Tampa Hosts Successful UCT 2010

The 2010 Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exposition – best known as the UCT show – was held in Florida for the first time in January at the Tampa Convention Center.

For the second consecutive year, there were concerns that the continuing recession would impact attendance, and, in fact, final attendance figures showed a slight decrease from the number that attended the 2009 UCT in San Antonio.

Even so, UCT was termed a success.

“We are very pleased with the turnout in Tampa,” said UCT Show Manager Karen Francis. “At a time when we’re told that attendance at most trade shows is down 20 to 30 percent, UCT maintained attendance near pre recession levels and also at a location where the show has never been held.”

The sold out exhibit hall included the popular RehabZone and the Damage Prevention & Safety Zone, a new area with an elevated floor constructed over “live” utilities to allow demonstrations and instruction on the use of utility locating equipment.

New in 2010 was the Damage Prevention & Safety Conference conducted as part of UCT. (For details see report on page ??)

In general, the mood in Tampa was upbeat among both exhibitors and attendees, and most of those interviewed expressed guarded optimism for an improving economy in 2010.

Popular location (subhed)

The Tampa location and facilities brought numerous favorable comments.

“This was one of the more interesting UCT conferences because of the layout of the facility,” said Brian Dorwart, P.E., P.G., Brierley Associates, Bedford, NH. “The convention center has plenty of space with areas providing opportunities to communicate with my compatriots, and the layout of the exhibit area also facilitates interaction. I really enjoyed this year’s show.”

Ultraliner’s Grant Whittle said scheduling UCT in January each year is good because work has slowed or stopped in cold weather parts of the country.

“The Tampa location is wonderful,” he said. “With the winter much of the country is having, who wouldn’t want to come to Florida in January? From an exhibitor’s viewpoint, the Tampa area is very nice, and there are not a lot of well known attractions as there are in cities such as Orlando, New Orleans, Las Vegas which can pull attendees away from the exhibit hall.”

Reline America’s Michael Burkhard agreed that Tampa is an attractive, easy to get to location well suited for UCT. “Our booth traffic has been good,” he said.

Whatever its location, contractor Jeff Nock, Terrace Construction, Cleveland, OH, said he is a UCT regular.

“UCT is always very informative with good information about what’s new in the underground construction industry,” he said.

David Bartosh, Georgia Underground, brought two staff members with him to Tampa.

“We come to UCT each year to stay in touch with manufacturers and to learn about new technologies – particularly in the rehabilitation industry – as they apply to the customers we serve.”

Mr. Manhole first exhibited its manhole repair system in 2008 and returned in 2010 with a larger exhibit space.

“We have grown since our first UCT and we’re back this year to show a new product,” said Mr. Manhole’s Tripp Davis. “We have strengthened our distribution system and training programs and look forward to a good year in 2010.”

Dave Wisniewski, Vermeer senior director of underground solutions, said booth traffic in Tampa was good for Vermeer.

“We were especially pleased with the interest our new products generated with contractors. There seems to be a lot of excitement about the new technologies that are being introduced to the trenchless industry.”

Getting educated
UCT’s educational program continues to grow in size and scope.

In Tampa, there were 90 regular educational sessions (60 hours) covering most areas of the underground utility construction and rehabilitation. In addition, a growing number of organizations are scheduling pre- and post-show programs. Attendees had the opportunity to accumulate CEU/PDH credits.

CUIRE training schools conducted programs on trenchless construction methods for water, sewer, gas, highway and railroad crossings, joint utilities and cable projects; pipe lining and renewal methods; and advanced horizontal directional drilling.

The one-day Sewer Rehabilitation Strategy Workshop was back by popular demand. It was conducted George Kurz of Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon and Pat Stephens of ADS.

A special ASCE Workshop covered manhole inspection and rehabilitation and Staking University conducted a Locator Certification Seminar.

NASSCO held training for PACP Trainer Recertification; CIPP Inspection and Training; Pipeline Assessment and Certification; and MACP training.

NASTT held Good Practices courses covering Cured In Place Pipe (CIPP), Horizontal Directional Drilling and Pipe Bursting.

UCT is the underground construction industry’s premier trade event, focusing exclusively on underground construction and rehabilitation. It is the only annual industry event that brings together contractors, utilities, consulting engineers and manufacturers in a true business and educational environment. Primary categories of those attending UCT are utility contractors, utility owners, consulting engineers and manufacturers.

UCT is sponsored by Underground Construction, Pipeline & Gas Journal and Pipeline News with the support of corporate, association and academic cosponsors.

The 2011 UCT will be held in Houston on Jan. 25 27. Several pre- and post-show programs will again be offered as well as certification courses.

Karen Francis, (281) 558-6930 ext. 222, kfrancis@oildom.com

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