Judging by events held in February for the coatings community and what is scheduled for March and April, I think things are looking up. The World of Concrete event held in February drew over 55,000 registered professionals and over 1,300 exhibiting companies. PACE 2010 was held in about the same time frame and also seemed to have good attendance this year. NACE is scheduled for mid-March and already is showing over 5,000 registered and 350 exhibiting companies. All in all I think that is a good start to the 2010 year for the industry.

Another event held pretty much at the same time was the annual Waterborne Symposium, which is traditionally in New Orleans the week prior to Mardi Gras. The 2010 symposium theme was Advances in Sustainable Coatings Technology – a theme of great importance in today’s environment. Despite the travel impact of severe snowstorms that hindered attendees from the northeast, Waterborne still had nearly 200 attendees, 25 presentations and 28 posters. The technology showcase featured 15 exhibitors. For the first time, the symposium also featured a Composites Matrix Workshop, which attracted 60 people.

The Shelby F. Thames Best Paper Award was presented to Edwin P. Chan, Kurt A. Page and Christopher M. Stafford from the Polymers Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology for their paper entitled “Harnessing Surface Wrinkling to Measure the Viscoelastic Properties of Polymer Films and Coatings”.

The PCI Outstanding Paper Award was presented to Jung Kwon Oh, Bedri Erdem, Jeff Anderson, Kumar Nanjundiah and Jeff Sweeney, Dow Coatings Materials, Dow Chemical Company for their paper entitled “High Throughput Methods for Developing Low-VOC Waterborne Coatings Derived from Polyurethane Dispersions Based on Natural-Oil Polyols”.

In addition, Eastman Chemical Company sponsored the USM Best Graduate and Undergraduate Student Poster Awards. It is gratifying to see support for coatings students. We need to encourage young people to pursue a career in the industry. Likewise I think it wonderful to see this publication continue to support an award at Waterborne. Mark your calendar for next year’s Waterborne Symposium which will be held March 2-4, 2011.

And of course the big event is coming up on us quickly – this issue of PCI is the Show issue for the American Coatings Show and Conference, both of which will undoubtedly exceed expectations. Nearly 100 high-level papers have been selected from the several hundred submitted for the conference program. Sixteen focused sessions will be held during three days, including a new session “Science Today – Coatings Tomorrow”. The response from the exhibitor community has been strong, and pre-registrations are high. This event will definitely surpass the 2008 inaugural ACS. So if you haven’t already done so – make you plans and be sure to attend. You cannot afford to miss this!!