Scott Lynch, president of the American Boiler Manufacturers Association (ABMA), peered into the crowd, attempting to make eye contact with the 900-plus attendees filling the seats before him. Flanked by dozens of blue and green banners decorated with the BOILER 2022 logo, the moment had finally arrived.
“So, this is only about seven years in the making,” Lynch joked, triggering a chuckle throughout the conference hall. “Honestly, this event came to focus from a strategic planning session over five years ago. A lot of hard work went into this from the ABMA staff and a whole lot of volunteers. We have more than 80 companies exhibiting in the expo, which is really exciting.”
Lynch shifted his gaze, addressing the other half of the room.
“Everybody is here for one reason; you're not going to a show where boilers are just a small piece of the puzzle. Everybody who is walking into this show is interested in the boiler industry. These individuals work in the boiler business and are excited to meet you and do business with you. We’re excited to see what happens in the next several days.”
By all measures, Chris Cassidy has lived an extraordinary life.
After high school, Cassidy was drawn to the military, partially due to an infatuation with the Army-Navy football game. In 1989, he graduated from the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, before receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics four years later.
While gaining his undergraduate degree, Cassidy spent his "downtime" attending Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) school, destined to join the elite company as a Navy SEAL — a goal he achieved shortly thereafter.
As a SEAL, he made four six-month deployments: two to Afghanistan and two to the Mediterranean Sea. Cassidy served as executive officer and operations officer of special boat team 20 in Norfolk, Virginia, and SEAL platoon commander at SEAL Team 3 in Coronado, California.
During his BOILER 2022 keynote speech, the decorated veteran reminisced of a lesson he learned while participating in the Battle of Tora Bora during the Afghanistan War.
“In in military missions, you get about 48 hours, if you're lucky, to get your plan together. And this particular mission was no different," he said. "So, we're at the base of Kandahar, and I look at my watch — 38 minutes until I’ve got to be on the helicopter. And I realize I’ve got to get my gear together and I’ve really got to go to the bathroom.
“So, I walk out of the tent with all of my things in hand," he continued. "The bathroom at that time was a trench with three tires, which we used as stalls. The area was constructed out of two four-by-four-inch wooden posts. Suspended over those two pieces of wood were sheets of plywood on three sides with the open side facing the runway. As I aim to do my business, my flashlight illuminates a pair of boots next to me. And, then I go up a little bit, and, oh boy, it’s the captain, and he's sitting on the middle tire. So, I awkwardly sit on the right tire, and our legs are awkwardly touching. He’s aiming to kick the only roll of toilet paper toward him. It was super awkward.
“And all of a sudden, he turns to me and goes, 'Hey, you know what I expect of you?' And I'm like, ‘Yes,’ even though I really didn't know what he was implying. The captain said, ‘I expect you to make good decisions and bring the guys home safely.’ At that vulnerable moment, I realized the entire reason I had joined the U.S. Navy. It all comes down to making good decisions and being a leader," Cassidy continued. "That was a profound moment for me in my in my development as a as a military officer and now as a leader in the civilian world. But, I think it applies directly to all of us in our everyday jobs or in our families. That's what we do every single day; we just need to make good decisions and do the right thing by our organizations, our families, and our loved ones. That’s a lesson we all need to take to heart.”
A Packed Trade Show
More than 80 exhibitors filled BOILER 2022’s trade show floor, showcasing a multitude of technologies and innovations specific to boilers and the ancillary parts that make them run efficiently, affordably, and sustainably.
Today’s Boiler visited with dozens of those in attendance, learning just how valuable the event truly was to their businesses.
“Our biggest takeaway from BOILER 2022 is the fact that the attendees here are everybody we talk to in our business — we've got our end users, customers, resellers, boiler manufacturers and so much more,” said Josh Ince, regional sales manager, DuBois Chemical Inc. “I've never quite been at a show before where such a high concentration of people are willing to work together to solve their problems.”
Dale Smith, global growth leader - thermal digitalization, Honeywell Thermal Solutions, was most impressed with the number of attendees.
“The sheer turnout in a post-COVID era really stood out,” said Smith. “The number of OEMs, suppliers, and overall support to the boiler industry is just fantastic. This gives us a great chance to get back out with customers to talk about our product and strategies for the future. How do we mitigate what we've been through and then how do we make folks more reliable and sustainable with their boiler assets and those supporting organizations? We’re able to approach these questions at events like this.”
Doug Wright, board chairman, ABMA, and president and CEO of Superior Boiler, wrapped up the conference’s first day with the following statement:
“This is an exciting day for ABMA and the boiler industry," he said. "This is the culmination of a strategic shift for the association to focus on the entire water supply chain and directly engage customers of our products. In addition to our advisory committee, we also want to recognize past and current members of the ABMA board of directors for being willing to embrace a new vision. Also, the ABMA staff deserves recognition for their flawless planning and execution of this event. The engagement and attendance speak for themselves. We've got more than 80 exhibitors — making up 70%-plus of the association’s membership — with more than 900 supply chain partner attendees from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, and beyond. And, this is just the start!”