BioCycle May 2009, Vol. 50, No. 5, p. 4
THE BioCycle International Conference 2009 during the last week in April in San Diego, California turned out to be a success in every way. In fact, it was one of our biggest conferences ever, requiring us to inform people calling the week before to register that it was sold out. When all tallied, there were over 60 exhibitors and more than 500 participants. Speakers and attendees represented 15 countries, 6 provinces in Canada and 38 U.S. states. From the preconference workshops through the sessions and tours, there was a constant buzz of excitement and energy, with conversations and networking going on in multiple languages.
Back in January, with the doom and gloom of the global economy, we were uncertain about how the conference would turn out in terms of attendance. At the same time, we were feeling bullish about the health of the composting, organics recycling and renewable energy industries and professions, and believed that people would want to do whatever it would take to be part of this international gathering, and the 50th Anniversary celebration.
Why we were feeling bullish? First, we had a tremendous response to the Call for Papers for the International Conference 2009 from around the world, a good indication of the level of interest in composting, anaerobic digestion, compost use, biogas for electricity and fuel, and other topics being covered. Second, through our regular reporting, survey work and interactions with BioCycle readers and advertisers, we were feeling that the world beyond our “niche” was becoming keenly interested in the solutions being offered by the composting and organics recycling communities. Our “package” of environmental, energy and economic benefits has great appeal these days. And that was apparent at the Conference, with many new faces from a wide range of industries.
Third, the Conference also was providing a venue to celebrate BioCycle’s 50th Anniversary. After 50 years, the BioCycle “family” has become quite extended and multigenerational, and the Conference provided an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues, friends and fellow pioneers. It was truly thrilling to sit back and listen to presenters from around the world discuss their research and projects that have been able to build upon the knowledge and experience of those who came before them. Michele Young of the City of San Jose captured the rich history of our industry and its players in her plenary session talk, “Municipal Organics Recycling Innovations Build On Pioneer Principles.”
At the Gala dinner, Kathy Kellogg Johnson, the third generation involved in Kellogg Garden Products, remembered her introduction to BioCycle as a college student on a semester abroad in Spain. Her father, Clay Kellogg was coming to visit and wanted Kathy to arrange a business appointment with the Consulate’s office. Kathy didn’t think her father would be able to get an appointment as he was just a compost guy from California. In fact, the response she received was just the opposite. The Consulate’s office knew who her father was, having read his articles in Compost Science!
Over the coming weeks, we will be posting the Conference presentations and a variety of photos from the event at the Conference website, www.biocycle50.com. Thank you to everyone for making the Conference such a memorable and exciting event.