Loving Las Vegas

The city's glittering Strip and new monorail beckon attendees to this year's ASSE conference and expo.

The city boasts 130,000 hotel rooms, including nearly 3,000 rooms in the Las Vegas Hilton (this year's official conference hotel) alone. A new monorail links the Las Vegas Convention Center and the adjacent Hilton to eight hotels on the Strip, priced at $3 one way (a 14-minute ride) or $5 round trip. Add glamorous, high-dollar entertainment, a few worthwhile outdoor diversions, and 24/7 activity in the casinos, and this year's American Society of Safety Engineers Professional Development Conference & Exposition looks better than average. The dates are June 7-10 for "Safety 2004: Advancing the EH&S Profession."

The convention center is America's largest convention facility fully equipped to provide wireless communication; attendees can go online without plugging phone lines into their computers or PDAs, MeetingNews magazine reported March 15.

Conference Highlights
Tuesday's General Session from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. includes a keynote presentation by Howard Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek magazine. He'll give his outlook on the heated 2004 presidential race. OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw is scheduled to speak at Tuesday's Plenary Session at 1 p.m.

Leadership advisor Patrick Lencioni is the speaker for Wednesday's General Session (also 7:45 to 9:15 a.m.), where he will discuss strategies for building healthy, effective organizations. The Wednesday Plenary Session, beginning at 1 p.m., features NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard.

ASSE has placed Key Issue Roundtables on the agenda this year. Occurring in eight time periods spread over the main three days, these will be small-group discussions "on topic areas of interest to attendees," the society says. A slate of 25 pre-conference seminars and 17 post-conference seminars brackets the educational sessions scheduled Monday through Wednesday. Timely topics include ergonomics, Hispanic worker issues, mold exposure, Web-based training, asbestos, confined spaces, fall protection, consulting, and solutions for management and leadership challenges.

Also on the agenda are an all-day program Monday for practicing academics/educators and members of the ASSE Academic Practice Specialty, and an Executive Summit on Thursday allowing attendees to "listen, share and ask questions" of a panel of senior management representatives, according to ASSE.

Tours & Area Attractions
Cruises on Lake Mead, golf on an assortment of championship courses, nightclub acts, and even a roller coaster-equipped theme park at Circus Circus Hotel are ready and waiting in Las Vegas.

Both Paul Williams and Neil Sedaka are scheduled to perform in town June 4-6, the pre-conference weekend; B.J. Thomas performs at the Boulder Station Hotel-Casino on June 11, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld headlines June 11-12 at Caesars Palace. The Bellagio and New York-New York offer Cirque du Soleil extravaganzas on an ongoing basis, as Luxor Hotel and Casino does with the Blue Man Group. Celine Dion and Gladys Knight have running shows at Caesars and Flamingo Las Vegas, respectively.

Earlier this year, Las Vegas won Travel Weekly's 2003 Readers Choice Award as the top U.S. destination. The magazine is a leading trade publication for travel agents; 2,200 readers participated in the decision. Las Vegas has 9 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space citywide, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which operates the Las Vegas Convention Center. The city's convention visitor count increased by about 10 percent last year from 2002 and is growing faster for it than any other type of tourism, according to MeetingNews.

Guest tours suggested by ASSE include day excursions to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead. Three technical tours are offered: a tour of the Southern Nevada Water System's main treatment facility, a "back stage Las Vegas" tour, and a tour of an unidentified construction site in the city.

Exposition Hours
Exhibit hours are 3 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 7; 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 8; and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 9. ASSE also offered a Virtual Exposition ahead of the conference at www.asse.org/safety2004.htm.

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). The conference moves to New Orleans next year (June 12-15, 2005) and will be held in Seattle in 2006 (June 11-14).

This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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