“Sixty years – what a milestone,” remarked 2017 conference committee chair Melissa Rose during the opening session of the 2017 Polyurethanes Technical Conference.
“Think about it: leading figures in our field have been convening every year for six decades, and each time bring new ideas and insights from the brightest experts in the industry.”
To mark this industry milestone of innovation and progress, more than 1,000 industry experts gathered in New Orleans this year to learn, share ideas and help make the industry even stronger. Over the course of three and a half days, the 2017 Polyurethanes Technical Conference featured 14 technical sessions, 18 posters and 73 exhibitors, as well as the Professional Development Program.
In a keynote discussion on the first day of the event, renowned Harvard University professor Dr. Mahzarin Banaji delivered a thought-provoking address about how industry professionals can recognize unconscious bias and achieve a more inclusive work environment. Ultimately, her talk provided strategies and ideas on how diversity can continue to drive innovation and grow the industry. Following her keynote address, Dr. Banaji held a luncheon workshop where more than 40 industry professionals came together to ask questions, collaborate and consider ways to cultivate inclusion and diversity at their respective organizations.
The competition for the coveted Innovation Award presented at the conference this year is a testament to the industry’s commitment to technical progress. The three finalists – including BASF’s Irgastab® PUR 70, Chemours’ Opteon™ 1100 and Covestro’s PUReWall – were presented at Monday’s opening session. Chemours’ winning entry was revealed at the conference’s Closing Session on Wednesday.
At this year’s 14 technical sessions, there was something for everyone, with sessions ranging from environmental health and safety, to the latest topics in chemical management, to new applications of polyurethanes technology in the construction industry. The evolving regulatory landscape was also addressed at this year’s conference, with a robust regulatory roundtable discussion and an update from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
During the closing session, CPI unveiled its 2016 End-Use Market Survey, providing a detailed historical analysis of the major end-use markets for polyurethane in North America. Finally, as part of its mission to help foster the next generation of innovators, CPI recognized and gave a donation to STEM NOLA, a local nonprofit organization with the mission to expose, inspire and engage students in the surrounding communities about the opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).