Antec 2011, the Society of Plastics Engineers' annual technical conference, drew 2,023 people to Boston, as SPE officials cited an improving economy and Boston as a good location.
Attendance was up 31 percent over the 2010 Antec in Orlando, Fla., which drew 1,545.
At Antec 2011, held May 1-5, industry experts made more than 700 technical presentations, an increase of 25 percent from 2010. Student presentations reached a 10-year high.
The Antec trade show had 84 exhibitors. And, SPE said, the social networking scene was bustling, with a record number of 15 receptions.
This is one of the strongest Antecs that we've had for a number of years.
Whether you're talking about the program, the papers, the attendance, the budget, the sponsorships all these things were up, said SPE Executive Director Susan Oderwald, at a news conference held during the conference. Traditionally, Boston has always been a very good city for us.
Oderwald said SPE membership has stabilized, reaching 15,005 as of March. Membership dipped to 14,500 at the end of 2009. SPE restructured, selling its headquarters in Brookfield, Conn., and moving to smaller offices in nearby Newtown, Conn. The society also laid off some employees.
The restructuring corresponded with the deep recession felt by the entire plastics industry.
There's no question, when the industry's doing well, SPE does well. When the industry suffers, we're right there commiserating with them, Oderwald said.
Lesley Kyle, SPE's event management director, said members enjoy coming to Boston.
Some of the more successful Antecs were held in Boston in 1995 and 2005. That's why we've returned.
Local industry really responds to this destination, and international delegates have found it easy to travel to.
Next year, SPE returns to Orlando, as Antec runs April 2-4 during the NPE 2012 show.