Last month's story about the Global Powertrain Congress, or GPC (see WAW - May '00, p.139) reported that the power-train sector is itching for its own professional conference, a tightly focused gathering more intimate than the experience available at the massive annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Congress & Exposition.

Not so, says SAE.

"It's been made very clear to us - over and over again," asserts Dave Amati, the tireless fellow in charge of all SAE meetings and events, "that the industry doesn't want more meetings."

He says the insinuation that powertrain interests aren't being adequately served just ain't so. "Last year, we had 600 technical papers relating to powertrain and 115 sessions," he says, adding that powertrain sessions always are some of SAE's best-attended.

"Our take is that there's no need (for a separate power-train-sector conference) - it's already being covered."

Nonetheless, Mr. Amati says that starting with the '01 SAE Congress, there will be a "mini program" published specifically for powertrain topics, sessions and papers (SAE already does that for safety, emissions-control technology, materials and electronics sectors).

SAE also disagrees with GPC's assertion that SAE's 50,000-odd total attendance doesn't boast a very good ratio of "senior" engineering types - only about 10%.

Mr. Amati says more than 8,500 of SAE's '00 attendees registered as corporate executives (vice-president or above) for OEs or suppliers - not marketing or sales types. "And that's 17% right there," who've identified themselves, he says. Without giving away SAE's closely guarded numbers, he adds, "We know a high percentage (of SAE attendees) come out of the engineering ranks."