The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Annual Meeting, being held February 23-26, is a unique trade show because it highlights equipment and processes that are relevant to all the basic materials of our modern society. The processes and associated equipment bring ore from a natural state into products that support our society — from bridge material to cell phones. It is amazing to realize that mining, metallurgy, and exploration contribute to just about all facets of day-to-day living. The opening keynote session promises to be dynamic, and will feature a professionally moderated panel of experts who represent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and mining companies who work to ensure a social, economic and environmental balance in the development of mines. Since our corporate mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer, I am looking forward to hearing what the panelists have to say. I am always seeking out, and am “wowed” by, new technology that is being applied to mining. Techniques are constantly evolving, from being more efficient to being more environmentally friendly. The theme of the show is Leadership in Uncertain Times, and SME promotes itself as the best opportunity to develop and sharpen mining professional skills and knowledge, so I can’t wait to hear what the speakers (and attendees) have to say. There will be about 5,000 professionals and over 800 companies exhibiting state-of-the-art mining equipment, instruments, and services. Technical presentations will feature new horizons and new challenges facing the minerals industry, and there are dedicated sessions covering Coal and Energy, Environmental, Mining Exploration and Elemental Analysis, Metallurgical and Mineral Processing, Mining Technology and more. When I’m traveling to shows, I always like to have more time to look into the history of the area, experience the people and visit nature sites. Salt Lake City, Utah, seems to have plenty of these types of attractions. Although the Olympics took place in Sochi this month, Salt Lake City hosted the Winter games in 2002 and still keeps the Olympic spirit alive with skiing, ice skating and luge rides. You can ride the zip lines, alpine slide, or test your courage on the bobsled run driven by a professional — and then visit the medal ceremonies location. Besides the Olympics attractions, the Bonneville Salt Flats (which formed when an ancient lake dried up) and the Great Salt Lake (which became salty when the lake shrank below its outlet) are two very unique natural features in the area. All that salt talk is making me thirsty, and hungry. If you happen to step out of the Salt Palace Convention Center, my favorite restaurant in the area is the Star of India, which serves spectacular Indian food. I happen to prefer the all-vegetarian dishes, like Malai Kofta, Rajma and Chole. Spicy is the best. My colleague, Charles, prefers Squatters Brew Pub, for their Emigration Amber Ale and tasty pub grub, and the Rodizio Brazilian Grill in Trolley Square for the different types of meat all served at your table, as well as their excellent choices of salads and side dishes. When Charles is in the area, he likes to slip over to the Temple square for a 12:00 noon organ concert on the Tabernacle Pipe Organ or listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in rehearsal on Thursday evening. He also recommends taking in a Utah Jazz basketball game (if they are playing at home) for an exciting evening just minutes away from the Salt Palace. Make sure you schedule booth #2101 in your exhibitor visit plans so you can see the latest products that are helping to advance mining. Here’s an interactive map so you can add us to your show planner and easily find us amongst all the exhibitors. Don’t miss the opportunity of bringing your samples to the booth and having analysis performed on the spot. There are always exhibitors that have jewelry, rare and beautiful rock and mineral specimens, and that fossil that you just can’t live without. Have it analyzed at our booth at no charge and then take some of that beauty home with you. See you at SME!