The Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) made a return visit to San Antonio in January drawing a crowd of more than 2,450 and hosting ancillary association and private corporate business meetings. Previously, UCT was in San Antonio in 2009.
UCT is the only annual industry event that brings together contractors, utility providers, consulting engineers, manufacturers and service providers in a business and educational environment. UCT is not limited to only one or select technologies, but encompasses all underground construction and rehabilitation disciplines.
As at any major trade show, the exhibit floor is a primary focus of attendees, and in 2012, more than 400 booths allowed exhibitors to display a wide array of products and services. In addition, the RehabZone also was located in the exhibition and, as always, showcased its unique, no-sell format providing information about sewer and water infrastructure rehabilitation.
Attendance was strong at more than 100 primary educational and training sessions covering a wide variety of subjects, many offering Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Professional Development Hours (PDHs) through the University of Texas at Arlington. For the third consecutive year, the Damage Prevention & Safety Program played an essential and growing part of the educational program along with the popular WaterWorks Conference co-located with UCT.
Other industry organizations continue to schedule events in conjunction with UCT. Pre- and post-UCT training in 2012 offered a week-long schedule, including courses conducted by CUIRE (Center for Underground Infrastructure Research and Education), NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies), NASTT (North American Society for Trenchless Technology) and Staking University’s utility locator certification training.
Many exhibitors continued a trend of introducing new products at UCT.
“We used UCT 2012 to show off our latest equipment and services,” said Jason Zylstra, marketing manager at Vermeer, Pella, IA. “One of our biggest launches is our new Borestore for HDD tools and accessories. We also introduced our latest rock boring technologies, one using magnets of opposing polarity that are rotated rapidly to create a percussive action at the drill head to fracture rock, the other employing a dual rod drilling system.”
TT Technologies introduced a new static pipe bursting model and a keyhole directional drilling system.
“UCT this year opened with phenomenal attendance and we were literally overwhelmed with the number of good quality attendees that came in,” said Chris Brahler, president and CEO. “Many were interested in new products introduced for the first time here at UCT. Best of all is that we’ve gotten the best-quality customers we’ve had at any show in the last several years.”
Lee Dester, vice president, Copperhead Industries (tracer wire for buried utilities), Monticello, MN, said UCT is a good place for seeing a lot of contractors who use reinforced tracer wire and to introduce Copperhead’s product to those unaware of the brand.
“We also meet with a number of our distributors at UCT, which is a good place for us to stay in touch,” Dester added.
From a contractor’s perspective, Bob Harr, Harr Technologies, Anchorage, AK, said: “UCT was a really interesting show this year with a lot of new and innovative equipment and new ideas that continue to move the industry forward. We really appreciate the exhibitors bringing their products and ideas here. And the classes we attended were absolutely great. UCT is really good this year.”
Ben Goodhall, Inland Pipe Rehabilitation, Houston, TX, commented: “I’m at UCT to see the latest products in the utility market and to talk with colleagues in the industry who are here.”
Mike Rocco, Albuquerque Underground, Albuquerque, NM, said: “The RehabZone is cool. Each educational session I went to was well attended. The International Pipe Bursting Association track went really well, and the panel sessions were good. I think this show really helps the pipe bursting industry. I hit all the exhibits, and I like the revised show hours with an earlier start for exhibits on Tuesday, the later opening on Wednesday and the earlier end time the last day.”
Matt Timberlake, vice president/senior project manager, Ted Berry Company, Livermore, MA, said: “As a contractor and active member in the International Pipe Bursting Association (IPBA) there is nothing that we value higher than a conference that results in collaboration among participants and active participation by its attendees. The ability to collaborate with other industry leaders on issues that pertain to every day challenges we face is invaluable. The educational sessions that I was involved in had attendance that exceeded expectations, and members of the audience were both eager to learn and to participate. Hats off to the entire UCT team for one of the best conferences I have attended in all my years in the industry.”
Insituform was a contractor and also an exhibitor at UCT. “The UCT Conference is the place to be if you really want to stick your head in the ground and explore the possibilities,” said Anthony Aderhold, area manager of business development. “The technical sessions were very informative and comprehensive, covering a wide variety of topics and projects for the industry. San Antonio is a wonderful host city with numerous hotels and restaurants close by, all within walking distance. Insituform looks forward to continuing its support of UCT.”
Gearing up for next year
On the last day, many exhibitors lined up to take advantage of the first round of booth selection for UCT 2013. “It’s great to see that exhibitors are committed to the industry by signing up early,” said Convention Manager Karen Francis. “I received many [UCT 2013] booth inquiries in the weeks preceding this year’s opening date. Current exhibitors are urged to secure space soon as prime booths are already selling fast. To see the current floor plan, visit the exhibiting page at uctonline.com.
UCT is sponsored by Underground Construction, Pipeline & Gas Journal and Pipeline News magazines with the support of corporate, association and academic co-sponsors.
UCT will return to Houston in 2013, Jan. 29-31, at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Karen Francis, convention manager: email@example.com