In-person gatherings still aren’t without risk.
The coronavirus pandemic just doesn’t seem to end, now hitting the country with a “fourth wave” fueled by the Delta variant, again leaving many people wary of large crowds, and industry associations unsure of attendance for premier events. The National Truck Equipment Association and FTR cancelled their truck product and transportation conferences, respectively, which both were slated for September, due to COVID-19 concerns.
However, other key events remained in place, including American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Fall Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition, which was held as planned last month—and the International Liquid Terminals Association’s 2021 International Operating Conference & Trade Show, which is scheduled for Oct. 4-6 in Houston, Texas.
ILTA president Kathryn Clay said they owed it to the industry to return to in-person meetings, as quickly and safely as possible—and storage terminal operators demanded it.
“It’s critical,” Clay said. “In many industries, over the last decade or so, trade shows, broadly, saw a decline in attendance, and that never happened to ILTA. This is an industry where the culture includes seeing equipment in person, and having that handshake. It’s not an industry that likes to do business in a virtual setting. There’s a strong preference to in-person. We looked at doing some virtual education, but by and large membership said we don’t want to deal with virtual. They want to get back to in-person, because that learning is of higher quality, and they want the networking. The peer-to-peer learning that takes place in hallways, on coffee breaks, and during the reception is in many ways just as important as the formal content.
“So what we decided with our board and executive committee was, as long as state and local authorities say events can go forward, we will go forward.”
Clay said she’ll continue to monitor the situation closely but expects to return to the Marriott Marquis Houston and George R. Brown Convention Center after ILTA was forced to cancel its 40th anniversary event last year due to COVID. Masks will be “strongly encouraged,” but the Marriott wasn’t requiring them at last check, and the city-owned trade show venue was barred from mandating masks by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot.
Clay called the late scratch of last year’s conference a “gut punch.” If they’re forced to cancel again, there is no virtual Plan B, and no way to push the conference back further, while also planning for the 2022 event, which is expected to return to its usual summertime slot next June. “If we cancel, we’re just cancelling,” she said.
Association leader expected up to 350 paid attendees, roughly half the 2019 total. But they’d already filled 300 vendor booths before September, after hosting 330 vendors two years ago, and aimed to have more by October.
“Realistically, I’m prepared for lower turnout, but I’m looking forward to what I believe will be a high level of engagement,” Clay said. “The people who do come are going to have a special experience, and it’s something that, hopefully, won’t happen again. We will get back to normal, and eventually, it’s going to be business as usual. So this show will feel different, and there are things about that, that are regrettable, but I’m also looking at the silver lining.”
This year’s conference will benefit from elements carried over from the nixed 40th anniversary celebration, including the association’s first nationally recognized speakers. Retired U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, the former chancellor of the University of Texas system, will speak on leadership and risk management at Monday morning’s keynote breakfast, and David Wasserman, senior election analyst for The Cook Political Report, will provide a political outlook Monday afternoon at the keynote luncheon.
ILTA also once again will recognize its Platinum Safety Award winners. CITGO Petroleum Corporation and MIPC captured the coveted awards for 2019. “It’s hard to keep a secret,” Clay said. “We actually selected them about a month ago, but we’re trying to keep that under wraps to announce it at the show.
“I’m really excited about this year’s winners.
“Also, we heard from our members that they really value sessions on leadership and professional development, so we have a couple of well-regarded, paid speakers there, one who will speak on generational differences in the workforce, and one who will speak on workforce communication, and the best leadership and communication styles for your team. This is an industry that cares deeply about recruitment and retention of the rising generation in the workforce.”
The first day of the conference features these sessions on the Environment, HS&S, Operations, Executive, and Professional Development tracks:
- 9:20-10:40 a.m., five sessions: “Clearing the Air: Environmental Permitting & Compliance Issues” with Brian Burdorf and Rob Ferry, Trinity Consultants, Keith Ocheski, Buckeye Partners, and David Kennebeck, Magellan Midstream Partners; “Electrical Safety: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them” with Micah Smith and Aaron R. Gelb, Conn Maciel Carey LLP, Dennis Mendenhall, MPC Terminals, and Henry Matthews, Marathon Petroleum Company; “Digital Transformation and High-Tech Terminal Operations” with Tennyson Reed, Acuraflow, Kevin Kupitz, Qi2 Elements, and Clint Collins, Veritank; “Executive Panel—Industry Leaders Offer Predictions for the Future of the Industry” with Joe Nassif, Noon Advisory Group, Traci Johnson, IMTT, James Hill, Associated Asphalt, and Jon Hunt, Energy Transfer; and “Mastering Your Memory” with Tyler Enslin, Enslin International.
- 10:50-11:25 a.m., five sessions: “Implications of Changes to EPA’s Once In, Always In Major Source Guidance” with Karen Brignac, PPM Consultants; “Terminal Security Regulatory Update: What You Need to Know” with Kelly Murray, CISA, and Deanne Grant, EPA; “Jurisdictional Boundaries in Midstream—Where is the Line?” with Lauren Mercer, Provenance Consulting; “Global Overview of Tank Storage Markets Terminal Markets” with Tony Quinn, Tankbank International, and Patrick Kulsen, TankTerminals; and “Managers’ Master Class: Giving Effective Feedback” with Tyler Enslin, Enslin International.
- 11:35 a.m.-12:10 p.m., two sessions: “FLIR Cameras: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” with Jonathan Wills, Marathon Petroleum Company, and Keith Ocheski, Buckeye; and “The Five Pillars: Elements of a Succesful Tank Turnaround Management” with Pat Stanton, RLG International.
- 1:30-2:50 p.m., five sessions: “PFAS/PFOA: What’s Next?” with Taryn McKnight, Eurofins TestAmerica, John Cuthbertson, AECOM, and Niall Ramsden, LASTFIRE; “Human Centered Performance (HCP)” with Mike Jackson, Bechtel Energy; “Pressure Vacuum Systems on Low Pressure (Atmospheric) Tanks” with Ene Okinedo, Provenance Consulting; “Cybersecurity: You’re More Vulnerable Than You Think” with moderator Jerry Jerdine, Ergon Inc., Russell Roberts, TSA, John Felker, CISA, Rear Adm. Richard Timme, USCG, and Stuart Jones, LHT Terminals; and “The New Demands of Leadership in a Multi-Generational Workplace” with Warren Wright, Second Wave Learning.
- 2:15-2:50 p.m., one session: “Which AST Inspection Standard Applies? An STI vs. API Comparison” with Gary Diewald, Antea Group.
- 3:05-4:25 p.m., five sessions: “Your Best-in-Class Facility Response Plan” with Troy Swackhammer, EPA, and Comdr. Nicole Rodriguez, USCG Houston-Galveston; “Understanding Fire Protection Requirements for Aboveground Storage Tanks” with moderator Rama Challa, Matrix PDM, and Brian Olsen, Phillips 66; “Staying on the Rails: Preparing for Your FRA Inspection” with Michael Mashburn, Colonial Terminal Group; “Managing Risk—Insurance Panel” with Christopher Alviggi, NFP Property and Casualty, and Carlos Carillo, Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty Insurance; and “Crisis Leadership: Activating Your Organization to Prepare and Respond to Emergencies” with Ernest DelBuono, Hogan Lovells, and Mark Irion, Hogan Lovells.
- 4:35-5:55 p.m., five sessions: “ESG Reporting: Best Practices for Engaging Your Stakeholders on Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability” with Julie Mouton, Antea Group, Bernt Netland, ILTA Chairman, and Traci Johnson, IMTT; “Platinum Award Winners Roundtable” with Dennis Mendenhall, Marathon Petroleum Company; “From Ship to Shore: Understanding New Guidance for Marine Loading Arms” with Ricardo Martinez, OCIMF, and Walter Sonne, Chevron Corporation; “The Health and Vitality of Our Nation’s Waterways: Is Washington Listening?” with Brig. Gen. Chris Beck, Army Corps of Engineers, Deb Calhoun, Waterways Council, and Jim Walker, American Association of Port Authorities; and “Employee Engagement: Getting the Most Out of Your Most Important Asset” with Walter Nusbaum, The Nusbaum Group.
- 5:20-5:55 p.m., one session: “3-D Laser Surveys for High Accuracy Tank Imaging” with Ronnie Blackwell, Clearpoint Consulting Engineers, and D’arcy Trask, Gauge Point Calibration Inc.
The second day of the conference features these sessions on the Environment, HS&S, Operations, Executive, and Professional Development tracks:
- 8:40-10 a.m., five sessions (one TBD): “Strategic Approaches to Permitting Challenges” with James Stone and Mike Smith, Norwest Engineering, Catie Kerns, Stewardship Solutions, Brien Flanagan, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, and Eric Slifka, Global Partners LP; “Planning for Resilience: Terminal Facilities and Natural Disasters—PART 1” with Jamie Ellen Padgett, Rice University, Mark Kachelmyer, Kinder Morgan, Randy Kissell and Dane Mercer, Trinity Consultants, and Mike Walker, Marine Spill Response Corporation; “Young Professionals Panel” with participants to be determined from Margaret Dunn, StocExpo, and Dearman Systems; and “The New Demands of Leadership in a Multi-Generational Workplace” with Warren Wright, Second Wave Learning.
- 10:30-11:50 a.m., five sessions: “The Eye in the Sky: Using Drones to Ensure Safe and Secure Operations” with moderator Ronnie Blackwell, Clearpoint Consulting Engineers, Tres Smith, NuStar Energy, Suzanne Lemieux, American Petroleum Institute, Mitch Istre, Phillips 66, and C.J. Vinger and Kasey Gorman, SkySkopes Oil; “Chemical Safety Regulations Update: What You Need To Know” with John King, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, LLC, Steve Arendt, JSA Consulting, Micah Smith, Conn Macial Carey LLC, Deanne Grant, EPA, and a moderator; “Planning for Resilience: Terminal Facilities and Natural Disasters—PART 2” with Jamie Ellen Padgett, Rice University, Mark Kachelmyer, Kinder Morgan, Randy Kissell and Dane Mercer, Trinity Consultants, and Mike Walker, Marine Spill Response Corporation; “Introduction to Blockchain for Terminal Professionals” with Anjaney Borwankar, Navozyme/The Nautical Institute, Capt. Maneesh Varma, The Nautical Institute, Giulio Toscani, ESADE, Barcelona/Pacifico, Business School, Lima, Ansam Okbani, DELVISO-AVOCATS, and Jeremy Herschaft, BLANK ROME; and “Technology Tools for Operations Training” with Duane Shafer and Marcus Castillo, Marathon Petroleum Company, and Kevin Canaday, Yadnac Consulting.