MRO Magazine

MainTrain Conference Goes Digital

October 9, 2020 | By Mario Cywinski

Photo credit: PEMAC.

PEMAC Asset Management Association of Canada held its annual MainTrain conference recently. The conference goes to a different location in Canada every year, with Ottawa and Edmonton being the two most recent destinations. This year, the event was to take place in Saint John, New Brunswick; however, as a result of COVID-19, it became a virtual conference for the first time. Therefore, in a way, you can say that its destination for 2020 was all of Canada.

“MainTrain 2020 successfully enabled PEMAC Asset Management Association of Canada’s members to connect, learn and contribute across a wide range of maintenance, reliability and asset management topics,” said Susan Lubell, President PEMAC. “Over 50 per cent of participants attended for the first time in this online event forum and were rewarded with networking opportunities with other practitioners across the country.”

Over 200 attendees took in the 21 presentations that included 35 speakers, two keynotes, networking sessions, an exhibit hall, and an awards presentation.



Cut down to two days for 2020, the event still packed a lot of information. Two keynotes began each day of the conference. On the first day Daisy Foster, Managing Director, Atlantic Infrastructure Management Network, spoke about Municipal Asset Management in Atlantic Canada, while day two kicked off with a keynote from Brett Plummer, Vice President Nuclear and Chief Nuclear Officer, NB Power, who spoke on Recovery of Asset Management.

Through the two days, learning sessions were divided into three streams, asset management, reliability, and maintenance management. Each time slot provided attendees the choice of attending a session from each of the streams.

The maintenance management stream featured sessions by James Reyes-Picknell, Conscious Asset (Getting Your Point Across), Iqbal Singh Biln and Gregory Palmer, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. (Maintenance Excellence at SLSMC), Cliff Williams, Erco Worldwide (Getting to the Bottom of Things – Removing Causes), among others.

The reliability steam offered sessions by James Kovacevic, Eruditio LLC (Asset Hierarchy and the Link to Reliability Improvements), Andre Ferrari, Enbridge Pipelines (Reliability Engineering Analytics Explained), Conrad Greer, SPC Results Inc (Bad MRO Material Master Identities Are a Root Cause of Your Business Process Challenges. A Fixable Problem), and more.

Finally, the asset management steam looked at Operations Readiness – An Often Forgotten Part of the Asset Management Lifecycle (Christopher Biel, PPAIP Consulting), The Organization-Wide Physical Asset Management Approach (Dharmen Dhaliah, Town of Halton Hill), Asset Management Effectiveness Begins with the Right Plans – Are You Planning and Delivering the Right Capital and O&M Work? (Roopchan Lutchman, SLBC Inc), and others.

Panel Discussions

Photo credit: PEMAC.

Two panel discussions ended each day of the conference. On day one technology was the topic of discussion. It was moderated by Len Middleton, Asset Management Solutions, and featured Koleya Karringten, Absolute Combustion; Sepideh Rajaeirad, Seeq; and Chi-Guhn Lee, University Of Toronto. The day two panel focussed on Creating a Culture for Asset Management Excellence. Moderated by Cliff Williams, and had a panel with Rob Lash, The Regional Municipality of York; David Albrice, Asset Insight Management Ltd.; Dharmen Dhaliah; and Andy Thorne, Cameco Corporation.

As PEMAC is keeping the MainTrain virtual portal open after the event, all the streams, as well as on-demand content, are available to those who registered for the event.

Exhibitor Hall
A big part of the MainTrain conference in previous years has been the exhibitor hall. This year a virtual exhibitor hall was created and allowed attendees to view company information (including PDF files, social media links, videos) and contact representatives from each exhibitor.


Photo credit: PEMAC.

Two final aspects of the conference were the networking capabilities and a lobby. The former was used to great effect, as it allowed attendees to message each other, create group chats, video chat, and comment on sessions. The latter was as the landing page or jumping off point for attendees.

Award Winners
PEMAC ended the first day of the MainTrain conference with its 2020 Virtual PEMAC Awards Ceremony. Seven awards were given out this year, including two new awards in the asset management category.

For a complete list of winners, click here


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