Despite a brewing Hurricane Sandy, chemical engineers from all over the world – some 6,000 men and women, including about 1,600 students – blew into Pittsburgh for the week-long American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) 2012 Annual Meeting, held Oct. 28 – Nov. 2 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
AIChE is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 40,000 members from 90+ countries. Its Pittsburgh meeting was touted by association leaders as having record-breaking attendance – in spite of the stormy weather here. Additionally, leaders at VisitPittsburgh, the region’s convention and visitors’ bureau, estimated that the delegates could have spent $8.5 million while in town.
Pittsburgh, in 2012, has seen a bit of a lion’s share of science and technology-based conventions and meetings. Among these were the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) – both in the spring. And more recently, nearly 300 undergrad masterminds from some of the best colleges and universities in the eastern United States to participate in the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Americas East regional jamboree here, showcasing their best in molecular engineering advances impacting medicine, energy, the environment and more.
Pittsburgh is a destination of choice for these groups, association leaders and meeting planners say, because it’s a model that reflects many of their key interests. Among these are a thriving innovation-driven economy, plentiful R&D investments and activity and a regional commitment to advancing energy solutions across a portfolio of energy resources, including a keen focus on sustainability and green technologies.
Because it “walks the talk,” Pittsburgh is more than your typical convention destination; it’s a living laboratory where visitors can see Pittsburgh’s expertise play out in real-world settings.
In the video below, Anthony Cugini, Ph.D., the head of the regionally located federal National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) shares insights about the region’s leadership in sustainability, higher education and the government-industry-academia partnerships that attracted AIChE to Pittsburgh.
AIChE President David Rosenthal and Steven Little, chair of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering share thoughts on why Pittsburgh attracts conventions like AIChe. Beyond fueling the local economy, conferences such as the AIChE meeting and others provide an opportunity to showcase (and perhaps sell) Pittsburgh as a destination with all the right things – low cost of living, high quality of life, stable economy – and, most important, thousands of open jobs, including lots of engineering jobs.
Seeing is believing, as the saying goes, so we’ll continue to chase key conventions and capitalize on them. We’ll showcase what the region has to offer to professionals and businesses from all over planet: careers aplenty and relevant investment opportunities.