Sparkling downtown Dallas is the location for the American Society of Safety Engineers

Big Doings in Big D

Dallas welcomes participants in ASSE's annual conference and expo this month.

Dallas welcomes safety professionals by the thousands this month as one of the year's best trade shows, the American Society of Safety Engineers' Safety 2015 professional development conference and expo, is taking place June 7-10 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Dallas has not been a frequent stop for the safety industry's big conferences, but the opening in November 2011 of the Omni Dallas Hotel—it has 1,001 rooms and suites, is connected to the convention center via a sky bridge, and since opening has been the most colorful attraction in Dallas' nighttime skyline—has put the city on meeting planners' maps.

(The Omni is one of six official Safety 2015 hotels, as of mid-April. The others are the Aloft Dallas Downtown, Homewood Suites by Hilton Dallas Downtown, Hyatt Regency at Reunion, Sheraton Dallas Hotel, and SpringHill Suites Dallas Downtown/West End.)

Visit this OH&S Online page to see more than 70 of the latest new products exhibitors will be displaying in the expo June 7-9.

Downtown Dallas and Area Attractions
Dallas' downtown has become a much more walkable, livable place in recent years. Safety 2015 attendees who haven't visited the city in years, or perhaps never have, will discover a pair of new downtown parks have opened and the Victory Park area extending south from the American Airlines Center, a big arena, is filling fast with condominium towers.

The parks are the Klyde Warren Park, an urban oasis located in the Arts District, and the Continental Bridge park that flanks the eye-catching Margaret Hunt Hill bridge linking downtown Dallas to West Dallas. Both park and bridge span the Trinity River, and the Trinity Groves district immediately west of the bridge features some of the city's newest hot restaurants—restaurants attracted by the project's innovative Restaurant Incubator Program.

The Sixth Floor Museum (its exhibits chronicle the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and his legacy) and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science area are popular downtown attractions. Some of the area's other big attractions are farther afield: AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys and a host of big sporting events and concerts, including a Rolling Stones concert June 6, is in Arlington. Two of Safety 2015's technical tours are at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which is 20 miles away.

Attendees arriving via D/FW Airport can ride one of Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Orange Line trains to get to downtown. It operates seven days a week to the airport station, which is located at the airport's Terminal A, lower level curb, entry A-10. According to DART, train service to the station operates from 3:50 a.m. to 1:19 a.m. daily.

For maps and information about Dallas' attractions, visit http://www.visitdallas.com/things-to-do/.

Convention Center Details
The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center features more than 1 million square feet of exhibit space, a 9,816-seat arena, a 1,750-seat theater, 96 meeting rooms, and a pair of ballrooms. Wireless Internet access is available throughout the facility. Safety 2015 will be on level two in Halls A through D.

It's a good thing for attendees that the conference schedule includes complimentary luncheons on Monday, June 8, and Tuesday, June 9, as well as a luncheon on June 10 that includes a BCSP Award of Excellence program—because there are few lunch options within easy walking distance of the convention center.

Last year, ASSE's prospectus for this said more attendees have come to ASSE's annual conferences from Texas during the past five years than from any other state, regardless of where the conference was held. That bodes well for the city's convention bureau, restaurants, and hotels, as well as the Safety 2015 exhibitors, especially those that provide products and services to the oil and gas industry.

Educational Program Highlights and Keynotes
Invariably, ASSE's annual conference offers a top-notch educational program. This year's program includes a host of sessions in 21 tracks, key issue roundtables, keynote speeches, and pre- and post-conference training seminars.

Two new offerings on Monday are a blockbuster session (4:30-5:30 p.m.) expected to feature a speaker from the National Transportation Safety Board and an expo fashion show (12:30 p.m., Presentation Stage) of workwear, protective clothing, and accessories.

A career center will be open Monday through Wednesday.

The keynote speaker at Monday's opening general session beginning at 7:30 a.m. is Bjorn Lomborg, who is described on www.safety2015.org as a "celebrated professor, statistician, and author of Cool It." His talk is titled "How to Make Your Efforts Count: Feeling Good vs. Doing Good."

Tuesday's morning keynoter, also starting at 7:30 a.m., is Shirzad Chamine, chairman of CTI, the largest coach training organization in the world, while OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels is speaking in Tuesday's plenary session at 1-2 p.m.

Wednesday's schedule features a luncheon keynoter, Mike Staver, speaking on the topic "Leadership Isn't for Cowards" at noon, and from 3-4 p.m., closing general session speaker David Zweig, author of Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion.

Expo hours are:

  • Sunday, June 7: 3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., including a kickoff welcoming reception on the expo floor
  • Monday, June 8: 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 9: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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