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Guest Blog: Adventures at SMRP19


Contributor: Bob Latino, CEO of Reliability Center Inc.

I attended the SMRP19 National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and I’m glad I did!!  I had not been to a national conference of theirs in a long time, so I was eager to see what’s new.

First off, via LinkedIn, I sent out a message to my connections seeing who was attending and who might want to meet up. About 20 of us ended up gathering at a lounge after the opening ceremonies. It was great to actually meet the people that I often corresponded with on LI, but have never met in person. I was telling them they were like ‘unicorns’; I heard a lot about them, but didn’t think they really existed (::chuckles::). It was a great way to kick off the week. Many old friends joined us as well, so it was like a reunion.

From left to right: Bob Latino, Howard Penrose, Branka Stemack at SMRP 2019
From left to right: Bob Latino, Howard Penrose, Branka Stemack

There were two days of packed sessions at the Kentucky International Conference Center.  This was a huge venue, but I’ll say the staff was amazingly accommodating.  Many of the vendors commented about how helpful they were with setups and how they were not ‘nickel-and-dimed’ to death with extra charges.  Food was great and provided in a timely manner.

The keynote presenter was Aron Ralston, and everyone who attended that session will remember his story for the rest of their lives. The movie ‘127 Hours’ was based on his experience ‘canyoneering’. He was by himself and experienced a fall within a crevice of a canyon when an 800-pound boulder he stepped on became dislodged, and he fell.  The boulder followed and wedged in the crevice, unfortunately crushing one of his hands to the point he was trapped.  The long and short of it was a story of courage, resilience, creativity and the human will to live. He was trapped for 127 hours. Unfortunately, he had to cut his arm off!! This is a story no one will forget.

There was a plethora of value-added topics overall, but I attended great ones on Defect Elimination, Job Mapping, Running Effective Work Prioritization Meetings, Human Reliability Analysis, Making a Reliability Business Case, Waste Elimination vs Cost Cutting, Where Does RCM Fit in a Reliability Effort, Progressively Rolling our Reliability, The Role of Commissioning in Keeping Aging Equipment in Good Shape (DC Water), and The Productive Leadership System.  There were several familiar faces of old friends of mine who were speaking. In general the caliber of the speakers was excellent.

Bob with Jared Hartness of GE Digital, talking ‘shop’
Bob with Jared Hartness of GE Digital, talking ‘shop’

We were told there had been nearly 1,200 attendees and about 100 exhibitors.  I was impressed with the display of new technologies available in the exhibit hall and the Subject Matter Experts sharing their experience openly.

Kudos to the SMRP Conference Staff who put this monumental effort together.  While it was seemingly flawless to the attendees, we all know behind the curtains there can be hiccups we just never hear about…isn’t that what Reliability is all about, NO SURPRISES!!

Bob Latino with JD Solomon, with Jacobs Engineering, presenting his new book
Bob Latino with JD Solomon, with Jacobs Engineering, presenting his new book

Read more from Bob Latino, engage with him on LinkedIn, or check out his contributions to the new RAM Review!

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