The ASQ-EED National Conference held in Richmond, Virginia on August 26–28, 2001 was a great experience for all those in attendance. From the executive panel discussions held each morning through the interactive technical sessions each day and visits to the sponsor organization exhibits, participants were provided with concepts on the conference theme, "Adding Value with Quality and Environmental Management Systems," that could be taken home and applied in their own organizations.
In the executive panels, information was provided on the approach being taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on environmental systems.
- EPA is focused on eliminating the contamination source rather than treatment, and this approach is beginning to be promulgated more in newer regulations.
- DoD has over 8000 personnel performing functions of environmental planning, inspection, compliance, remediation, and other safety and health functions. The focus is on adequate and thorough root cause analysis of the various environmental situations and reduction in the overhead costs.
- NASA is currently undertaking a baseline and gap analysis at all their sites for the implementation of ISO 14001. This is similar to what was done prior to the implementation of ISO 9001. However, ISO 14001 embraces the entire facility in an Environmental Management System, whereas the ISO 9001 Quality Management System is limited and directed in scope at the various NASA sites.
Other topics covered included the successes and difficulties incorporating quality and environmental programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority. There seemed to be keen interest in the presentation on the DoD Efficient Facilities Initiative (EFI, formerly known as BRAC-Base Realignment and Closure) and the Performance-Based Services Acquisition. There was positive interaction during the question-and-answer periods with a sharing of multiple concepts for improving implementation strategies and management buy-in and support.
Twenty-seven technical sessions covered topics of implementing environmental programs at various research and development facilities, power generation facilities, and other government operations. Effective processes for the integration of quality and environmental audits, the restructuring of the training focus, and the effects of the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program on state reciprocity were also discussed.
The ten exhibitors included ABS Quality Solutions; Alamo Learning Systems; BSI Inc.; Burns and Associates, Inc.; Navarro Research & Engineering, Inc.; Panorama Business Views; QSET; Registrar Accreditation Board; Southwest Research Institute; and Virginia Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Interaction between the attendees and exhibitors was facilitated by offering refreshments in the exhibit area from morning until late afternoon. Each of the exhibitors is identified as a sponsor on the EED Web site until the 2002 Conference. Please check out their services.
The conference hotel, the Richmond OMNI, was very
accommodating. The conference committee, panelists, session
chairman, and speakers all did an outstanding job in helping to
make this year's conference a success. And by the way, the
shopping and dining in the historic Richmond's Shockoe Slip
wasn't bad either!