Saturday, September 29, 2018

Future Environment Designs Attends LITE 2018 - What Else Can We Do To Improve Our Offerings?

What has now become the annual trek to Edinburgh, Scotland to attend the Leadership Innovation Technology Evolution (LITE) conference was on September 20 and 21, 2018.  Just like the previous conferences, we came away from this conference inspired to continue to improve on our course offerings and increase the information we provide you.  We will continue to transition to online course evaluations, by using Surfaces connected to the course evaluation system we will go electronic for course evaluations.  We are also in the process of converting the asbestos refresher exams to be online.  That will probably take a while to accomplish, hoping to complete it within the next year.

Vicky Kavanagh of Administrate Discussing the Advantages of Blended Learning

Presentations by Vicky Kavanagh of Administrate, Sandy Rushton of Bright Carbon, and Graham David of Blue Bettle Productions taught us how to improve our presentations and make them more informative and entertaining.  Vicky Kavanagh's presentation helped us to determine what else we can we do with the blended learning environment we created.  Sandy Rushton's presentation taught us how animations in powerpoint presentations can help keep learners focused on the message.  Graham David's presentation encouraged us to ask more questions in our presentations to make it more interactive.  These improvements you will see in the next courses and over the next year.

Sandy Rushton of Bright Carbon Discussing How to Improve Stories
We will be expanding our token program for providing access to additional online training courses, and increasing the topics we cover on these programs.  Starting January 2019, to add value to our training courses every registration will include a Silver Token that will be good for taking one online course and will be good for a year.  Our current online courses include courses on respirators, crystalline silica, asbestos awareness, and New York City asbestos handler/supervisor exam review course.  The next courses we are working on is a New York City asbestos investigator exam review course and a Hazard Communication/Right-to-Know Course.  We hope to have these courses available before the New Year.

#LITE2018 was Inspiring and Informative as Previous LITEs


The #LITE2018 conference helped us learn more about the Administrate program and a new feature coming out down road called Learning Paths may help us develop even more courses.  The end of the first day was the annual Historic Pub Crawl which we enjoyed and included visiting three pubs the BeeHive Inn, Biddy Mulligans, and the Jolly Judge.  All three had old wooden bars that were quite impressive.  More interesting was the ability to drink outside the pubs in the UK, not just in a patio or a beer garden.  The Jolly Judge was in a courtyard where you were allowed to stand outside with your drink and while discussing the day's events.  LITE 2018 was another successful conference and we will be able to continue to expand our offerings because of the Administrate product.  

Pub Crawl was Fun & Good for Networking



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Future Environment Designs Celebrates 30 Years in Business in October. What the heck is SNUR?


View Do As I Say, Not As I Did by Angelo Garcia III

On October 5, 1988, Future Environment Designs Inc. was founded by Angelo Garcia, III.  When we started the company, our only thought was, considering the companies we worked for, how hard could this be.  Well 30 years later here we are a slightly different focus from when we started, but the same drive of trying to provide the best service we can for our clients.  Since the official date of our anniversary falls when we are in the Plattsburgh area, we are starting the celebration at 4:30 PM on October 5, 2018, at the Valcour Brewing Company, 49 Ohio Avenue, Plattsburgh, NY 12903.  The second date of our celebration will be held at 5:00 PM on October 9, 2018, at Sapsuckers Hops & Grub, 287 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743.  We hope to see you at one of the events to help us celebrate our 30 Years!

In honor of making it to 30 years, we have written a book called "Do As I Say, Not As I Did - Thinking Of Opening a Business, Some of the Things You Should Consider".  The book is available through Blurb as a hardcover or a pdf.  If you bring the book to one of our classes or one of our Anniversary events, we would be honored to sign it for you.  We wrote this book to discuss our experiences over the 30 years and to provide you with a resource if you ever consider opening your own business.

Over the 30 years, we have seen lots of changes in the industry and outside of the industry.  It is interesting to remember when we started we used beepers and phone cards to stay in communication between the field staff and the office.  Now, most people have cell phones.  We used typewriters to fill out ACP5 forms.  Now, they are done online.  We used to provide students course manuals that were hundreds of pages and took forever to find what you were looking for.  Now the manuals are electronic/digital and you can do a keyword search to find what you are looking for in minutes or even seconds.  But with all this advancement the work still stays the same.  Workers still need to wear respirators to protect themselves, still need to take showers to leave the contamination at the work site, still need to use water to keep dust levels below exposure levels, and create a negative pressure inside the work area to prevent the escape of asbestos fibers from the work area.  So while a lot has changed and a lot has still stayed the same!

When we opened our business doing consulting work in the asbestos industry, we were asked by our mentors and friends why.  Many of them thought or felt all the asbestos will be removed in 5-10 years.  It is interesting that not only is all of the asbestos not removed but, after 30 plus years of wanting to ban asbestos, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instead of an outright ban of asbestos has actually proposed a rule that could allow asbestos to be used in products that they have determined are no longer available.  This proposed rule is called SNUR (Significant New Use Rule).  The rule would require manufacturers and importers to receive EPA approval before starting or resuming manufacturing and importing or processing of asbestos.  Currently, new uses of asbestos were banned under the original Toxic Substance Control Act - Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule issued in 1989, though portions were overturned the ban on new commercial uses after August 25, 1989, remains.  Materials not subject to the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule and hence are the subject of this SNUR are:

  • Asbestos arc chutes
  • Asbestos pipeline wrap
  • Asbestos separators in fuel cells and batteries
  • Asbestos-reinforced plastics
  • Beater-add gaskets
  • Extruded sealant tape
  • Filler for acetylene cylinders
  • High-grade electrical paper
  • Millboard
  • Missile liner
  • Roofing felt 
  • Vinyl-asbestos floor tile 
  • Adhesives and Sealants 
  • Roof and Non-Roof Coatings 
  • Other Building Products (other than cement product)
As you may wonder and as many others have, why a SNUR?  Why not a flat out ban?  Why else but to allow asbestos to be used by certain industries, for example, the chlor-alkali industry which currently is the primary importer of asbestos still today!  In 2016, EPA noted that 340 metric tons of asbestos were imported into the United States all of it used by the chlor-alkali industry.  We think the list of materials that are affected by the SNUR is interesting, imagine if they allowed the return of asbestos use in floor tiles, roofing felts, electrical paper, adhesives and sealants and roof and non-roof coatings.  All of these are building materials that would be required to be inspected and determined if they contain asbestos.  If they contain asbestos, they will have to be removed as asbestos-containing materials.  The asbestos abatement industry may never go out of business if that was the case.  So maybe, we'll still be here for another 30 years.  Imagine that!