As we started the planning process for the Forum, I have spent some time reflecting on what we want to achieve with the Forum. This year marks the 58th year of the Clemson Brick Forum and my first year as Program Director.
As a starting point, I have looked to the past for direction. From the beginning, the goal of the Forum has always been to exchange information for the betterment of the Brick and Heavy Clay Industry in North America. Under Professor Denis Brosnan‘s leadership, I learned to listen and respond to requests from the Industry and going further back, I learned from Professor Gil Robinson that sometimes you need to tell people what you think they need to hear. Incorporating what I have learned by reflecting on the past, I have set about planning for the 58th Clemson Brick Forum.
In keeping with the traditional goal of the Forum, the theme for the 58th Forum will be “Old and New”. Typically, the program is selected with the intent of educating both the people in the plants while still engaging the more senior people. For the “New”, we are focusing on new products and opportunities for the Brick and Heavy Clay Industry. We hope that attendees will go home with new ideas that can be used to lead the industry into the future. For the “Old”, we will have presentations about best practices, the latest on environmental regulations and plant upgrades. These more traditional talks have always been a part of the Forum and serve a need to share information within the industry. It is my expectation that everyone will take something back from the Forum that they can put to work to either improve on existing practices or maybe to start something completely unique.
In the time that I have been involved with the Forum, it has always been different from other meetings that I have attended. Forum participants have always been very open and willing to share with colleagues. I think this fraternal nature has helped the Forum endure through difficult economic times and flourish in the good times. While the business climate has changed over the years, it has become a little more difficult to share ideas and experiences, I hope we never lose this fraternal character.
In addition to the presentations, the Forum is an opportunity to see the latest products and technologies from the sponsors of the Forum, as well as a chance for fellowship with friends in the industry.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to anyone interested in attending this year’s Forum and we look forward to seeing you there.
John P. Sanders, Ph.D. PE
Director “The National Brick Research Center”