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Advance Engineering Technology Conference - Shop Talk

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Advance Engineering Technology Conference '08
Again, I find myself writing this month's editorial 35,000 feet in the air, only this time I'm heading to Orlando, where I'm planning to attend two major events, the Advance Engineering Technology Conference and the Performance Racing Industry tradeshow. If you aren't familiar with the former, AETC has been around for 19 years and is currently held as a three-day affair prior to PRI. This year focused on LSx technology and offered great interaction with industry icons well versed in their fields and willing to get into detailed theories and applications. We're talking hardcore tech from the industry's finest.

There were a total of 12 speakers, each with an hour to showcase his presentation, which was immediately followed by a Q&A session. While I don't have the room to name everyone involved, a few from our illustrious panel were: Brian Reese from Comp Performance Group, who elaborated on advanced performance design and custom tuning of LS intake manifolds; Dr. Dean Hill from New Mexico State University, who discussed a theoretical understanding of the Otto cycle and thermodynamic optimization; Judson Massingill from the School of Automotive Machinists, who went over building big-inch mills for maximum power and performance results from his personal experience; Billy Godbold from Comp Cams, who talked in great detail about the latest valvetrain technology and design; and finally a speaker who made a lasting impression on me, none other than Kenny Duttweiler from Duttweiler Performance, who jumped right into forced-induction system design and engine building techniques. If you're into LS engines, this was truly not an event to miss.

I would be lying to you if I claimed to understand everything that was said. In fact, while I understood most of the discussions, a few points went right over my head. Not that it was a bad thing. Instead, it made me appreciate the Q&A session that much more. There was no lack of sharing, and every speaker was more than willing to disclose the information he had-seriously, right down to specific ring gaps and bearing tolerances.

Another important aspect of the conference is the opportunity to interact with everyone. After each presentation, AETC allots a 30-minute break with refreshments, and they encourage you to talk with the speakers and your peers. Our peers were everyone from enthusiasts, engine builders, and performance dealers to engineers and various media outlets. The master of ceremonies, Harold Bettes, said it best: "Egos are checked at the door, and everyone is sharing." Man, was that ever the truth. I had a great time interacting with everyone around me.

Best of all, this show is for anyone and only requires a registration fee, which includes your booklet, a CD of presentations, admission to the PRI show, the chance to win goodies worth $30,000, and seriously good grub. For more information, visit, and maybe we'll see you there next time. If you happened to be at this year's conference and we didn't get a chance to meet, email me and let me know how it went for you.

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