Lawrence D. Sloan, president of The Adhesive and Sealant
Council, Inc., recounts the FEICA 2008 Conference & Expo, held Sept. 11-12,
2008, in Marseille, France.
The venue, the historic Palais du Pharo, is situated on a rocky plateau with breathtaking views of Marseille's scenic Vieux-Port (Old Port).
The FEICA 2008 Conference & Expo took place on September
11-12, 2008, in balmy Marseille,
second-largest and oldest city, with roots dating back some 2,600 years. As a
thriving metropolis and “gateway to Europe” for North Africa, Marseille’s
multi-cultural population underscores the demographics of “new Europe” and was chosen, in part, to illustrate the fact that
diversity breeds success within FEICA.
The venue for the event, the historic Palais du Pharo, is situated on a rocky
plateau with breathtaking views of Marseille’s scenic Vieux-Port (Old Port).
In 1852, then-Prince/President Louis-Napoleon III commissioned its construction
as an expression of his commitment to the City of Marseille. However, he died before its grand
opening, and the edifice was later donated to the city. The complex currently
serves as a prestigious conference center, attracting groups from all over the
The event’s theme, “Meeting the Challenges of Tomorrow Through Innovation,”
featured multiple session tracks running throughout the day on Thursday, with a
mid-afternoon lunch break co-located with an Expo. On Friday, delegates
attended a business forum, followed by a keynote address on sustainability by
Professor Karl-Henrik Robert. Robert is founder of The Natural Step, an
international non-profit research, education and advisory organization that
helps other organizations attain more sustainable business practices. Previous
clients cited include Rohm & Haas, Hydro Polymers and Swedish furniture
During the two days prior to the conference, FEICA held various internal
meetings, including the European Technical Board, National Associations Forum
and Direct Companies Forum, all of which I was privileged to attend and
participate in. Because of the logistical challenges of delegates staying at
five nearby hotels and the conference being located in two different buildings,
the informal moniker of the event was “Let’s Stick Together,” as was emblazoned
on the backs of ever-helpful local hosts serving as “traffic directors” to ensure
that no one got lost.
Some 260 people attended (a reported 25% increase over last
year), with delegates representing 19 countries, including 15 from the United States
(also an increase over previous years). FEICA also reported that the number of
delegates from SME (small/medium enterprises) increased by a third over previous
meetings, achieving one of its primary goals in increasing attendance from this
sector of the membership. A total of 17 companies exhibited at the Expo,
representing a mix of industry publications, service suppliers and raw-material
Thursday’s Opening Session featured a timely talk on REACH, led by consultant
Andrew Fasey, PtK Ltd., who enthusiastically implored the audience to “get
moving” on working with raw-material suppliers to ensure that critical
feedstocks were pre-registered before the deadline. After this, the program
split into three parallel tracks - Technical, Legislation, and Service Provider
- designed to communicate the latest in raw-material technologies, industry
services, and key changes in EU legislation affecting the European market.
I was honored to be asked to speak in the Service Provider track. Three of us
presented talks on the global market review. Monique Von Dungen, founder of
Chem Research GmbH and author of FEICA’s European Market Study, kicked off our
session and presented on the state of the industry in Europe.
I followed with a discussion of the U.S. market. David Nick, managing
director of DPNA International and author of ASC’s North American
, concluded with a report on the “rest of the world”
(including Asia, Latin America and Africa/Oceania). I am pleased to report that
the room was packed with audience members asking insightful questions of all
FEICA General Assembly.
Friday’s business forum featured senior technical and
business executives from six industry leaders: Henkel, PPG, Dow Chemical,
Bostik, Huntsman Polyurethanes (global enterprises) and Kiilto Oy (a regional
company). Each speaker delivered a 10-minute address summarizing the key
challenges their company is facing, what innovation means to them, and how they
leverage innovation to achieve organic growth. This well-executed session
helped the audience to gain a clearer understanding of how each company
positioned itself as a leader in its specific market segment.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the evening networking events, which
FEICA is known for. On Wednesday evening, we were treated to a relaxing
motorboat ride in the harbor, followed by a lively fish dinner on a restaurant
in Vieux-Port. Thursday’s gala dinner, at the Palais du Pharo, featured
delicious French cuisine and, as usual, a first-rate band that got delegates
out of their seats and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
A quaint inlet in Marseille.
I am pleased to report that the working relationship between
FEICA and the ASC is stronger than ever. Examples of strong collaboration
include success in crafting industry market segment and technology definitions
(harmonized between the EU and U.S.
now), cooperation with WAC ’08 (and soon, preparations for ’12), and the
interest in working together on further enhancements to (and promotion of) the
new end-use outreach Web portal, www.adhesives.org
FEICA 2009 will take place September 17-18 in Budapest, Hungary.
This will be FEICA’s first foray into hosting a meeting in this part of the
world, with the goal of growing their membership to include companies (and
future national associations) from Eastern Europe.