In recent weeks, you have likely heard a lot of chatter about various conventions, conferences, trade shows, and expos. (A rose by any other name....) If you’re sitting there thinking, “Yeah, and you’re one of the chatterboxes,” I’ll respond, “Guilty as charged.” We have frequently discussed trade shows in our daily e-newsletter and our weekly live web TV show of late. There’s more to come, too; the efficacy of trade shows in today’s world of instant electronic communication is an important issue, and one that we will continue to address in the coming weeks.
However, this article is not about a trade show: It’s about CMSC 2012. Before you accuse me of pulling the ol’ bait and switch, let me point out that those of us who regularly attend this annual event do not consider the Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference to be a trade show. Oh, I suppose you could call it that, but once you have attended one, you will surely agree that CMSC is something very different—something very much greater—than a mere trade show.
Let’s start with the people. How often do you see attendees at an annual business conference greeting each other with hugs during registration? You will see it at CMSC because these are not just business associates—they are good friends, partners, and colleagues. These folks are legitimately excited to see each other each year and exchange the latest details on their personal as well as professional lives.
The people make the show work in another important way, by sharing best practices within a solution-based environment. When you attend CMSC, make sure to bring your thorniest coordinate metrology issues, because if you can’t find the answer during the course of that week, it probably doesn’t exist. Even then, the experts exhibiting in booths and the high-level “power users” of the technology can likely help you find some alternative options or novel approaches that you haven’t considered. It’s all in the name of advancing the field of measurement, and the collegial atmosphere of CMSC is a fertile breeding ground for new ideas.
And speaking of the latest advances in the industry, the heart and soul of CMSC resides in the cutting-edge technical papers presented each year. More than two dozen will be offered this year in New Orleans, from the highest echelons of academia and industry across the world. This is your opportunity to discover the new and exciting ways that portable coordinate metrology systems such as portable arms, laser trackers, laser scanners, and photogrammetry (not to mention their respective software platforms) are being used within aerospace, shipbuilding, automotive, energy, archeological preservation, and many more industry segments. The best of these papers are available in the biannual Journal of the CMSC.
Finally (although there is way more going on at the show than I can touch on here), I want to specifically give the organization kudos for taking the lead to ensure the development of the next generation of metrologists. After a heroic amount of behind-the-scenes work during the past three years, a CMSC-supported certification program is now ready to launch. This program will certify operator proficiency in the tools of the trade and provide training opportunities so that industry professionals can embrace a standardized approach to operating these instruments.
Metrology has a problem dissimilar to many sectors of the world economy: too many job openings instead of too few. The real issue is that there’s a dearth of skilled workers to replace those who are retiring. This has driven CMSC’s commitment to support training and education to ensure that the women and men filling these positions are ready to help their new organizations from day one. The always popular Job Board section of this newsletter, which is chock-full of interesting opportunities within the field, proves that there is a real need for quality metrologists. The CMSC is jumping on this issue by offering its first-ever Careers Fair at this year’s show. It is being held in the Exhibition Hall, starting at 10 a.m. on Thurs., July 19, 2012. The Careers Fair presents a great opportunity for job seekers to meet the leading manufacturers and service providers in the industry, and to find out what they are looking for in new employees.
So let’s review the reasons to attend CMSC next month:
• Great people? Check.
• Active exchanges of information and best practices? Check.
• Unique presentations of cutting-edge content? Check.
• Opportunities to network and add new skills to your professional tool belt? Check.
What more could you want? Great social events in a fantastic city? OK, they’ve got that, too.
Obviously I’m leading the cheers for the CMSC. We have been attending this show for nearly a decade, and in the interests of full disclosure, we are their media partner. But we wouldn’t support this show if we didn’t believe in it, and once you attend, you’ll be a believer, too. There is still time to register if you act quickly. Visit www.cmsc.org to find out more.