By Josh Cosford, Contributing Editor
If you’re reading this, I’m certain you’ve heard of the Fluid Power Technology Conference, especially as Fluid Power World is a media partner of the event. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, let me ask if it’s warm and cozy under that rock … and then I’ll explain the Fluid Power Technology Conference is a 3-day event held at the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Kern Center.
The event includes series keynote sessions, industry panels, hands-on demonstrations and networking opportunities. If you are in any way involved with the design and engineering of fluid power components or systems, you must attend. There are dozens of exhibitors — companies who represent the biggest and best our industry has to offer. Just in case you require further convincing, here is my list of Top 5 reasons to attend the Fluid Power Technology Conference:
5. Networking Opportunities. If you’re a regular to the conference and trade show circuit, you know networking opportunities are one of the best aspects of such events. The networking can be for lead generation or promotional activities, and as anyone in sales will tell you, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation to build a relationship.
Conversely, you may be a designer, engineer or salesperson on the lookout for new products or lines. Because vendors exhibit at the Fluid Power Technology Conference, you can see who is offering what, especially in new technology. I, myself have secured new product lines for our distribution division while visiting a show, and in fact, most products our company distributes.
If you’re neither buying nor selling, the conference still provides you a valuable venue to rub elbows with your peers. Many of the industries top authors, expects and speakers not only lecture at the FPTC, but they socialize and network themselves. I’ve met many of my role models at these events, and it provides me the opportunity to visit with my colleagues from Fluid Power World, who I’m lucky to see only once or twice a year.
4. Professional Positioning. Like networking, positioning involves others getting to know you and your company. By encouraging others to familiarize and know you, and what your company does, you attract positive awareness above and beyond what can be achieved through marketing and sales efforts alone. Essentially, this is an opportunity to show everyone why you deserve to stomp with the big dogs.
By your involvement in industry events, you send the signal to others that you’re a leader in this business, you care about personal and professional development, and you’re proud to show the world what you’re made of. The effect is compounded when you contribute to the spectrum of industry knowledge through white papers, presentations, articles and economics. If you’re a creator of open source expertise, others gravitate to you, which is its own unique form of marketing.
3. Education. If you’re neither an industry executive nor current sales professional, but rather an aspiring industry newcomer, the FPTC is a must-attend. This event will provide a series of educational seminars and keynotes on topics like fluid power basics, system cleanliness, condition monitoring, mobile hydraulic design, troubleshooting and many more. The event covers the entire range of fluid power topics, providing a full range of complexity from hose failure to advanced motion control design.
2. Industry Support. By “support,” I’m not referring to the many companies, educators and colleagues you could draw on for support, but rather the profound way you yourself can contribute. You have a vested interest in the fluid power industry, which is why you’re considering attending to begin with. By attending the Fluid Power Technology Conference, you support your industry in one of many ways.
This conference puts a focus on education, which fundamentally funnels young, fresh talent into our field. This funnel is important to maintain at a healthy volume, especially as we experience the same workplace decline shared by the rest of the industrial market. If educators no longer offer fluid power programs, the pipeline dries up, and then we have no chance to replace ourselves.
If the end users of fluid power products and services have such a hard time finding qualified individuals to support them in-house or through outside services, those end users will give up on our technology in favour of competing industries. I personally feel fluid power will exist well past my own lifetime, but both you and I should like to see it thrive during that time. By attending and supporting every event, conference and association you have time for, you ensure we’re always relevant.
1. For Fun. I go to a lot of these things, and let me tell you, the fluid power industry is a blast. I often describe the industry as a “secret club,” where everyone knows everyone, and we harbor top secret knowledge of the unique world of fluid power. In this secret club, the members are friendly, driven, enthusiastic and philanthropic.
Because the fluid power family is such a fantastic group, I guarantee you will have fun. Aside from the many other reasons to attend, the social activities are why I keep coming back to these events. I cherish the silly selfies, lunchtime networking and then an adult beverage (or six) after engaging dinners.
You may be on the fence, but hopefully my Top 5 list has swayed you to attend. My list is my own, however, when you attend, I’m certain you will discover your own Top 5 reasons and share those with your peers considering attending next year. The Fluid Power Technology Conference is the fastest growing event in the industry, so attend before it’s too big to meet everyone. I’ll leave you with reason 6 to attend; you get to meet me!