SPE ANTEC® 2020: The Virtual Edition Brought Together Plastics Professionals from Around the World

Contact: Chris Barry, cbarry@4spe.org, +1.203.740.5414

DANBURY, CT—May 05, 2020: SPE’s ANTEC® 2020: The Virtual Edition was host to plastics professionals globally and from all industries for a six-week period beginning on Monday, March 30th and closing on Tuesday, May 5. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for the first five weeks and Monday and Tuesday on the sixth week, attendees logged into day-long keynote presentations and technical sessions focused on plastics used in a range of industries from medical to automotive to aerospace and more. During the six-week period, over 3,300 participants from over seven countries viewed 14 keynote speakers and 167 technical presentations facilitated by over 58 session moderators. Over 20 presentations, podcasts and demonstrations were live-streamed on YouTube and are currently accessible to everyone.

“While moving our annual conference from an in-person three-day event to a virtual offering was not an easy decision to make, we decided our only option was to change our course of action rather than postpone or cancel,” said Patrick Farrey, SPE’s CEO. “We are extremely happy with the level of success that was achieved by our virtual offering during these past six weeks. One of the most gratifying aspects of all was how multiple teams of people – from our executive board and technical committees, keynote speakers and technical presenters, to the SPE staff – came together to pull this off quickly and seamlessly.”

Over the six-week period comprised of 17 days in total, SPE clocked in 93+ hours of air-time, which not only included keynote speakers and technical presentations but blended in multiple networking opportunities, five Plastchicks Podcasts, three PlastiVan demonstrations, a how-to on getting published in SPE’s Technical Journals, two live music performances, one golf lesson, a spirited debate about the wonders of soccer, a primer on vinyl records, an early evening virtual cocktail hour, and musical interludes between sessions provided by SPE’s resident DJs. Attendees also had over 1,100 questions answered by keynotes and technical presenters. 

“Nobody is denying that in-person events provide an important one-on-one dynamic,” said Farrey. “But our goal with taking ANTEC® virtually was to ensure ‘live’ networking still played an important role. And we wanted participants to have some fun along the way even though everyone was remote. By opening the chat and Q&A options on the Zoom platform, attendees could interact directly with keynotes and speakers. In fact, technical session audiences grew exponentially for our virtual event. Some sessions had nearly 300 attendees, which would have been unlikely in our onsite event when we schedule a dozen or so concurrent sessions. For speakers this meant that their research and findings were exposed to a larger, more diverse audience."

The success of SPE’s ANTEC®2020: The Virtual Edition has led the society to offer more virtual events in the future. SPE is currently developing a virtual “Plastics In…” series, which will kick off on May 18th with a one and a half day virtual conference called Plastics in Aerospace: The Virtual Edition. This event will focus on plastics used in the aerospace industry.

“It’s a different world now,” said Farrey. “But that doesn’t mean fade away into obscurity. For SPE, we saw an opportunity. An opportunity to not only contribute to the growth of the organization but an opportunity to serve plastics professionals around the world with educational and networking programs that are accessible whether you are in North America or Europe or Asia or all points in between.”

For more information about ANTEC® 2020: The Virtual Edition, visit www.4spe.org/ANTEC. To view YouTube streamed sessions go to SPE’s YouTube channel.

SPE-Inspiring Plastics Professionals is 84 countries and 22,500+ members strong, SPE unites plastics professionals worldwide–helping them succeed and strengthening their skills through networking, events, training, and knowledge sharing. No matter where you work in the plastics industry value chain-whether you’re a scientist, engineer, technical personnel or a senior executive-nor what your background is, education, gender, culture or age-SPE is here to serve you. Web: www.4spe.org Phone: +1.203.740.5400.

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