September 2019 Vol. 74 No. 9

Rehab Technology

RehabZone Generations

Jeff Griffin | Senior Editor

 

Andy Rothenberg (left), past chairman, and Clayton Muenchmeyer, 2020 chairman of the RehabZone.

Eighteen years ago, a small group of members who had been active participants in the annual Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) were looking for a way to emphasize the importance of the emerging rehabilitation industry.

UCT seemed the ideal venue. Having established itself as the world’s primary underground construction trade show, and it was decided to set aside a portion of the UCT exhibit floor the next year designated as the RehabZone.

“We wanted to provide information about rehabilitation that was timely and that people wanted to know, and to make it interesting,” said Gerry Muenchmeyer, P.E., owner of Muenchmeyer Associates, who has participated in every UCT and RehabZone. “I believe we did that and have continued to do so every year, and that’s a key to the RehabZone’s continuing success.”

Another critical decision was to make the RehabZone a “no-sell” area – it would provide generic information about technology and services.

While occasionally those manning the various stations in the Zone are sales people, they agreed to set aside competitive interest and provide generic information.

Unique to industry

“There’s nothing else like it in the industry” said Muenchmeyer, who in addition to being involved since the beginning, has served as RehabZone chairman several times.

Time has passed quickly, and second-generation family members of Zone pioneers have become active in the planning and execution of the exhibit. Muenchmeyer’s son, Clayton, is chairman of the 2020 event, after working on previous Rehab Zones and serving on its committee.

Mason Rothenberg, son of Andy Rothenberg, another past RehabZone chairman, will be involved again in 2020. Andy Rothenberg is president of Prime Products where Mason also works.

The three children of Dorcas Neathery, president of WBE Dorcas Inc., another past chair person, will again be involved in the RehabZone in 2020.

“I’m finding it requires a lot of time,” said Clayton Muenchmeyer about chairing the event, “and I’m also busy
with my job with Michels. We’re making some changes for 2020, altering the floor layout and putting the demonstration area in the middle, rather than at the end of the route through the stations. One thing visitors will see in 2020 is much more about UV applications.”

Andy Rothenberg believes the RehabZone promotes a better understanding of the rehabilitation industry and offers hands-on experience that most could not get without working in the field.

“Having the next generation becoming active helps carry on the tradition,” he said. In January, his son Mason will again help set up/tear down exhibits and be a technical expert during the show.

Sewer rats

It’s expected that Dorcas Neathery’s children would be involved in the RehabZone.

“They are third-generation ‘sewer rats’,” she said, “and the plan always was that they would one day take over their grandfather’s company, Rainstopper. That time came in 2018 when David Neathery passed.” The company distributes Rainstopper manhole insert products.

Daughter, Alexandria, helped Neathery the two years she co-chaired the RehabZone and her sons, Jordan and Harry, worked on set up and tear down at the 2019 show.

“I am glad they personally get to see what I have been so passionate and committed to for the years I co-chaired and then chaired,” Neathery said. “I hope it inspires them to stay involved not only in NASSCO’s efforts, but to recognize the impact the RehabZone has on our industry, and the importance of profiling technologies for the advancement and greater good of our nation and world’s infrastructure.

“I know of no other industry organization committed to profiling technologies as a whole with the sole intention being
to educate cities, engineers, contractors and buyers in general,”
she said. “The RehabZone’s no-sell-policy mandate ensures technology is imparted in a non-biased manner.”

With the second generation taking on larger roles in the RehabZone, Gerry Muenchmeyer said a third generation is in
the wings.

“My college-student grandson is a very talented graphic designer, and he expressed interest in designing the 2020 RehabZone t-shirt,” Muenchmeyer said. “We briefed him about the Zone and what we thought the shirt design should include. He has submitted his design for consideration to the RehabZone committee and it was strongly applauded.

“Who knows where this will lead?”

The 2020 UCT Show and RehabZone is scheduled Jan. 28–30, 2020, at the Fort Worth (Texas) Convention Center.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

UCT/RehabZone: (713) uctonline.com, Karen.Francis@gulfenergyinfo.com

RehabZone: rehabzone.org, rehabzone@nassco.org

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