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IBEX 2011

Chip Dickison, NSBA’s Training and Certification Coordinator, attended six different workshop/seminars during the 2011 International Boatbuilders Exhibition in Louisville, Kentucky.  The seminar topics (including their description) and key points he noted from each are listed below.

If you need more information on any topic, please contact Chip by email at [email protected].

1. Composite Infusion Technology – Oct 16th

“Composite Infusion Technology has been fairly rapidly adopted by many of the leading composites manufacturers in the world.  Today, Composite Infusion Technology is a standard manufacturing process in the marine, public transportation, wind energy, and industrial markets. Composite Infusion Technology makes emission problems a thing of the past.  Other advantages of this closed-molding process are improved composite performance, lower processing times, and improved working environments.  At the same time, productivity are improved composite performance, lower processing times, and improved working environments. At the same time, productivity and quality are significantly improved when compared to open-molded composites.  This workshop will explain details of the composite infusion process including: infusion concepts, manifold strategies, materials and equipment for infusion, virtual infusion and computerized flow simulation.”

Presenters: James Jones, Manager-Americas, Composite Consulting Group; Belle Blanding, Sr. Process Specialist, CCG; Dean Calendar, Process Specialist, CCG

Key Points:

  • Occupational Health and Safety benefits: styrene emissions reduced by 90%, less ventilation required
  • Production benefits: no secondary bonding required between skins and cores, core may act as transfer medium to skins, unlimited set-up time, reduction in labour
  • Workforce benefits: enhanced recruitment and retention
  • Quality/performance benefits: high fibre/resin ratio, better laminate properties with less weight, better laminate thickness and property control, easily repeatable, consistent process, high quality bonds using cores
  • Low investment/fast start up with existing molds
  • May include secondary structures in primary molding process
  • Higher flow rates can minimize the number of resin feed lines
  • Core complete with laminate gives much stronger structural integrity

Comments: I was somewhat disappointed with this workshop as it seemed intended to sell the services of the presenters and I didn’t really hear anything very new.

2. Apprenticeships: Learning from New Zealand – Oct. 17th

“Home to one of the most successful and widely respected marine industry apprenticeship programs in the world, New Zealand has more than 600 apprentices and 185 sponsoring companies.  In this session, we’ll explore: ‘How did they do that?’ We’ll hear how the NZ apprenticeship program works starting with an explanation of how NZ defines, recruits, and trains apprentices.  Next, we’ll find out how companies support and benefit from the program, and we’ll find out how the NZ Marine Industry Training Organisation keeps it all moving forward in a sustainable manner. Finally, questions and observations about apprenticeship in general will be discussed.”

Presenter: Chris van der Hor, General Manager, New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation

Comments: I attended to provide support and/or information if required.  I have a copy of Chris’ PowerPoint presentation notes if members are interested in learning more.

3. Lifelong Learning: The Importance of Personal Development – Oct 17th

“To be truly effective, one’s training program should include a mix of targeted job skills, personal effectiveness tools, and academic competencies.  For example, employees should be learning time management, organization, and communication.  They first need to know basic workplace skills. If you want your team to be more efficient, you might need to teach them better communication skills so they can work together effectively and eventually contribute innovative and constructive ideas on the job.  In this session, we will explore how to motivate employees and co-workers by teaching them new skills and by helping them to improve their existing abilities.  Not only will they be more satisfied in their workplace, they will experience greater self-worth as they continue their professional development.  We’ll show you how establishing an attitude of continual learning can lead to a culture of continuous improvement in your workplace.”

Presenters: Rich Difede, Gold Coast Yachts; Pam Lendzion, Legendary Marina Management

Key Points:

  • Target specific training groups – entry-level, apprentices, journeymen, team leaders, masters, supervisors, management
  • ‘TABE’ – Testing for Adult Basic Education (essential skills)
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Academic competencies
  • Workplace competencies
  • Business technology skills
  • Leadership training
  • Teaching/mentoring skills

Comments: Well done session.  Both presenters were engaging and provided excellent information about their respective tasks on the importance of Lifelong Personal Development.

4. Professional Development – Oct 18th

“Not sure why professional development for your employees – and yourself – is important?  Think about it: are the latest developments in global competition, new technology implementation, product development, production techniques, and the always present threat of new government rules and regulations on your horizon? Are you retaining or losing your key personnel? Discuss how effective training and developing your employees is critical to your firm’s economic survival.  Learn how to build and implement a successful professional development plan for your organization.”

Presenters: Steve Kitchin, New England Institute of Technology; Bill Yeargin, Correct Craft Inc.

Key Points:

  • What if I train people and they leave? What if you don’t train people and they stay? What are the impacts?
  • What keeps people with you? 
    • coworkers and their work environment
    • a sense that management cares
    • challenging jobs
    • flexibility in their jobs
    • money
    • autonomy and creative freedom
    • training
    • a vested interest in the organization, e.g., stocks, shares, etc.
    • emotional pride in the product(s) they help produce
    • team spirit

Comments: Excellent session!  Both presenters spoke with great passion about the impact of their respective subject matter regarding professional development in terms of positive business impact and the fact that many businesses do not get it!

5. Train the Trainer – Oct 19th

“As your business moves into the new economy, you are probably investigating how to provide for much needed training for your workers, while also reducing cost and downtime.  Increasingly, marine businesses are adopting in-house methods where key staff members provide training for new and incumbent workers.  Is this the best method to maximize your team’s learning potential? While many workers are topnotch at their jobs technically, you might need to provide them with some new teaching skills before they can become effective instructors.  During this session, we’ll explore some insights into what goes into a productive in-house training program and how you can create one for your shop.  We’ll also share some real-world case studies and initiatives  to illustrate how training your trainers can pay off for your company.”

Presenters: Shirley Adams, Correct Craft Inc.; Ken Rusinek, The Landing School; Ed Sherman, American Boat and Yacht Council

Key Points:

  • Daily pre-test and post-test snapshots to training provides opportunities to reinforce fundamental learning concepts
  • Guided note-taking – outline of course materials with directions for taking notes
  • Interactive presentations – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic/tactile (hands on), no long-term sitting!
  • Target employees with less than one year of experience
  • Successful training program completion tied to a raise (Correct Craft)
  • Awareness of different learning styles and appropriate teaching modalities
  • Learner ‘situational’ barriers: time, financial and home/job responsibilities
  • Learner ‘dispositional’ barriers: low self confidence, negative past experiences, (with adult learners) fear of being ‘too old’ to participate, fear of technology, fear of failure

Comments: Another excellent session with very knowledgeable and passionate presenters! I have an outline of each presenter’s PowerPoint presentation if any further information is required.

6. Marine Applications of Lithium-Ion Batteries – Oct 19th

“Lithium battery technology has certainly been the buzz for the last several years.  Alternative battery technology is of increasing interest as more and more boat builders and marine service technicians look at hybrid and all-electric powering solutions for their customers.  These presenters represent major companies that have invested considerable resources in the development of lithium-ion batteries for marine applications.  Interestingly, all four have taken slightly different approaches to their battery management methodology.  During this session, we will compare and contrast their different approaches as well as look at how ABYC standards are addressing the rapid evolution of these high-current energy density battery systems.”

Presenters: Friedrich Boebel, Torqeedo GmbH; Bob Gray, Valence Technology; Menna Ligterink, Mastervolt Inc.; Alex Mevay, Genasium LLC; Ed Sherman, American Boat and Yacht Council

Key Points:

  • Lithium-ion phosphate chemistry has become universally more acceptable in lithium-ion batteries for economic and safety reasons
  • Overall greater efficiency than contemporary lead acid batteries
  • 50 – 75% lighter than equivalent lead acid battery systems
  • Integrated lithium-ion battery management systems provide safe, effective battery and installation protection
  • Technology still advancing rapidly
  • Most lithium-ion batteries are compatible with present on-board systems


End comments: I had meetings with a number of training providers, potential training providers, and other marine educators who were in attendance.

I did not meet as many other marine industry people from Nova Scotia there as I did during IBEX 2010.

This IBEX industry conference is always thought-provoking, informative and fundamentally important in determining how we are doing in our delivery of boatbuilding training and certification, all in a larger industry context.  I learn about other training and certification initiatives where there might be more effective methods we can integrate, and I get to meet with other marine educators and potential new training providers.  It definitely helps me to determine what we’re doing right and where we might look at alternative methods to improve our delivery of training for the Maritimes’ Boatbuilding Industry.