Tom Keating's notes from the aisle: Part two
November 2, 2010
PHILADELPHIA — I learned from Jay Peters of the International Code Council (ICC) its commitment to global sanitation standards after a breakfast audience got over the "giggles and blushing."
I heard Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization (WTO), discuss the possible market of 2.6 billion toilet purchasers as he explained that toilets "must be as sexy as cell phones."
Keynote speaker Sim addressed several hundred plumbing engineers and mentioned that Unilever was sponsoring World Toilet Day on November 19, 2010.
My favorite personal morning exchanges were with a young, "poop culture" actor who is currently working on cleansing rituals for a constipated culture, and a registered nurse volunteering her time in disaster-torn Haiti.
The exhibit hall — three football fields in length — was packed with products, vendors, engineers, displays and dull turkey wraps. Few exhibitors have any understanding of school-related plumbing issues beyond the fixtures.
Discouragingly, one national product leader explained that "prison–like" stainless steel commodes, albeit with colored powder coating, were necessary because of the expectation of vandalism.
I discussed the past and future organizational direction of the American Restroom Association over a delightful dinner.
After that, I went to the American Philosophical Society and saw original documents, including Jefferson''s final draft of the Declaration of Independence, the Lewis and Clark diaries and signatures of four founding presidents all on one document.
One final observation: Cell phones, BlackBerrys, texting, personal digital assistants (PDAs), picture taking, etc, have altered the way people listen to speakers and walk around exhibits.