English can be a mysterious language. Some words, for example, are most often used in ways that have only a negative connotation. A disgruntled employee, for example, can be a bad thing...sometimes, a very bad thing. Postal workers are, often as not, the ones that tend to make big news when they become disgruntled. But are employees ever gruntled?
A famous example of the negative connotation phenomenon is the term “irrational exuberance.” During a speech in late 1996, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan temporarily deflated markets around the world by using that phrase to imply that stock prices might be a bit over-inflated. Can exuberance ever be rational? If so, I haven’t heard about it.
Yet another fairly common example of what I’m talking about is the term “unbridled enthusiasm.” Is enthusiasm ever bridled?
Well, in this case I have to answer yes—if the general mood of attendees and exhibitors at a couple of recent finishing industry gatherings provides any indication.
The first was the Electrocoat 2006 conference, held in April in Orlando.
Attendees at E-Coat 2006 got the opportunity to take in two-plus days of presentations covering pretty much every aspect of e-coat technology and shop management, plus visit with technology suppliers. Attendance was off slightly from the 2004 edition of the event, but exhibitors and attendees alike seemed pleased by the quality of contacts they were making. Everyone got a good opportunity to network with other people who are involved in the e-coat industry as either coaters or suppliers.
The second event was e|5, the UV and EB Technology Conference and Exposition held in Chicago in late April. Sponsored by RadTech International North America, the biennial event is dedicated to the advancement of ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB) technology for finishing and other applications. This year it included three days of conference sessions with multiple tracks, as well as more than 100 suppliers who took up 90,000 sq ft of exhibit space.
RadTech reported that attendance on just the first day of the event exceeded that of the entire three-day run in 2004. The international flavor of both exhibitors and attendees was notable, and once again the atmosphere was generally upbeat and positive.
Granted, these two events focused on only a couple of niche areas of the finishing industry as a whole. And, finishers in the United States, without question, face significant regulatory and competitive challenges that aren’t going away any time soon.
But it’s always a positive development to see smart, hard-working people—even competitors at both user companies and technology suppliers—come together for the good of their industry. That happened at both these events.
Oh, and yes, employees (and other people, as well) can be gruntled, which basically means they’re contented and happy. We just rarely hear about it.
In some cases, no news really is good news, I guess.