Institute News: June 2018


Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety Highlight Advances in Manufacturing, Safety, Particle Technology

The role of chemical engineers at the forefront of modern manufacturing was an overriding theme at AIChE’s 2018 Spring Meeting and 14th Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS), held April 22–26 in Orlando, FL. The conference attracted more than 2,400 attendees, including nearly 600 international delegates from more than 50 countries, for a program consisting of more than 200 sessions across an array of technical topics pertinent to practicing chemical engineers and their employers.

In addition to the Spring Meeting and GCPS, the Orlando conference was the venue for the 8th World Congress on Particle Technology (WCPT8) — a quadrennial gathering of the world’s particle-science and technology experts. More than 600 participants from 34 countries attended the WCPT’s dozens of sessions — which included five plenaries and more than 25 keynote talks — and addressed topics ranging from particle technology fundamentals to applications in pharmaceuticals, sustainable energy, and environmental engineering.

An important Spring Meeting program track was the new Industry 4.0 Topical Conference, which incorporated such topics as big data analytics, process intensification, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. Those subjects were elaborated upon at two related panel discussions (see photos) and at a topical conference on innovative and smart manufacturing.

Another new program track was a Leadership Development Conference devoted to workforce issues and professional skills development. Sessions on crafting a personal elevator speech and improving listening skills generated strong interest, as did workshops that highlighted the challenges of unconscious biases in the workplace, and the benefits of working toward a diverse and inclusive workforce.


Mark P. Vergnano (center), President and CEO of the Chemours Co., kicked off the Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety with his AIChE Government and Industry Leaders (AGILE) Award keynote lecture on Monday morning, April 23. He received congratulations from Spring Meeting Program Chair Leo Chiang (left; Dow Chemical), and Christine Seymour (right; Pfizer), AIChE’s 2018 President.

The Spring Meeting also spotlighted the programming of AIChE’s Fuels and Petrochemicals Div., which launched its sessions with a keynote talk by Jim Rekoske (Honeywell UOP). Other topical conferences included the 6th International Conference on Upstream Engineering and Flow Assurance, the 18th Gas Utilization Conference, the 21st Refinery Processing Conference, and the 30th Ethylene Producers Conference — as well as conferences covering distillation, sustainable engineering, and emerging technologies in clean energy. The technical sessions were supplemented by daily keynote luncheons (see photos), poster sessions, exhibits, and networking receptions.

While considerations of safety underscored virtually the entire conference, the programming of the Global Congress on Process Safety is focused on fostering universal process safety excellence across the world’s chemical process industries (CPI). Organized by AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) and the Safety and Health Div., this year’s GCPS began with a keynote speech by Michael J. Graff (American Air Liquide; Air Liquide Group). The GCPS incorporated the programming of the 52nd Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, the 32nd CCPS International Conference, and the 20th Process Plant Safety Symposium — the latter of which highlighted two decades of progress toward improved safety culture. Other GCPS tracks were devoted to process safety management mentoring and Process Safety Spotlight sessions. The global emphasis of the meeting was reflected in sessions highlighting perspectives on process safety from around the world.

Program summaries, video interviews, and photos from key meeting events are available at ChEnected, AIChE’s online community blog —

AIChE Thanks the Meeting’s Corporate Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors: AcuTech • Chevron • Dow • ioMosaic • Smith & Burgess

Gold Sponsors: Chemstations • Difrex • Honeywell • JXTG Holdings • PSE • Visium KMS

Silver Sponsors: AspenTech • Curtis-Wright • ExxonMobil • FM Global • GexCon • Lloyd’s Register • Shell • Siemens • TÜV Rheinland—Risktec • Valero • Wiley

Bronze Sponsors: Aramco • Hydrocarbon Processing • JCL Risk Services • Merck • Nalco Champion

Coffee Break Sponsors: Fractionation Research, Inc. • Honeywell UOP • Quantum Technical Services • Tracerco • Woven Metal Products Technical Services


On Monday morning, Apr. 23, more than 1,000 people gathered for the meeting’s opening AGILE Award keynote address, presented by Mark Vergnano (Chemours Co.). Vergnano spoke about Chemours’ success in his talk, “Building a Winning Culture: Harnessing the Power of Values.”


Two panel discussions set the stage for the Industry 4.0 Conference. The first panel introduced basic Industry 4.0 concepts. Participants included (from left): Billy Bardin (Dow Chemical), Leo Chiang (Dow; session co-chair), Rob Ivester (DOE), Adele Ratcliff (DoD), Haresh Malkani (Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute), and Scott McWhorter (Savannah River National Lab; session co-chair). A second panel was devoted to chemical engineers and cybersecurity.

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A poster session and...

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