Speaker presentations have been made available to attendees on the NASF Washington Forum website. If you have not received an email with the password to access the presentations, please contact Cheryl Clark at email@example.com.
Remember to save the date for next year’s Washington Forum, scheduled for April 19-21, 2016, and visit NASF.org for future developments on speakers and registration.
Keynotes on Taxes, Trade, Budget & Elections
Most of the speakers were new to this year’s event, although top legal commentator Andy Friedman of The Washington Update returned as the keynote kick off speaker. He reviewed the political and budget landscape in DC, highlighting the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement and other business issues pending in the final chapter of the Obama Administration.
The Forum also welcomed keynote luncheon speaker Amy Walter, former Political Director of ABC News and now National Editor of the Cook Political Report. Walter is an up and coming commentator with a fresh outlook on American politics. She discussed emerging 2016 presidential candidates, legislative trends, and the recent transformation of traditional and social media coverage of U.S. politics and news.
Benchmarking U.S. and Global Finishing
A major highlight of the event was the role of global regulations and their impacts on the manufacturing supply chain. Presentations included NASF Strategic Partner the Nickel Institute, as well as a panel discussion on current challenges and trends for job shops.
The industry panel discussion was led by David Elliott, leader of the European surface finishing associations. He was joined by job shop owners Lee Grant and Godfrey Evans from the UK, and finishing industry leaders Marcelo Alvarez from the newly formed Mexican plating association and Mike Kuntz from the Canadian Association for Surface Finishing.
New conference highlights this year included a view of plating and finishing at the Smithsonian Institution by David Hendrick, plating manager at the National Air & Space Museum, and a business and economic outlook from Dr. Chad Moutray, chief economist of the National Association of Manufacturers.
Robin Nissan from the Department of Defense reviewed recent decisions from the Pentagon on chemicals restrictions, new industry trends (see the global aerospace and defense industry’s new declarable substances list in this month’s Bulletin), and opportunities for industry to connect with future defense research and development projects.
Local, State & Federal Rules – New Wastewater Standards for Finishing?
Attendees also got an early update on where U.S. EPA is headed on possible changes to current wastewater rules for the industry. Agency officials highlighted their review of the current federal 413 and 433 effluent guideline standards that may see new changes by 2016, and highlighted current rulemaking discussions underway NASF. Alexandra Dunn, Executive Director of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), provided a regulatory perspective from the 50 states’ environmental agency chiefs and future approaches to water, air, waste and chemicals controls. Chris Hornback, senior regulatory director of the Washington-based trade association for the municipal wastewater treatment community, highlighted the history of collaboration between NASF and local regulators.
Labor Policy and Workplace Safety
On workplace and safety laws, top legal advisors close to the industry gave a strategic review of new trends on which small and large employers will need to stay informed as the Obama administration winds down. Kate McMahon, partner at Conn Maciel, spotlighted key OSHA decisions affecting finishing, and attorney Justin Keith of Greenberg Traurig highlighted the potential impact of major EEOC and NLRB decisions, including the new organized-labor backed “ambush election” union organizing rules. Greenberg Traurig partner Jerry Stouck, outside counsel to NASF, reviewed his recent arguments before the second highest court in the land – the DC Circuit federal court of appeals – on pending NASF litigation against EPA on chromium air emissions and PFOS-based mist suppressants.
Participants once again had the opportunity to take the industry’s message directly to Capitol Hill, meeting with Senators, Representatives and their staff to discuss a few timely issues after a briefing from the American Chemistry Council on the need for meaningful reform to the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).