PAPTAC passes its first test and sets its sights on 2000
March 1, 1999 By Pulp & Paper Canada
PAPTAC passed the test. Although it was billed as its 85th annual meeting, PaperWeek 1999 was really a first for the Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada. When it split with the Canadian Pul…
PAPTAC passed the test. Although it was billed as its 85th annual meeting, PaperWeek 1999 was really a first for the Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada. When it split with the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association (CPPA) in autumn 1998 and changed its name from the Technical Section, PAPTAC staff realized they did not have much time to prepare for its big show. To top it off, the association also moved from its longtime Montreal headquarters in the Sun Life Building. However, despite the added complications, to the over 14 000 people who exhibited at EXFOR, visited EXFOR were registered as technical delegates or attended the CPPA Open Forums, the changeover was seamless.
PAPTAC director Rob Wood said he was generally pleased with both the calibre of the program and overall attendance. Initial comments from EXFOR exhibitors were positive. Although there were some slack periods, they were pleased with the flow and calibre of visitors.
Two highlights that Wood made special mention of were the New Technology session sponsored by the Sustaining Members Group and the poster session sponsored by the Mechanical Pulps Network. The 19 short papers presented at the former attracted over 100 delegates and the room had to be opened up to fit in the overflow. The latter was moved to the foyer area at the west end of the Palais, making it more accessible and it worked. There was a constant flow of delegates through the area, asking students about their work.
Wood sees PaperWeek as a constantly evolving event, adding/changing events, and fine tuning the process each year. For the new millennium, he is hoping the committees will be able to develop some special sessions. There is a possibility some workshops will be scheduled and the Executive Council will also look at starting the technical sessions on Tuesday morning. Wood cautioned that these are only ideas at present and need to be studied carefully before any decisions are made. PAPTAC will also work to increase attendance, particularly those who have never attended PaperWeek before. “We need to attract more mill personnel,” Wood said, adding that this is not easy because there are less of them out there due to staff cutbacks and those who remain are busier than ever.
PaperWeek did well considering that 1999 is also the year two other large pulp and paper conferences — TAPPI and SPCI — are scheduled. Still, there are many issues to face, attendance and technical calibre to name only two. But, there is a solid 85-year-old foundation upon which to build and PAPTAC is not backing down from its challenges.`P&PC
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