The Indiana Convention Center is located in Indianapolis. The 2012 AIHce conference takes place there.

Turning the Page in Indianapolis

This year's keynote speeches are clearly focused on the future of the industrial hygiene profession.

Next month's AIHce conference features one of the sharpest CIHs around, Dr. John Howard of NIOSH, as one of three general session keynote speakers. His topic: the future of OEHS for professional industrial hygienists. Combine that with Synthetic Genomics Inc. co-founder Juan Enriquez's "The Future: Life Sciences and the Knowledge Economy" keynote and Imperial Sugar CEO John C. Sheptor's "Redefining Our Future" keynote, and you have a clear theme for this year's big meeting at the Indiana Convention Center.

All three keynotes are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., with Enriquez speaking on June 18, Howard on June 19, and Sheptor on June 20. Sheptor's speech may be the most riveting because he will outline his company's recovery from the February 2008 dust explosion at its Port Wentworth, Ga., refinery. That incident killed 14 people, injured dozens more, and resulted in $8.8 million in proposed OSHA fines that Imperial Sugar settled in July 2010 for a total of $6.05 million. The settlement covered violations found at Port Wentworth and another company facility in Gramercy, La.

AIHA, which is co-hosting the conference with the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, expects more than 5,000 people to attend the event at the downtown Indianapolis center, including personnel representing more than 300 exhibitors. There were early signs the event would be a big success, as all of the technical tours to facilities operated by Eli Lilly & Company, Covanta Indianapolis Inc., Roche Diagnostics, and Dow AgroSciences LLC were sold out more than eight weeks in advance.

More than 150 technical presentations are included in the program on topics ranging from aerosols to confined spaces, ergonomics, GHS, respiratory protection, mold, toxicology, and sustainability.

Other highlights of the event include:

  • AIHce On Demand, which gives attendees with "Best Value" registration online access to speakers' presentations following the event.
  • IGNITE sessions, which are intended to be five-minute, engaging presentations on timely topics.
  • A $10 coupon that was mailed to full registrants so they can buy lunch in the expo on Tuesday, June 19.
  • An AIHce mobile app to help attendees manage their schedules, view session and exhibitor listings, and receive updates on their smartphones.

The Indiana Local Section of AIHA offers videos about downtown attractions, as well as dining and activity suggestions for those attending the event, at https://sites.google.com/site/aihce2012indianapolis/. Information posted at this page says mild, warm weather is typical for the city in June, possibly with rain and thunderstorms, but about a dozen downtown hotels are connected to the convention center via sky bridges. "Indy is known for being America's most walkable city, with many attractions such as the Circle Centre Mall, the NCAA Hall of Champions, and the Superbowl Village within short walking distance of the convention center. The city has undergone tremendous renovation as result of Super Bowl XLVI, and AIHce attendees will experience all of the benefits of a large event city," according to the section's writeup.

Clean Water and Anti-Smoking Initiatives
The city's mayor, Gregory Ballard, signed a tougher smoking ordinance that is taking effect June 1, 2012, but he's been more vocal about the city's success at solving clean water issues for the long term.

Ballard, co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Water Council, said April 11 during its meeting in Indianapolis that the city was about to begin construction of a major project to keep raw sewage out of the city's waterways and would meet the terms of a 2006 consent decree with EPA a full 10 years ahead of schedule while saving almost $1 billion off the original cost.

Touting the short- and long-term benefits of "this coming era of cleaner water," Ballard said the city had gained more than $400 million for infrastructure repairs by transferring its waterworks to a public utility company, resulted in far fewer pothole repair calls and a RebuildIndy project that is creating economic development citywide.

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