Deerfield Beach, Fla.—February 24, 2020—The Winter Break Environmental Conference, themed “Solving the Mold Puzzle,” wrapped up two days of in-depth presentations and discussions of mold, indoor air quality, and building science on February 22. A sold-out crowd of 150 attended the inaugural event, which offered up to 14 continuing education credits.
Sponsored by AEML Microbiology Laboratories, the event took place in Deerfield Beach, Florida. It offered six areas of focus essential to mold-related science taught by area experts:
- Moisture Science Psychometrics,
- Pathways and Equipment,
- Report Writing and Lab Interpretation,
- Safety and Health/OSHA,
- HVAC/Building Systems.
Industry adviser and historian Pete Consigli served as a marketing consultant and technical adviser to the 2020 Winter Break Environmental Conference’s host Ron Mazur of AEML. Consigli said, “The Winter Break concept evolved over the past few years to fill a need in Florida to serve the continuing educational requirements for state licensed Mold Assessors and Remediation contractors.”
He added that, since the event overlapped slightly with the nearby IAQA 2020 Annual Meeting & Expo, many industry professionals from around the world who were attending IAQA were able to attend Winter Break. “This dynamic and spirit of collaboration was a win-win for the organizers of each conference, as well as the attendees and vendors who supported both events.”
A collection of well-known industry companies and associations were represented onsite in the expo hall including IAQradio, IAQA, IICRC, CIRI, Sunbelt Rentals, Cohen Law Group, Jon Don, and others.
Some highlights from the Winter Break Environmental Conference include:
After a welcome from event moderator Richard Alexis, Howard Newmark, director of building science for the Mold Inspector, offered a course on report writing and lab data interpretation. His presentation included a rousing, interactive Q&A with the packed room, including discussions of the need to come up with acceptable mold-count limits, the problems with developing acceptable limits across the board in the climatically diverse United States, ways to decide and evaluate what is acceptable in a given situation, and the need to work together as an industry to establish these acceptable limits.
One attendee said after, “I’ve been working for so long in this field, but it’s been a long time since I reviewed a lot of this information! We need to always be learning and reviewing.”
Michael McGuiness, a building pathologist specializing in indoor environmental quality, taught attendees ways to stay safe on sites where potentially hazardous materials and situations exist. The presentation included several mini “case studies,” in which McGuiness provided images from real jobsites and explained problems that arose and how to correct them. The course included a lengthy discussion on OSHA, its regulations, and ways to stay in compliance. At the catered lunch that followed, many attendees were found discussing their own OSHA mistakes and ways to avoid problems with the Administration.
In a two-part session on HVAC building systems taught by Enviro Team North America President Patrick O’Donnell, attendees learned essential components of how building occupants are affected by underlying problems with HVAC, which included multiple real-world visual examples of HVAC system mistakes that caused problems for occupants.
Each day of the Winter Break Environmental Conference was rounded out by lively Q&A sessions with a panel made up of the day’s presenters. The open forum allowed attendees to reflect on the discussions of the day with the presenters and other attendees.
Though this is the first Winter Break Environmental Conference organizers are already preparing for the next after this year’s success.
“It was sold out with a standing-room-only audience and a packed expo hall where the vendors networked with the attendees during the meal and refreshment breaks,” said event host Mazur. “We couldn’t be happier with the success of the first Winter Break.”