Reflections on UPW Micro and UPW Pharma Events, June 7-8 | Austin, Texas

By Mike Henley


Exhilaration. Exhaustion. Those two opposite states can accurately picture to an outsider how a conference organizer feels when the event occurs and in the immediate aftermath. Those two words also characterize how our team felt June 9 after the conclusion of UPW Micro and UPW Pharma.

Once completed, we were tired, but then felt a small amount of freedom to rest and recuperate from the energy we invested in organizing and conducting the two conferences. Further, our team also could celebrate the success of the two conferences, and then consider plans to build on the successes of the 2016 meetings.

The other emotional state we experienced was exhilaration. Whenever you have invested time putting together a conference, there is a state of euphoria when your efforts come to fruition and you finally get to meet the co-moderators, speakers, Roundtable hosts, delegates, and exhibitors. This time is exciting because of the opportunity for face-to-face conversations with those who play important roles in water treatment in microelectronics and pharmaceutical facilities. You learn firsthand of their struggles and their view of the important challenges facing the water industry. And, most importantly, there is the opportunity to deepen a professional relationship, or to start a new one.

Our 2016 UPW Micro was also exciting because we had the honor of hosting an ITRS/SEMI face-to-face meeting the afternoon of June 6. The meeting, led by Dr. Slava Libman, co-chair of the UPW ITRS and co-chair of the UPW Task Force of SEMI, was attended by more than 20, including three who connected remotely via GoToMeeting. The attendees included several colleagues from Global Water Intelligence offices in Oxford and Austin. Over the course of the afternoon, we learned about developments that led to the current ITRS and that organization’s work in conjunction with SEMI. We also learned about how technology changes in the microelectronics industry impact the ITRS, which is morphing into the IDRS (International Roadmap for Devices and Systems). The UPW ITRS will be changing its name to UPW IDRS.

It is gratifying to see the growth in this relationship, which began several years ago when Jeff Chapman, now retired from IBM, gave the first presentations on the work of ITRS and led some simple “town hall” discussions with attendees at earlier UPW Micro conferences.

The next days, June 7th and 8th, were busy times as we had two conferences with separate programs. We appreciated the presentations given by our keynote speakers. Philip Sumner of Pfizer Inc. addressed UPW Pharma June 7, while Greg Meszaros of Austin Water opened UPW Micro on June 7, and Mark Thirsk of Linx Consulting LLC started the June 8th Micro sessions.

Each conference had unique features. UPW Micro offered two strands—one geared to high-purity water treatment concerns, and a second focused on water management and wastewater issues faced by semiconductor facilities.

For its part, UPW Pharma offered a new approach with mostly workshop style presentations of a longer length that permitted deeper talks and more time for discussion.

Both conferences had separate Roundtable sessions that offered the opportunity for networking and in-depth discussions with table hosts. It was rewarding to see the two sessions with tables full of delegates engaged in useful conversations.

Conference breakfasts, lunches, and break times were shared by both conferences in the common exhibit spaces in the Omni ballroom and the Sunroom area. We are appreciative of the exhibitors and sponsors and it was good to learn about the role they play in pharmaceutical and microelectronics water treatment.

The evening of June 7 we also had a special treat with an off-site dinner at Easy Tiger in downtown Austin sponsored by Nalco. It was a time to relax and enjoy old acquaintances, and new friends.

It seems appropriate to highlight the efforts that led to this successful conference. First, we appreciated the assistance of our moderators and conference organizers who voluntarily gave of their time. For UPW Micro, we are grateful for the help of Dr. Libman (Balazs NanoAnalysis), Alan Knapp (Evoqua Water Technologies), Bernie Zerfas (GLOBALFOUNDRIES), Dan Wilcox and Season Hill (Samsung Austin Semiconductor), and John Morgan (H2Morgan). For UPW Pharma, we thank these individuals: Dr. Anthony Bevilacqua (METTLER-TOLEDO Thornton), Elizabeth Dunn (ProPharma Group), Nik Krpan (Chemé Engineering), Joe Manfredi (GMP Systems), and Dr. T.C. Soli (Soli Pharma Solutions Inc.). Though not able to attend, we also acknowledge the contributions of Nissan Cohen (Start-up Business Development) and Mukesh Yadav (Genentech).

We also owe a big “thank you” to the staff at the Omni Southpark Hotel in Austin for their help.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge all of the hard work by the UPW conference team from the Austin GWI office: Yana Nazarova, Zac Roesch, Mary Rose Watts, Steven Galvan, Bonnie Eastland, Mark Richards, Jay Dwyer, and Rama Singh Rastogi. They deserve a big round of applause. Also, we appreciated the opportunity to host Jablanka Uzelac, the new managing director for Global Water Intelligence who attended from the home offices in Oxford. It was great being able to have her in the different sessions.

Now that the conferences have concluded, we can relax—sort of, but, there is 2017 and the next events are calling. More announcements about the next events will come soon.

UPW Micro Photographs

UPW Pharma Photographs

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