New faces, familiar faces, all with smiles and a thumbs-up thank you.
That’s how Daniel Magill describes the 2013 RehabZone at the annual Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) held in Houston the last week of January.
The RehabZone at UCT is unquestionably the best source of the latest information available about sewer rehabilitation technologies and services, added Magill, who served as chairperson for the 2013 event.
“The RehabZone is a unique, 10,000-square-foot array of technology stations, beginning with what was considered state of the art 100-plus years ago, to current and emerging technologies,” continued Magill. “RehabZone attendees experienced the evolutionary progress of the industry and got to ask a lot of questions and get answers from industry experts.”
What sets the RehabZone apart from other trade shows and industry events is its non-commercial, no-sell format. Information in stations and presentations is generic, providing a sales pressure-free environment for obtaining objective information about the many and changing rehabilitation technologies.
New this year was scheduled guided tours.
“This new feature was designed for both new visitors and RehabZone veterans,” said Magill. “They provided a private tour conducted by an industry expert who led the group through the various stations, ending at the live demonstration area. All reports we received from tour participants were extremely positive and guide Gerry Muenchmeyer’s chronicle of his experience makes me wonder whether he’s ready to start a new career as a tour guide.”
As it always is, the Sewer and Pipe Artifacts Exhibit was just inside the RehabZone’s entrance. However, displays in this exhibit are not static; curator Jon Schladweiler works throughout the year updating and adding new elements. Next along the route are technology stations, ending at the live demonstration and Skills Challenge areas.
Companies conducting demonstrations were ADS/Inserta Tee, Aries Industries, Avanti International, LMK Technologies, Perma-Liner Industries, and RapidView.
The Skills Challenge is a work in progress and took a step forward in its second year with participation of ADS/Inserta Tee, LMK Technologies and SAK.
Individual stations in the RehabZone include the NASSCO Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) and Inspector Training Certification Program (ITCP), closed circuit television (CCTV), bypass pumping, sectional CIPP lining, joint and seal repairs, water main lining, lateral lining, grouting, root control, manhole linings and coatings, and emerging technologies.
“I thought we had good traffic through ‘RZ’ this year,” said George Kurz, P.E., DEE, a consulting engineer from Madison, TN, who worked one of the stations, and has been involved in the RehabZone from its beginning. “People in our industry are strongly oriented to ‘hands-on’ displays, and Jon Schladweiler does that well in the historic section.
“I think the inclusion of demonstrations — especially for the lateral work — has given a big boost to interest. It is hard to say if the interest in the lateral demos has been a result of growing awareness of the significance of these components of the sewer system and for reducing I&I and improving service, or has been spurred by people getting educated. Probably the answer is some of both.
“Bottom line,” Kurz concluded, “I certainly encourage other engineers and practitioners to get involved in the RehabZone. As with many other things in life, I think people will find that they really get a lot more from the experience than they put into it.”
Jeff Maier, Denver Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, said he makes a point to go through the RehabZone at every UCT. “It’s a highlight of the show,” he said. “From the history of our industry to its rapid advances, it is a great learning tool.”
Randy Worden said 2013 UCT was his first in several years. “My primary purpose is to investigate rehabilitation technologies that we can consider using on a six-plus mile water pipeline,” he said. Worden is manager of business development and resource management for the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District, Norman, OK.
Matt Timberlake, owner/president of the Ted Berry Co., Livermore, ME, said going through the RehabZone, he saw many technologies and new developments. “There’s been amazing progress since I went through it four years ago,” he added. “It is a great experience. I’ll definitely be back.”
Visiting from Germany, Barry Powell, training and market analysis manager for Tracto-Technik GmbH, found the RehabZone provided a good overview of both the history and current methods of pipe rehabilitation.
“During the tour, all of my specific inquiries were answered on a detailed level,” Powell said. “Pictures taken at the stand will be implemented in some of our training courses here at Tracto-Technik. All in all I found the RehabZone very informative and useful.”
The annual RehabZone is sponsored by NASSCO in cooperation with the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Trenchless Installation of Pipelines and Pipeline Infrastructure Systems technical committee, the Water Environment Federation’s Collection System Committee and Underground Construction magazine. It is funded by sponsoring organizations and participating
Magill, president of Avanti International, has been an active member of the RehabZone Committee and served on the marketing subcommittee for the 2012 event before becoming chairperson for 2013. He will repeat as chairperson for the 2014 event as will Vice Chairperson Guy Leslie, RapidView.
“We are very pleased with RehabZone 2013,” concluded Magill, “and we’re aiming higher for next year. In our post-show meetings, we have some ideas that may take 11 months to pull off, but the conviction is there. Neighboring colleges will have opportunities to schedule educational tours and the Skills Challenge will grow.
“Sponsorships were up over last year, and we hope will be up again for 2014. Each year, volunteers take on more and more responsibility and the event would not be possible without the work of many dedicated people.”
NASSCO Executive Director Ted DeBoda observes that the organizations involved in planning and implementing the RehabZone generally compete with each other on the outside in the marketplace, but work together in a unique spirit of cooperation to achieve NASSCO’s common goal: assuring the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies.
FOR MORE INFO:
RehabZone, Daniel Magill (281) 486-5600/Heather Myers (410) 486-3500, http://rehabzone.org