Where the West is Fun

Denver's revitalized downtown and Colorado's stunning scenery welcome the American Society of Safety Engineers' annual conference.

River rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, and ballooning are featured excursions at this year's American Society of Safety Engineers Professional Development Conference and Exposition in Denver. This doesn't mean visitors must be in great shape to enjoy Colorado's mountains and scenery, but it does indicate physical fitness and exercise improve the experience. Happily, the conference is doing its best to highlight the beauty and benefits of our great outdoors.

"Safety 2003--Advancing the EH&S Profession" meets June 22-25 at the Colorado Convention Center. The meeting's program includes many risk management sessions, two to three sessions each day to enhance attendees' career/personal development, several security topics, and a good assortment of construction sessions--including "Effective Training of Non-English Speaking Workers: Language, Literary and Cultural Considerations" at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 25. A full slate of ergonomics, behavior-based safety, industrial hygiene, confined spaces, fall protection, and international issues are offered Monday through Wednesday.

ASSE attributes one new feature, "key issue roundtables," to members' feedback. The five roundtables will be conducted during concurrent session periods. Attendees can share ideas, challenges, and success stories in these moderated sessions, with the results being posted on ASSE's Web site.

"We believe attendees will learn valuable information from these key issue roundtables. They will provide for valuable give and take and allow others to share with their peers what works and what doesn't work in the field of occupational safety, health, and the environment," said Warren K. Brown, CSP, ASSE's council vice president for professional development. "This PDC has something for everyone including small, medium, and large businesses, national and international. It is truly a sharing of the minds from the best in the business."

Denver & Area Attractions
Fast-growing Denver is a young city in terms of its residents' average age and in its own history, having been founded in 1859. The Mile High City is on the high plains of Colorado, about 15 miles east of the mountains that lure skiers by the thousands in winter and hikers in summer. With a population of 554,636 (2000 Census), Denver is the "thinnest" city in America, according to the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, which credits residents' active lifestyle and high education level, the area's weather, and abundant recreational opportunities for the fact less than 20 percent of Colorado adults are overweight.

The city offers a vibrant downtown and plenty of regional attractions, from professional sports to casino gambling (a 40-minute bus ride from Denver to the town of Black Hawk and its Isle of Capri casino costs $10). The local highlights include:

  • Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  • , a 9,000-seat natural outdoor arena carved out of 500-foot-high red sandstone cliffs.
  • The U.S. Mint
  • , where billions of coins are made and free, 20-minute tours are offered on weekdays. It is the second-largest storehouse of gold bullion in the United States after Fort Knox, with a gift shop and museum (call 303-844-3582 for information).
  • Six Flags Elitch Gardens Theme Park
  • , a downtown theme park with rides, gardens, lagoons, and restaurants (303-455-4771).
  • The Coors Brewery
  • , the world's largest single brewery. Free tours show visitors the whole process from brewing to bottling (303-277-2337).
  • Denver Art Museum
  • , said to have one of America's best collections of American Indian art (720-865-5000).

It's hard to classify an airport as a local attraction, but Denver International Airport may qualify. Opened Feb. 28, 1995, at a cost of $4.3 billion, DIA covers 53 square miles. Its radical design stands out and is reminiscent of the nearby mountains or the U.S. Air Force Academy's chapel in Colorado Springs--another featured excursion at the ASSE meeting.

Meeting Highlights
ASSE has more than 30,000 members. It includes 12 practice specialties, 150 chapters, 56 sections, and 64 student sections. Speakers at this year's conference include John L. Henshaw, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA; Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines; and Andrew Razeghi, a motivational speaker whose main topics are growth strategy, innovation, and creativity.

Expo hours are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 22; 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, June 23; and 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24. One feature of the 2003 expo is Startup Park, a section reserved for first-time ASSE exhibitors.

Headquarters hotels for the conference are the Hyatt Regency Denver and the Marriott City Center, both of which are located three blocks from the convention center.

For more information about the annual conference, visit www.asse.org or contact ASSE Customer Service, 1800 E. Oakton St., Des Plaines, IL 60018 (phone 847-699-2929, fax 847-768-3434, or e-mail customerservice@asse.org).

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This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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