Change Comes to Underground Construction

Robert Carpenter Underground Constructionby Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

Change embraces our world every day, every month, every year. It is one of the few constants in our lives. Change will happen whether it be in small ways or major disruptions. But it will happen. The only question is when.

For Underground Construction magazine and the Underground Construction Technology Conference, along with our sister publications Pipeline & Gas Journal, Pipeline News and various other events and products that comprise the 109-year old Oildom Publishing, that change came May 1. Oildom Publishing was sold to another well-established and respected, local publishing company, Gulf Publishing.

The good news for the Oildom staff is that the new owner is a venerable and historic publishing group also located in Houston. We recently relocated to the new company’s office. The bad news for me is that location means a longer commute. But that’s Houston. The city has become huge and few things are close. Houston is well on its way to passing Chicago as the nation’s third-largest city (that’s expected to happen sometime after 2020), which is both a blessing and a curse. We love the growth and positive things that brings, but detest some of the problems that accompany such growth. Traffic and widely distributed business areas are a major component of that dynamic. It’s become part of the working fabric in Houston.

Of course, being absorbed into a new structure means we have to learn entirely new systems for, well, just about everything including working off of the fabled Cloud. I’ve never trusted the Cloud much with my personal data, but now all our data lives in the Cloud. The days of floppy disks are but a distant memory.

We quickly discovered that Gulf is full of great people, and welcoming people. The company is entrenched in the global oil and gas markets with a suite of publications and products led by flagship publications World Oil, Hydrocarbon Processing and the UK-based Petroleum Economist and a host of special events and trade shows.

At first take, it was easy for me to see that our sister publications would be a great fit with Gulf’s existing stable of energy magazines. On the other hand, there was uncertainty as to how Underground Construction and UCT would fit into such a culture. While we certainly cover oil and gas transmission pipeline construction projects, it is only a small portion of the vast piping and conduit universe we cover in Underground Construction.

That encompasses the installation and rehabilitation of sewer systems including mainlines, laterals and manholes, plus water distribution and transmission, gas distribution, telecommunications and the electric grid.

Gulf President and CEO John Royall has made it very clear that Underground Construction and UCT definitely have a place in what the company anticipates will be a growing infrastructure emphasis. He is excited about the opportunity to diversify into the infrastructure market.
Further, we have the support and investment to continue our pursuit of excellence that makes Underground Construction and the UCT conference the market leaders.

Oildom was managed by a third-generation family member; alas, a fourth was not meant to be. It was time to turn the company over to the hands of a growing, aggressive and well-established media company that respected the presence, power, history and potential of Underground Construction, et al. We are renewed, reinvigorated and ready to exceed your expectations.

Ebola in sewers

Remember the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa a few years ago? Several cases made it to the U.S. but were quickly contained and no real threat to the general population emerged. Included in this issue is an article from the University of Pittsburgh and Drexel University about an alarming, albeit remote, risk for sewer workers. Turns out the deadly Ebola virus has the potential to be present in sewers downstream of hospitals where patients were treated.

Researchers have found through risk- assessment modeling that sewer workers downstream of hospitals that are Ebola treatment centers could be at risk exposure. New protocols will most likely be developed to eliminate that risk in the future. Still, it is just one more thing to worry about when entering a sewer.

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