After months and months of planning and preparation, the curtain is set to lift on SUR/FIN 2010! A new venue (Grand Rapids, Mich.), a retooled technical conference and special events schedule, and a melange of plating and coating exhibitors combine to generate excitement and anticipation among attendees and vendors alike.

At SUR/FIN 2010 you will find an impressive roster of technical sessions (more than 60, in fact). In perusing many of the topics and tracks—which cover everything from environmental/regulatory issues to finishing applications for aerospace, automotive, military, decorative and electronics, to name a few—I think you’ll agree that the National Association for Surface Finishing has put together a well-rounded, relevant program. From SUR/FIN’s first-ever collaboration with the Department of Defense, to a pair of industry panel discussions focused on the resurging automotive sector, the technical conference homes in on key end-use markets of critical importance to the surface finishing supply chain.

But it’s more than just the “guts” of this year’s technical conference that promise to make SUR/FIN 2010 a hit; it’s the sheer fact that the show’s programming has been tweaked to maximize participation among attendees and exhibitors while keeping everyone corralled on the show floor to facilitate networking opportunities. NASF has carefully coordinated major events—many set to take place on the show floor at DeVos Place—to not only pull in a wider audience but also encourage greater participation in the various activities and sessions.

Case in point: conference tracks will kick off Monday, June 14, running from 2 p.m.–5p.m., with a conference reception taking place immediately afterwards. Then on Tuesday, June 15, conference tracks will run from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., with a break between 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Highlights of the day include a return appearance by Dr. Ken Mayland, president of Clearview Economics. Dr. Mayland, who shared his keen insights on the U.S. economy with SUR/FIN 2009 attendees, will provide an updated assessment on the fledgling recovery. The next batter up is a special Blum Lecture on recent advances in surface finishing research. Meanwhile, exhibits will open at 10 a.m. and run through 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, conference tracks resume from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., with a three-hour break between 11 a.m.–2 p.m. On this day, the exhibit floor will be open initially from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., and then again between 6:30 p.m.–9 p.m.

Another big change for 2010: The popular “Industry Night Party” (free of charge this time) will take place on the show floor as opposed to an off-site location. (No designated driver needed!) Rounding out the on-site events is a trio of manufacturing-issue-driven sessions, slated for Thursday morning, June. 17.

Others enhancements to the SUR/FIN 2010 activity schedule include plant tours of local companies such as Alticor (the parent company of Amway). Alticor provides manufacturing and logistics services and business opportunities, as well as various products, in more than 80 countries and territories worldwide.

Hopefully by now you’ve registered for the conference, made your travel arrangements, and reserved your room at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, the official hotel for SUR/FIN 2010. If for some reason you haven’t completed all of the above, I have but one question: What are you waiting for?