By Peter Wright / Published January 2022
The past two years have been challenging across all industries, and like others, the WaterJet Technology Association (WJTA) has had to adapt to challenges, particularly the cancellation of the WJTA Conference & Expo in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, restrictions on travel and in-person meetings have presented headwinds in the launch of the association’s training and certification program.
These challenges have allowed for a focus on other efforts, such as education, as the WJTA has found additional ways to support its members and the industry, including a free live webinar series and new online resources.
The new year offers an opportunity to continue progress on membership engagement, hydroblaster training and certification, and the in-person Conference & Expo, while also launching several exciting new programs, including a new scholarship program and a vacuum operator training and certification program.
One of the association’s primary goals for the new year is to bolster membership by bringing new members into the WJTA community. With the expansion of the association’s training and certification program, recent updates to WJTA best practices, and other initiatives, it is important for contractors and asset owners to stay informed and engaged.
Challenges such as workforce development and retention and opportunities from advances in safety and automation technology make this an ideal time to participate in an industry-leading trade association.
Membership is the best way to be a part of the WJTA’s mission to advance safety and technology in our industry through best practices, training, education, and connections. Additionally, WJTA members enjoy many benefits, including access to the Jet News, members-only online resources, discounts, and more.
A similar goal for 2022 is to revitalize the WJTA’s committee structure to support the association’s efforts and engage members in strengthening the Conference & Expo, the hydrodemolition initiative, membership outreach, and other programs.
In 2022, WJTA is launching student scholarships, a brand-new program that will award four scholarships of $5,000 each to WJTA members or their spouses, dependents, or grandchildren.
These scholarship awards are gifts to be applied toward the cost of tuition. They place no obligation on the recipients other than that they do the best possible work as students. In the spirit of such gifts, the recipients are not obligated to repay any money to WJTA, but it is hoped that they, too, will help others to obtain an education when they become successful in the field of their choice.
Applications are being accepted through March 31, 2022, and the WJTA is excited to support the next generation of leaders.
With the WJTA’s Hydroblaster Training and Certification program gaining momentum throughout the United States, the association is finalizing materials for the launch of a similar program for operators of industrial vacuum equipment. Like hydroblasting, industrial vacuuming is a potentially hazardous service line in which a well-trained team of operators and adherence to safe practices are critically important to avoid severe incidents.
The WJTA program will follow a similar structure as the hydroblast training, with a computer-based training (CBT) module and an instructor-led, hands-on component. The CBT gives participants instruction on WJTA recommended practices, reinforced by quiz questions throughout the module and a final knowledge verification test at the end. This gives trainees a foundational knowledge that is then reinforced and put in to practice in the hands-on training, delivered by a WJTA-verified trainer.
The standardized training and certification program is a resource for contractors in that the curriculum is frequently updated to keep pace with changes in industry practices. The industry as a whole also benefits in promoting consistent terminology and practices across different regions of the country and different end- user industries.
Following two years of event cancellations, a major goal of WJTA is a successful in-person tradeshow. The WJTA Conference & Expo is scheduled for November 2–3, 2022, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA, and offers the opportunity to reconnect as an industry and see the latest technology and products on the market.
Along with the opportunity to connect in person, the Conference & Expo will feature live demonstrations of high pressure waterjetting, industrial vacuum, and related industrial cleaning equipment; exhibits with hands-on and heavy equipment displays; unlimited opportunities for networking connections; an expanded educational program for contractors and asset owners; and much more.
The 2022 event will also include a WJTA Awards Presentation and conference research papers which had been scheduled for presentation at the 2021 Conference.
Plans are underway for a virtual presentation of WJTA’s popular day-long Basics & Beyond Short Course. The course offers an applied introduction to waterjet technology and in-depth treatment of key areas, suitable for anyone with an interest in high pressure applications. The course was scheduled to be presented live, on site in conjunction with the now cancelled 2021 WJTA Conference & Expo.
Chaired by Hugh B. Miller, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Colorado School of Mines, the Basics & Beyond Virtual Short Course will be delivered by an expert faculty from industry and academia. The course will be presented in a series of two-hour sessions with recordings and supplemental materials available to registrants.
The preliminary schedule for the Waterjet Technology Basics & Beyond Virtual Short Course is as follows:
Tuesday January 11, 10 am–12 pm Central Standard Time
Tuesday, January 18, 10 am–12 pm Central Standard Time
Tuesday, January 25, 10 am–12 pm Central Standard Time
Tuesday, February 1, 10 am–12 pm Central Standard Time
To register online or learn more, visit the WJTA website.
WJTA’s newly elected board of directors took office at the November 9, 2021, board meeting held at the Health and Safety Council in Pasadena, TX. WJTA’s executive officers were elected at the meeting to serve for the 2021–2023 term:
Newly elected and re-elected board members are David Beckum, Augusta Industrial Services; Jerry Carter, SPIR STAR; Bradley Coble, Covestro; Dee Green, USA DeBusk; Bill Krupowicz, Jetstream of Houston; and Bill Shaw, Evergreen North America. Luis Garcia, Northern Safety and Industrial, continues to serve a remaining term on the board of directors.
Retiring from the WJTA board of directors are Bill Gaff, Gary Noto, and George Savanick, Ph.D., all of whom served multiple terms of office on the board and held executive office. Mr. Gaff served several terms as chairman and was instrumental in the establishment of the WJTA Expo and in encouraging the active participation of industrial vacuum service providers and manufacturers. Mr. Noto led the establishment of WJTA’s Hydroblaster Training and Certification program, facilitating the partnership with the Health and Safety Council (HASC) and gathering the support of leading industrial contractors and asset owners. Finally, Dr. Savanick represents the last founding member of WJTA to serve on the board of directors and has held executive offices throughout his tenure, including president and treasurer. Dr. Savanick has also served as editor of the WJTA’s Jet News since the early 1980s.
With the cancellation of the 2021 Conference & Expo, portions of the WJTA educational program are being converted to free digital presentations. These webinars allow the association to continue its
mission of educating contractors, asset owners, and other stakeholders on important safety and technology topics.
The new sessions represent a continuation of the WJTA’s well-received webinar series launched in August 2020. Visit the WJTA website at www.WJTA.org for details and an up-to-date schedule.
With these efforts, 2022 will be an eventful year for WJTA and its members and an ideal time for anyone with an interest in high pressure cleaning to participate in the association’s efforts to advance safety and technology in our industry.