I have HydroVision on the brain this week, for good reason

One of the (many) fun things about being at HydroVision International 2013 in Denver, Colorado, this week is that there is no shortage of topics to blog about. When I started thinking about what I was going to say in this week’s blog, there were so many different things I could talk about, it seemed impossible to narrow it down to just one.

If you are AT HydroVision International, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, I encourage you to give serious thought to attending this event in 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. And I’m not just saying this to increase attendance! As the world’s largest event for the hydroelectric power industry, HydroVision International is a great place to take the pulse of the industry, to get continuing education on the hottest topic, to network with colleagues, and to just have fun.

So, what am I going to talk about? A whole bunch of great things I’ve seen and done at the event so far.

First, I love the chance meetings with old hydro industry friends (and new ones) that happen just because we’ve all come to the same city at about the same time for the same event. I’ve seen people who shared a shuttle from the airport and didn’t know each other before the ride into Denver but now are running into each other at HydroVision International and talking like old friends. And I’ve chanced across people I’ve known for years just walking through my hotel lobby or traversing the one-block stretch from my hotel to the convention center. You go into a restaurant for dinner with one group of friends and run into many more people you know. This camaraderie really makes the event more personal and just plain fun.

Second, it’s great to see the myriad of activities going on all around the Colorado Convention Center. Although technically HydroVision International does not kick off until the opening keynote session on Tuesday afternoon, we have a plethora of what we call co-located activities that take place on Monday and Tuesday. These include association, organization and company meetings; seminars and workshops; technical tours of hydroelectric plants and facilities; the Waterpower Hydro Basics Course; a golf tournament; and more. In addition, the exhibitors are hard at work setting up their booths in anticipation of the exhibit hall opening, immediately after the keynote session. Things are going on everywhere, all the time.

Third, I went on a really great full-day technical tour of three small hydroelectric plants on Monday. Although there were glitches (having to sit on the grass under a tree in the park to eat lunch comes to mind), the amazing scenery surrounding these three facilities completely made up for it. In addition, the plants themselves were fascinating and really reflected the vibrancy of small hydropower in the state of Colorado:

  • The one-year-old Robert V. Trout (Carter Lake) plant, developed at a Bureau of Reclamation facility under the Lease of Power Privilege;
  • The one-hundred-plus-year-old Boulder Canyon plant, with its fabulous old powerhouse equipped with a modern new turbine-generator unit; and
  • The five-year-old Gross plant, built at the foot of a massive dam to extract power from water being delivered to downstream users.

Fourth, there was the excitement and anticipation of having Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper speaking during the opening keynote session. You never “really” believe these things are going to happen until you see it with your own eyes (i.e., the Govenor walking into the convention center with his staff). And since I’m one of those people who feels there’s no need to put off worrying until tomorrow if you can worry today, you can imagine I had a bit of anxiety leading up to the keynote. But, the Governor came through and he gave a great speech. It was a proud moment for me, to see a high-level elected official throw his support behind this industry and recognize its value.

Fifth, this event just provides a great opportunity for everybody to achieve their objectives. For me, in my role as senior editor of Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide magazines, there couldn’t be a better place to hear about all the great technological advances, practical applications of established technology, and problems solved and lessons learned at hydro plants. This is a rich “hunting grounds” for me in my quest to provide useful, practical information that helps our readers do their jobs better. For other attendees, HydroVision International was an opportunity to meet with potential product and service providers, hear an expert speak on a topic of particular interest to them, and maybe even conduct important business best handled face to face.

I could go on and on (and have been known to), but I’ll stop now. If you attended HydroVision International, tell me how the event worked for you. What were the highlights of this week? Did you achieve your objectives? Did you meet new friends and reconnect with old ones? I’d love to hear the success stories. And, in the spirit of continuous improvement, I’d also like to hear your suggestions for next year. What could we be doing in Nashville that would make HydroVision International even better or assist you in achieving what you set out to accomplish? You can comment on this blog or email me at elizabethi@pennwell.com.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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