Attendees at various stages in their hydro careers share what makes HydroVision International a valuable learning opportunity.
By Gregory B. Poindexter
Compared to 10 years ago, the business world is increasingly dominated by swipe and tap, a forward from point and click likely spurred on by the efficiency of mobile communication platforms. In such a world: Does face-to-face interaction have importance? Further, does in-person interaction between business professionals justify costs for travel, lodging and time away from normal business when compared to the ease of swipe and tap?
Read on to hear, in their own words, how industry professionals answer, “Yes” to these questions and the benefits they receive from attending HydroVision International.
Harrison E. Mutikanga, managing director and chief executive officer of Uganda Electricity Generation Co., has worked in hydropower for fewer than four years, before that working for a water and sewerage company.
Mutikanga said: Attending HydroVision International is important because you meet a lot of people doing similar work, so it’s an opportunity for networking. We realize that the challenges are similar everywhere. We try to pick up a few lessons that are valuable to us, especially us in Uganda where we are constructing new hydropower plants.
Josh Bessette is the apprenticeship and training coordinator for the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. He joined Reclamation in 2016.
Bessette said: The value is in meeting the people and being around industry professionals and getting out of the bubble of our project, seeing the latest and greatest technology, and talking with people who are doing cool things in the industry. It’s all about getting out best practices, best ideas and the sharing piece. There are so many presentations, you can find an interesting topic regardless of your job, and gain from it, and see what other people are doing.
Others allied to hydro
Bianca Viggiano is a PhD candidate studying fluid dynamics, with applications to renewable energy and atmospheric flows, at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Viggiano said: I attended in 2016 too, and you get to see a lot of familiar faces. The Hydro Research Foundation does a great job of connecting you with really whoever you want to talk to. I’m interested in working in national labs. There’s great people here to connect with, and at lunch I was sitting next to somebody from NREL and talking to them about my research. It’s just so easy to be exposed with what you’re doing, and gain connections with people.
Shelaine Curd is water power research operations manager and principal investigator in the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the U.S. She has been in the hydro industry just under 10 years.
Curd said: HydroVision International is the main place to meet leaders from throughout the world, and leaders throughout all of the U.S., associated with hydropower. This is my seventh year at HydroVision. The first few years it was more gathering information through a fire hose. Now it’s much more about making sure we’re making the right connections with the different research in which we are engaged.
Product and service providers
Brandi Reilly, senior marketing manager for power at U.S.-based HDR, has more than 22 years of experience in the industry.
Reilly said: This has been so valuable just to cultivate our relationships that we have with our clients and have a forum where we can talk collectively and cohesively about all of the issues we see in hydro. I think it’s just valuable for anyone in our industry to be here.
Duc Duy Tran, P.E., is an account manager in the industrial automation — power generation business unit of ABB. He has worked in hydro for only two years.
Tran said: You should be here and participate in the discussions. Bring some of your concerns as well, so that others are aware of what’s happening. We’re all busy with our everyday work, but you’ll be able to put that away and really dive in with some of the real-time dynamics in the field.
HydroVison International 2018 is being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., June 26 to 28. The event allows face to face interaction via more than 60 sessions across 13 conference tracks. Presenters deliver information on the industry’s most important and trending topics. About 3,000 industry professionals from more than 50 countries attended the world’s largest hydro industry event in 2017.
Gregory Poindexter is associate editor for Hydro Review.
A Hydro Industry Veteran’s Perspective
By Antonio Fonseca dos Santos
I first attended HydroVision International in 2002, and it was difficult to understand the event’s immense size. I participated in a technical paper session showing a case study of a Brazilian plant, and many questions and fulfilling discussions followed. The discussions brought out many good points, which helped me address work-related technical challenges I was dealing with. Since then, I have participated in the conference portion of HydroVision International for at least 10 years, and I am on the event’s technical papers committee.
Participating in HydroVision International can improve one’s professional skills. The sharing of information, knowledge and viewpoints is one of the most important objectives you can achieve. The knowledge gained by participating in the many activities is important and can help toward effective solutions for problems with which you are dealing.
As a participant from a developing-economy country, being in touch with other professionals brings insights that usually help me with challenges I have at home. HydroVision gives you the opportunity to build alliances with 3,000-plus hydro professionals and water resources stakeholders.
By listening to technical paper presentations and participating in panel discussion sessions, you can gain a better understanding of current and future challenges affecting hydropower from many points of view.
The exhibition provides numerous opportunities to learn about hydro-related product and service providers and is a great networking venue. Some of my colleagues, whom I met while visiting a company’s exhibit, have kept in contact during the years and are just a phone call away.
Participating in HydroVision International has facilitated exciting and fulfilling learning experiences for me.
Another important finding: I have learned through the years I attended HydroVision about the growing importance of sustainability. In my early years in the industry, environmental and social issues were important but treated more as a burden. The importance of hydropower for the environment and sustainable development has grown, as I can verify by the number of technical papers that discuss this matter and related issues.
Antonio Fonseca dos Santos, environment and sustainability director for Brookfield Renewable Energy Group-Brazil, has more than 30 years in hydro.