Monday, March 21, 2016

Another Great Conference! PACNY Does It Again! - Part One

This year, 2016 in the Chinese New Year is the year of the Monkey.  Monkeys are witty, intelligent and have a magnetic personality.  Well that description pretty much describes the 20th Annual Environmental Conference held by the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) this year.  The three day conference started with the Third Annual Proficiency Day on Wednesday, February 24 and finished on Friday, February 26 with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) panel led by Dr. Eileen Franko.  Each day was a wealth of information and networking.  With such a strong line-up there were quite a few people from all over New York State, New York City and Long Island at the conference (several people we haven't seen for quite a few years). This year's conference was the most attended conference ever.
    
Mr. Kevin Malone Presenting Asbestos Training Stats for 2015
The Third Annual Proficiency day, which had 105 attendees versus last year's 72 attendees, started with Mr. Kevin Malone, Director of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Asbestos Training Program, giving us an update on the asbestos training program and the goals of the program to "bring consistency to training, elevate training standards, and ensure a competent workforce".  Dr. Eileen Franko of NYSDOL, followed with an update on the NYS mold training program.  Dr. Franko's update included clarifications of mold law and emphasizing that the law is a "consumer protection law."  Ms. Theresa Bourbon of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explained the changes to the Renovation, Repair, & Painting (RRP) Training Program regarding hands-on component training and violations cited in Fiscal Year 2015.  Those violations included: "93% of cases involved "paperwork" violations, 69% of cases involved firm certification, and 40% of cases involved "work" violations.  Finishing the day was Mr. Doug Miller of the Rochester Institute of Technology an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Education Center discussing the Outreach program and new OSHA outreach cards that will be issued (for construction, general industry, & maritime).  The President's reception (the current President is Mr. Sean Hart of Energy and Environment President's reception) was entertaining and featured "Dan the Magic Man!".

Ms. Deb Sanscrainte of Aramsco, Chairwomen of the PACNY Conference
The Technical Sessions began on the second day of the conference, with the hall holding 227 attendees versus last year's 197 attendees.  Ms. Deb Sanscrainte of Aramsco, chairwomen of the conference, welcomed everyone.  Opening Remarks from Mr. Brent Kynoch of the Environmental Information Association (EIA) and Mr. Thomas Meade, the Executive Director of PACNY followed.  The first session was Mr. Ed Cottingham of the Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust discussing the history of the trust and how it is paying for the removal of zonolite attic insulation.  The next presentation was on Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in building materials presented by Dr. Dan Leftkowitz followed by Mr. Steve Fess of Xerox Corporation discussing an update on the American Industrial Hygiene Association's (AIHA) "Guidance Document on PCBs in the Built Environment."  After a break in the Vendor Hall, the next presentations were on silica by Dr. Michael Lax, MD of Upstate Medical University, discussing diagnosis treatment & prevention of silica related disease; Mr. Jeff Prebish, CIH of OSHA, discussing OSHA's proposed respirable crystalline silica rule; and Mr. Jim Sorel, CIH of Industrial Hygiene Consulting Services, discussing silica sampling methods and protocols.  The set-up of the sessions for the silica presentation was outstanding and assisted with information gathering.  At this point, the conference broke for a buffet lunch.  While PACNY held a meet & greet session just after lunch, to encourage membership in PACNY.  The conference continued after lunch and in our next post will discuss the rest of the conference.  

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