Reflecting the coatings industry's need for quality professional development and training, the 2008 FutureCoat! event attracted over 550 total participants to Chicago's Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. Organized by FSCT, FutureCoat! once again provided valuable educational experiences to a broad array of delegates from both industry and academia. Technology short courses, career planning sessions, student poster sessions, numerous technical presentations, and over 40 tabletop exhibits provided learning opportunities for everyone.

FutureCoat! proved to be a valuable educational resource, not only for those already in the coatings industry, but also for students involved in coatings research. "FutureCoat! serves as a key venue for building relationships between industry and academia," asserts Li-Piin Sung, a Research Physicist with the Polymeric Materials Group in the Building and Fire Research Laboratory at NIST and chair of the FutureCoat! committee. "We aim to bridge the past and the future by connecting students-the new generation and future decision makers of the industry-with those currently driving development."

The Professional Development Student Workshop, offered for the first time as part of FutureCoat!, provided students transitioning from school to the workplace with assistance on conducting effective job searches, including resume preparation and interviewing skills.

Further enhancing the networking opportunities at FutureCoat!, over 40 suppliers presented tabletop displays, highlighting the most innovative products and services available to the industry.

Poster Session Awards

Through the student poster sessions, the FSCT offered students at both the graduate and post-doctoral levels the opportunity to present the results of their research to the coatings community.

At the undergraduate/master/young Ph.D. level, the following prizes were awarded:

FIRST PLACE: Hong Xu, North Dakota State University: "Effects of Pigment Volume Concentration on the Reaction Mechanisms of Mg Alloy Pigmented Primer"

SECOND PLACE: Senthilkumar Rengasamy, Eastern Michigan University: "Novel Bio-based Polyols for Sustainable Coatings Applications"

THIRD PLACE: Nikhil Tambe, Eastern Michigan University: "Superprimers from Nanolatexes of Reactive Ionic Liquid Surfactant Copolymers"

Three prizes were also awarded for posters at the senior Ph.D. graduate/post-doctoral level:

FIRST PLACE: Xiaodong Shi, NDSU: "Thermally Induced Relaxation of Coating Scratches and Defects"

SECOND PLACE: Robert Pieper, NDSD: "Design of Zwitterionic/Amphiphilic Penta-block Copolymer Acrylic-Urethane Coating for the Application of Fouling-Release Marine Coatings"

THIRD PLACE: Stacy Sommer, NDSU: "Fouling Release Performance of Siloxane-Urethane Coatings Prepared with Siloxane Macromers"

Technology Short Courses

Over 100 attendees started off their FutureCoat! experience by taking one of eight different short courses offered before the start of the technical conference. These courses covered topics including overcoming challenges associated with waterborne coatings, developing environmentally compliant coatings without compromising on performance, basic formulation techniques, emerging technologies, and aerospace coatings. The focus of the courses is to provide "take home implementation" information, according to organizer Jamil Baghdachi, Professor and Director of the Coatings Research Institute at Eastern Michigan University.