Northeast Manufacturing Conference at the CHEM SHOW will feature leading industry experts presenting valuable insights and information specifically geared toward engineers working in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and other process industries.

Conference sessions will address energy-savings and efficiency, environmental issues, new and improved operating equipment, environmental health and safety, and a variety of other topics of special importance to attendees. Prior to the one-and-a-half day conference will be a day of tutorials that range from engineering fundamentals to plant and equipment basics.

This type of hands-on learning experience is especially valuable to younger engineers and other processing professionals who are new to the industry and may not have had an opportunity to see it all up close and personal. In fact, there is nowhere else in North America that they can experience such a vast array of equipment from over 300 exhibitors.

I have talked to many CHEM SHOW attendees over the years that said they walked right from these educational sessions to the Show floor where they could actually see and experience the technology that was just discussed in the seminar they attended. In many cases, they also discovered solutions that improved their companies’ productivity and/or resulted in energy and cost savings.

For information on exhibiting or attending the 2013 CHEM SHOW, visit

• See the latest process equipment, systems and products from leading suppliers.

• Discover cost-effective solutions and innovative technologies from the experts.

• Learn how to increase process efficiency, reduce costs and be more green and sustainable in your operations in comprehensive educational programs.