May 2021 Vol. 76 No.5

Editor's Log

Editor's Log: Up Close & Personal

The world has been living in fear for more than 15 months: fear of an unseen and unknown virus that threatened the very fabric of society and totally disrupted our way of life. 

But no longer is fear in charge. On July 13 to 15, our country’s return to normal will be reinstated in a big way as the Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition, better known as UCT, returns for 2021 (albeit at a later date than usual). 

In the Time of COVID, three things have become common for trade shows and convention events: delays, switching to virtual programs, or super-restrictive health limitations and restrictions for meetings. Fortunately, with our timely decision to push UCT back until July, we’ve accomplished exactly what we were hoping for: the right show at the right time to have face-to-face, interactive meetings and exhibits, with a minimum of distraction. 

In fact, as of this writing, Nashville (Davidson County) has fully opened both the city and the Music City Convention Center. The only health restriction remaining was wearing masks indoors. That will be revisited and possibly revised, if not eliminated, by mid-July. 

We are continuing to receive strong, positive feedback and excitement from industry. People are thrilled about the opportunity to attend an open conference with the best industry education and information available, and a full exhibit hall of the industry’s leading companies. We expect the conference to be overwhelmed with people ready to break-out and re-engage with their markets and peers. 

That said, there are many new dimensions to UCT this year. Here’s a sample: 


The UtiliTech Conference will provide an interactive forum for the gas utility industry. Co-located with UCT, UtiliTech will focus on high-tech solutions and information for natural gas utility management, operations and supervisory personnel. 

UtiliTech is presented by Gas Utility, the digital information source for natural gas utility management, operations and supervisory personnel, and by sister publications Underground Construction magazine and Pipeline & Gas Journal. 

HDD Hall of Fame Reception 

In the span of two months, the HDD industry lost two of its most respected members in Ron Halderman of Mears and Robert Westphal of Michels. The HDD Hall of Fame committee and Underground Construction magazine are pleased to announce that these two industry innovators will be posthumously inducted into the HDD Hall of Fame at a special reception on Wednesday, July 14. There will also be a full slate of HDD educational sessions and exhibits. 

The HDD Hall of Fame Reception, organized by industry personnel, will allow HDD personnel owning or operating equipment of all sizes to converse with their peers as they honor the 2021 Hall of Fame class. 

CIPP 50th Celebration, Reunion 

Cured-in-place pipe, better known as CIPP, is a technology that forever changed the face of infrastructure rehabilitation and launched a wildly successful market. Plans have been finalized for the first-ever CIPP Celebration that will include a reunion and honor two Pioneers of CIPP: Eric Wood and Bob Affholder. 

Industry experts are producing a unique educational program track that will review and reflect upon the history of CIPP and project upon continued successes. Make plans now to attend what will certainly be an amazing celebration and reunion. 

I&I Conference 

A unique, UCT pre-show specialty conference, on July 12, will tackle an age-old industry issue. Often misunderstood and frequently underestimated, unabated inflow and infiltration (I&I) can be deadly to sewer collections systems. I&I elimiNATION will explore root causes of the problem, revealing both the short- and long-term destructive impacts upon sewer pipelines, and examine possible solutions. 

This educational forum is geared for municipal stakeholders, consulting engineers, regulators, technology and service providers, and contractors converging on the challenges of removing I&I for the preservation and performance of wastewater collection systems. 


The 2021 Most Valuable Professional of the underground infrastructure industry will be honored at an annual luncheon on July 13 during UCT. The award, co-sponsored by the Underground Construction Technology Association and Underground Construction magazine, will be presented to George Kurz, P.E., DEE. 

Kurz has 43 years of experience in state and local government, sewer service contracting and consulting engineering. 

For registration or sponsorship information, visit the UCTA website at 

Dare we say “normal” 

UCT is not virtual, it’s real. We’re not taping sessions; we’re providing actual, live presentations with opportunities for questions and answers. The conference is being held at a tremendously interesting, active and fun city. 

We look forward to reuniting with many of our industry friends and colleagues this July in Nashville, just like “normal.”

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