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HPAC 'On The Air': All Eyes on BOILER 2022, with ABMA

Jan. 16, 2022
*PODCAST* ABMA's new show for the boiler supply chain is finally at hand. Advisory committee chair Eric Graham and event organizer Shaunica Jayson explain why that's such a big deal.

It's been more than two years since the American Boiler Manufacturers Association (ABMA) first contemplated putting together a targeted conference and trade show exclusively for the boiler supply chain. At that time, an advisory committee was formed and a date was set for BOILER 2021, to be held in Dallas last fall.

"But then COVID happened," recalls Shaunica Jayson, ABMA's director of marketing and the day-to-day point person responsible for making the new event a reality. Like so many best laid plans at so many organizations all over the world last year, ABMA's schedule was completely upended by the Coronavirus pandemic which still persists today, albeit in a weakened form. As a result, the new conference was pushed into the new year and renamed BOILER 2022, still set for Dallas, now in less than 90 days.

For more, HPAC Engineering spoke with both Shaunica and ABMA Advisory Committee Chairman Eric Graham, of Webster Combustion Technology, about the extraordinary effort that has gone into keeping BOILER 2022 on track. Suffice to say, the fits-and-starts journey has been a memorable lesson in resilience for all involved. Please listen and share...


HPAC: Thank you both for joining us at this exciting time for ABMA. First off, Shaunica, let's start with you. Please tell us a bit more about BOILER 2022, its genesis and how it is different from other ABMA events, including the annual meeting this January.

Shaunica: Hi Rob, thanks for having us... Traditionally, all of our annual events, and we have two per year, have been members-only meetings. But BOILER 2022 is different because it will be our first inaugural event that is focused exclusively on the boiler supply chain. Over the past few years, ABMA has shifted its emphasis from being strictly an association of manufacturers of boilers and boiler-related products to an association focused on the entire boiler supply chain.

Part of our shift had already included more engagement with end-users of our products, with things like the launch of our podcast series, Inside the Boiler Room, plus special editions of our newsfeeds and Boiler Weekly newsletters. We've also repositioned our magazine, and some of the releases of our new publications and whitepapers. So, it was really time for us to take that next step forward to facillitate direct engagement with our end-users, and offer education on products and services, like installation, operations and maintenance.

Overall, we are super-excited about BOILER 2022, and right now we're looking at over 70 exhibitors, and we hope, 750 attendees, who will all be joining us for two action-packed days and 10 dedicated expo hours.


HPAC: Eric, as chair of the event's Advisory Committee, please explain how the show has come together and how your committee has helped to shape the user experience? 

Eric: Thanks for having me on, also, Rob. Well, we've been talking about this show for quite a while, so we are really anxious to get it going. You know, we came up with the advisory committee almost two years ago now, and we've got 15 to 20 industry people who are on the committee, working with us. It's a great mix of some very experienced people, like myself, and some people who are newer to our industry. They are giving us some great perspectives on what we want the show to be, and what kind of value we can bring to our exhibitors and our attendees from the industry. 

We wanted something that would be totally focused on the boiler room. So we broke up our advisory committee into subcommittees, and one was focused on the "member experience". We want our exhibitors to have a great experience, to make it easy for them to be there and show all their products. We wanted educational content, so we needed keynote speakers, and workshops, forums. And then we have end-user engagement, which is extremely important. We need to get end-users there, whom our members and exhibitors can engage with at their booths and during the show, so that's really our main focus.

Our last subcommittee is focused on arranging tours and student engagement there in Dallas. So we'll be leading tours to some local facilities and having students come in to learn more about our industry and visit with people at the show. We really want to showcase our industry and let them see all the opportunities it has to have a great career.

Shaunica: That should be exciting. We are always about the next generation, and getting them to be more aware of the boiler industry and learning more about our association and what our industry has to offer.

Eric: Yes, there are a lot of opportunities... for engineers, sales, trades people, welders, designers, drafting, etc. Just a lot of possibilities that we want them to be aware of.


HPAC: Now, due to the pandemic, this special event had to be postponed and rescheduled. Could you please tell us a bit about the challenges that presented to ABMA and how you have managed to overcome them?

Shaunica: Yes, ABMA originally announced "BOILER 2021" as a new event in January of 2020. So it was originally scheduled to take place in October 2021. But then Covid hit. And we all know how that goes... So, by November 2020, we had decided to reschedule the event to April 2022. We had surveyed our members and the message we got was really clear, to move our inaugural conference and expo. And I think was the really best decision for our members, our exhibitors and those in the boiler supply chain.


HPAC: Eric, as I understand it, ABMA does not want BOILER 2022 to be a one-off. How does the advisory committee envision it taking shape in the years to come?

Eric:  We really want to make this show something that we can consistently build on and that will bring a lot of value to our members, especially our exhibiting members. But we only have one shot at making a good first impression, so we definitely want to do that in Dallas. And we are already planning for our next show in May of 2024 in Colorado. That should be exciting. As I've said, we want to engage the end-users and bring in engineers, facility managers, boiler operators, what have you. 

We go to a lot of shows, and it's easy to get lost in some of the bigger shows, where you might have 2,000 exhibitors, but only 70 or so in our industry. So, our idea is to give these people a much more focused experience where it ends up being worth it for them perhaps to skip one of their other shows, and to replace it with ours.

HPAC: Eric and Shaunica, thank you for your time. We look forward to seeing you both in Dallas for BOILER 2022.


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