The annual North American Steel Construction Conference (NASCC) in Orlando from April 13 to 15 attracted thousands of visitors and more than 200 exhibitors to learn about the latest steel construction concepts, techniques and products.
“The planning committee spends a lot of time not just determining topics but also selecting the top experts to speak,” said Scott Melnick, vice president of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), which sponsors the event. “Our sessions range from highly technical subjects – such as a discussion of stiffness reduction within the direct analysis method for composite design – to business topics, such as staff retention in construction employment. We offer more than 125 sessions.”
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Melnick says the event provides powerful networking opportunities. Last year’s conference attracted a record breaking 4,582 attendees involved in the design and construction of steel buildings and bridges. “It’s the perfect place to talk with structural engineers, steel fabricators, steel detailers and erectors,” he said. “We’re even starting to get some general contractors and architects.”
Exhibitors will demonstrate “everything from bolts to structural engineering software,” he said.
“If you’re a steel fabricator, the steel conference is better than a candy store. All of the major equipment suppliers are there and they all have their big machinery up and running. You can walk the show and compare machines and really get a feel for what you might next want to purchase for your shop. Likewise, structural engineers and detailers can talk with and see demos of the major software offerings.”
Melnick suggested three “must attend” programs and activities at the conference:
David Zweig “This year’s general session features David Zweig, author of Invincibles,” he said. “In addition to being a great speaker, his topic should really resonate with our attendees, especially the structural engineers.”
The conference dinner
The conference dinner is always a highlight, Melnick said. “This year we’re expecting a fantastic evening and we’re renting out three adjacent venues including a Blues club, a country music venue and a piano bar. There’ll be great food, great entertainment and 1,500 of your closest friends to talk to.”
The most powerful session
“If I had to pick one session to attend, I’d go with ‘Lessons I wish I had known starting out: The engineer edition’. This fast paced 90-minute session features five top engineers each presenting for eight minutes and then a rollicking question and answer session. We offered a similar session last year and it was standing room only.”
This year, the Steel Conference is co-located with the World Steel Bridge Symposium, offering 21 sessions specifically for bridge designers and highway officials. Sessions range from “Accelerated Bridge Construction” to “Advanced Analysis Techniques for Design and Erection.” The conference also incorporates the Structural Stability Research Council’s Annual Stability Conference.
For information about conference registration and the event program, visit www.aisc.org/nascc.