The 2015 501 F&G Users Group Conference is fast approaching. It will be held February 22 through February 26, 2015, at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa in Savannah, GA. We encourage you to attend what may be your last opportunity, at least for the near future, to access in one venue Siemens, other major vendors/OEMs such as Mitsubishi-Hitachi and PSM, plus equipment/services providers affiliated and unaffiliated with any of the OEMs.
As you may have read in one or more announcements from your 501F Steering Committee and/or Siemens—including the message published on behalf of Siemens in the Combined Cycle Journal (2Q/2014)—beginning in 2016 Siemens will conduct its own 501 conferences with meeting dates in late Summer or early Fall. The OEM will stop attending and supporting our conference completely, beginning with the 501F Users Group’s February 2016 meeting.
The Committee, based on its own and/or other users’ collective experiences with OEM-controlled conferences, predicts that an OEM-controlled meeting cannot possibly provide owner/operators with the same value as an open User-controlled conference. When one considers the priorities of an OEM- controlled meeting versus a User-controlled conference they can, and often do, conflict. For example, the majority (if not all) of the vendors who typically participate in OEM-controlled conferences are those who have strategic partnerships with the OEM hosting the conference. In a User-controlled environment ALL vendors are welcome, and valued.
A recent survey of members of the 501F Users Group clearly indicates the users will still plan to attend and participate in the independent 501F Users conferences, despite the fact that Siemens has elected to start its own conference. Feedback from this survey shows users find great value communicating in Users-only sessions, as well as in hearing from the competition during conference sessions, the Vendor Fair, and Vendorama presentations.
We are already planning the 2016 501F Users Conference for February 21 through February 24, 2016, at the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, TX. The agenda is expected to closely follow our previous programs, with golf on Sunday followed by a reception; Monday devoted to our vendors with the Vendorama presentations and Vendor Fair; and Tuesday and Wednesday a mix of Users-only closed sessions with User presentations and roundtable discussions, along with technical presentations from alternative OEMs Mitsubishi-Hitachi and Alstom-PSM.
The Committee sees several opportunities arising from this new situation: We will have more time for User-only sessions, we will have more time for roundtable discussions, and we can spend more time with the open-market vendors to explore in greater detail all of the possibilities they have to offer.