College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

The 2018 Clemson Brick Forum: Reaching the World


Photo showing John Sanders (right), director of the National Brick Research Center, presents the Harold Newman Best Speaker Award to Rod Evans of Harrop Industries.
John Sanders (right), director of the National Brick Research Center, presents the Harold Newman Best Speaker Award to Rod Evans of Harrop Industries. 

Visitors strolling through the halls of the 2018 Clemson Brick Forum could be forgiven if for a moment they thought they were in a European capital.  Conversations were going on in German, Italian and Dutch, among others.

“In recent years the forum has seen a growing international presence,” said John Sanders, director of Clemson University’s National Brick Research Center (NBRC), which sponsors the forum. “This illustrates that the work we’re doing here impacts not only the United States and North America, but materials industries across the globe. In fact, this year one of our technical sessions was ‘Presentation of the European Market:From The Architect to the Factory.’”

This photo shows attendees of the 2018 Brick Forum grilling steaks at the cook out.
The annual steak cookout continues to provide an integral networking event for forum attendees.

This month the Clemson Brick Forum met in Anderson SC where it marked its 64th anniversary. For over six decades the forum has brought together researchers, manufacturers and suppliers to share innovations and advancements.

“The brick industry, like many others these days, is facing an exodus of baby boomer retirees,” said Sanders.  These veterans are taking a vast body of technical knowledge with them and they’re concerned about those following in their footsteps.”

At the suggestion of some of these gifted warhorses, the focus of this year’s technical sessions included topics that will be beneficial to people new to the brick industry. Talks included quality control, best practices, improving raw materials and fired properties, as well as color and kiln fundamentals. Presenters included some of the most seasoned people in the industry and provided a great learning experience for new brickmakers.

“For the first time our technical program started on Monday with a fundamentals session,” said Sanders.  “This gave us the opportunity to expand the vendor seminars throughout Tuesday afternoon, which allowed for discussions related to manufacturing, wall systems and environmental health and safety.”

“I’m very proud of the 2018 Forum,” said Sanders. “With a slate of outstanding speakers and presenters we were able to offer sessions to people from every corner of the globe, at every stage of their career. I also need to give a shout out to the talented and dedicated staff at the NBRC who go above and beyond in putting the forums together. Congratulations on a job well-done!”

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