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CHEMTREC International Hazmat Summit: Improving Education on the Handling of Hazmat Materials

The first CHEMTREC International Hazmat Summit is in the books! The one-of-a-kind forum took place October 29-31, in Houston, TX, and was attended by those involved in the safe transportation, handling and use of hazardous materials. The Summit welcomed shippers, carriers, clean-up responders and emergency personnel from around the world. 

CHEMTREC International Hazmat Summit by the Numbers

  • 171 registered attendees
  • 176 meeting connections through the Brella networking app
  • 35 speakers
  • 10 sessions
  • 4 hazmat trucks on display
  • 100% of individuals surveyed said they will attend future events


Nearly three dozen standout speakers shared their expertise with attendees. The keynote speakers, Astronaut Mike Mullane and Houston Fire Department Captain Kevin Okonski, set the tone of the Summit with powerful stories and valuable words of wisdom.

chemtrec summit mike mullane

First, in his address “Countdown to Safety,” retired astronaut Mike Mullane delivered a compelling message about the individual’s role in keeping themselves and their teams safe in hazardous environments. Mullane, who completed three Space Shuttle missions, recounted a near-death experience he had during his Air Force days, detailing how he and the pilot narrowly escaped ejection from a crashing jet after failing to speak up about an unsafe situation.

“You don’t have to be extraordinary to achieve extraordinary safety results. But it does take continuous self-improvement to achieve those extraordinary safety results,” Mullane noted.

chemtrec summit kevin okonski

Houston Fire Department Captain Kevin Okonski followed Mullane with an address about “Working with Industry.” Okonski used firsthand experiences from recent events in Houston to explain how it’s critical for industry partners to hear from the emergency responder community.

“Don’t neglect the little things because tomorrow you might not realize how big they are,” Okonski said about the importance of prioritizing a commitment to safety in the industry.

chemtrec summit john modine

Mullane and Okonski preceded a presentation from CHEMTREC Chief Executive John Modine, who highlighted what CHEMTREC is today and what to expect from CHEMTRECin the future.


chemtrec summit networking

Plenty of networking opportunities were built into the three days of the Summit, including extended breaks between sessions and daily networking breakfasts and lunches. There was also a networking reception that presented the ideal place to meet peers and build new relationships. The networking reception featured beverages and hors d’oeurves and was hosted by CHEMTREC and Platinum Sponsors OURAY, Ambipar Response, LabelMaster and AIE.


chemtrec summit learning

The majority of the Summit consisted of an outstanding variety of learning tracks and informational sessions ranging from technical content to professional development. Some of the session highlights were:

  • Improving Carrier Relationships – Attendees explored the relationship between suppliers and carriers and how to manage risk in the chemical supply chain, as well as how transportation emergency response is different from a fixed-facility response.
  • Complying with Regulatory Training Requirements – Industry leaders spoke about what their companies are currently doing for training to meet regulatory requirements. There was also a presentation on the importance of industry training and implementing TRANSCAER® at the state level.
  • Utilizing Data to Improve Best Practices – This session offered an in-depth look at how CHEMTREC incident report data can be leveraged to better understand incidents, and how this data can be exported and used to improve best practices.
  • Beyond Emergency Response – CHEMTREC has expanded its emergency response call center abilities to go above and beyond answering daily hazmat calls. This session featured companies who utilize CHEMTREC for additional resources such as Responsible Care, security, reporting requirements, hydrogen fueling stations and beyond.
  • Why GHS isn’t so ‘Harmonized’ – The speakers dove into the history and background of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), and examined two different perspectives on how we are not actually harmonized globally.
  • Powering the Future with Lithium Batteries – Participants discussed key issues surrounding the lithium battery industry such as shipping, storage, packaging and recycling, as well as the regulatory challenges, including an update on the new UN regulation for test summary documents.
  • Life-Cycle of a Spill – This learning track described the lifecycle of an incident, with a presentation from a supplier on emergency response plans and how CHEMTREC fits into the process.
  • Regional and Regulatory Updates –This session analyzed regional updates from Europe, Asia and Latin America and took a look at government updates and proposed changes that will impact the industry.


chemtrec summit sponsors

Of course, none of this would have been made possible without the CHEMTREC Summit event sponsors, including:

  • PLATINUM: AIE; LabelMaster; OURAY; Ambipar Response
  • GOLD: Interact Strategies; Blackberry
  • SILVER: American Chemistry Council; Responsible Care; TRANSCAER; ERA Environmental; Everbridge; SPSI.
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