NASCC 2011: Observations on THE Steel Conference in THE Steel City

Although attendance was down at this year’s NASCC, the overall mood was cautiously optimistic.  There is still a shortage of “nice” projects, but the firms in attendance claimed to be comfortably busy.

This was my first NASCC and I have to say it was really interesting to observe the varied perspectives of the target demographic:  Design Engineers, Steel Fabricators, Steel
Erectors, Steel Detailers and General Contractors.

For example, following the presentation on the Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh Penguins’ arena), I was most interested in learning how the Design Team convinced the Owner that the “Design-Assist” process would be the most beneficial approach.  Then, a question came from the floor asking how the Tension Ties were installed with the four Shoring Towers apparently in the way.  It seemed we all had different parts of the elephant at hand.  But, that’s a good reminder about seeing the big picture.

The AISC’s Student program was well received.  Having young, enquiring (read: non-jaded) minds questioning possibilities added a breath of fresh air to what can
sometimes be a stuffy environment.  Several of my friends had direct involvement with the Student groups and all gained from the experience.

RISA Technologies booth

Other observations:

I also referred to Pittsburgh as “the SQUEAL City” after enduring the constant,
piercing squeals of brakes as trains inched their way along the viaduct near
the 9th Street Bridge.  Good thing I didn’t have a hangover!

I’d recommend “The Priory” Hotel ( ) for visitors to
Pittsburgh.  It’s a nicely converted monastery (very fitting, for those who know me well…) that offers free wifi, free breakfast and free parking.  A short walk to downtown, during the day, and a cheap cab ride back, at night.

PNC Park looked very cool from the outside.  Two friends tried to catch the game on
Thursday, but got rained out.

Heinz Field is modest in comparison to most newer football stadiums.  Gotta respect the working class history and ethic of the Steelers.  Almost Packer-like 😉 .  Our stadium tour guide was a real hoot.

Pittsburgh Steeler Locker Room

About Dave Pluke

Dave Pluke served as "the man behind the curtain" (Principal and VP of Technology) of a successful Structural Engineering firm for over 2 decades. Overseeing the transition from two, stand-alone 80286 Personal Computers, through Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Design to a fully networked, Building Information Modeling (BIM) integrated environment has provided plenty of "life lessons" (sounds better than "battle scars", doesn't it?). This blog's purpose is to share those experiences and apply lessons learned to better assist meeting the challenges of the future.
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