Last Thursday morning, boot-wearing Texans from around the state filed through the doors of Texas State Technical College. They were there for WindTech 2012, a hands-on educational event for wind technicians and students that was organized in part by this publication. I was posted just inside those doors, acting as the directions guy. “Are you here for WindTech?” I’d ask them, and then I’d point to the gym where we had positioned exhibitors and breakfast.
People down south eat in delicious ways we folks from Cleveland, where Windpower Engineering and Development is based, may only imagine. The students and technicians ate their meal, which one exhibitor said was “the best tradeshow food he’s ever had,” and then shuttled from booth to booth, checking out the tools of the wind energy trade. WindTech 2012 had begun.
Among the exhibitors was Aztec Bolting Services, a provider of torque wrenches, hydraulic tensioners and calibration equipment. I must admit, I like this company. Not only is their expertise obvious, but they also bring motorcycles to tradeshows.
The bikes were awesome, as Courtney Seel, a regional sales manager, can attest.
WindTech 2012, the inaugural event, took place in the humble town of Sweetwater, Texas, which is known for its Rattlesnake Roundup (on March 8 next year, if you’re interested) and Avenger Field, which became known as the largest all-female air base in American history after it opened in 1941. The airport is located right next to the college.
Oh, and a few wind turbines spin in the distance. It’s doubtful you’d ever find them.
Indeed, hosting WindTech 2012 on a campus that caters to students of that field was great boost. The staff jumped in to help run the show, and students took in all they could – many staying a whole day.
WindTech featured expert speakers on topics from blade maintenance to turbine safety. But it also featured a hands-on component, which, I’ve heard, was a favorite among those who participated.
I enjoyed the opportunity to use a composite from Sika Corporation, a New Jersey-based industrial materials company, to repair a damaged blade (there may be a video featuring this in the near future), just as the technician below is doing.
Spider, the largest manufacturer of access and safety solutions in North America, attracted a lot of attention with their blade-access training. A picture is below. Being a visual geek myself, I keep thinking their name and logo are about the coolest of any wind company. I’d like to meet a worthy challenger.
The night before the show, the mayor of Sweetwater, Greg Wortham, who also runs the Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse, held a dinner for sponsors. We had chicken and steak fajitas, lots of guacamole … and a few margaritas. I want a cowboy hat!
The show ended with an emergency. It was a dramatization, but a helicopter dropped by, anyway. Griselda Sanchez, an education and career specialist at TSTC, was the supposed victim of a dreadful fall from a tower. Members of the Sweetwater Fire Department came to her rescue, lowering her to the ground, stabilizing her body and sending her to the chopper, which supposedly took her to the hospital.
I heard, however, they just asked her to stand up and walk away.
Overall, the show was a success. It was our first. We’re planning four shows in 2013, with the first located in Palm Springs, Calif. So, will you be there? I’ll be happy to give you directions.
Photos by assistant editor Steven Bushong and WTWH Media multimedia specialist Jessica East.
Filed Under: O&M