Virtual Platform Allows for Education, Networking to Continue Despite Pandemic
When you talk to trenchless professionals across North America, one of the things you hear most often – even for an industry that is no longer in its infancy – is the need for education to help the industry grow. One of the key events for the last decade, in growing the trenchless knowledge base in Canada, is the Trenchless Technology Road Show.
Held biannually, the Trenchless Technology Road Show (TRS) is a partnership between the Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies (CATT) at the University of Waterloo and Benjamin Media Inc. (publisher of Trenchless Technology and Trenchless Technology Canada). The pandemic threw the organizers a curveball in 2020 and the show had to be postponed to 2021.
To help meet the needs of the industry, and to continue to promote the TRS, CATT launched a series of monthly webinars – known as the Virtual Trenchless Technology Road Show. These monthly webinars, which started in May 2020 and continue through April 2021, focus on topics originally slated for presentation at the in-person event. An archive of these webinars is available at catt.ca.
Unfortunately, the pandemic is still here and, in our communities, and the organizers made the decision – with attendee health and safety in mind – to pivot the rescheduled 2021 event to a virtual conference.
“To guarantee attendees, speakers, exhibitors and staff’s safety, a decision was made to pivot to a virtual show in 2021. The health and well-being of the trenchless industry and the public has always been our first priority while making critical decisions about the TRS,” said Anelisa Schmidt, CATT program manager.
Set to take place over the course of five days — May 11-13, 18 and 20 — the 2021 Trenchless Technology Road Show will consist of two tracks per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
This five-day schedule will allow attendees the opportunity to tailor their viewing without concern of technical sessions overlapping. The morning tracks begin at 10:30 a.m. EST and the afternoon tracks begin at 2:30 p.m. EST. Just like at a live event, each track will end with a live question and answer session featuring speakers from that track.
“It will be a different experience, for sure, but there are lots of advantages. Because the content will be spread in five days and there are no overlaps, you won’t need to choose between presentations,” Schmidt says. “You can even watch them on demand later in case you miss anything.”
Track topics include:
- May 11 – New Pipeline Construction and Pressure Pipes Inspection & Condition Assessment
- May 12 – Storm Sewer and Culverts & Styrene
- May 13 – Pipe Construction Using Microtunneling and Pipeline Condition Assessment & Lining Solutions
- May 18 – Pipeline Condition Assessment and CIPP & Sliplining – Lessons Learned
- May 20 – Utility Engineering & Surveying Institute (UESI) and Spray Lining of Sewers & Maintenance Hole Inspections and Repairs
A complete track listing and schedule is available by clicking on the “2021 Program” tab at catttrenchlessroadshow.ca.
“Building on over 20 years of experience in working with CATT — and bringing the Trenchless Technology Road Show to Canada — we are proud to have educated 1000’s of attendees on the benefits of trenchless applications,” says Rob Krzys, president of Benjamin Media Inc. “Although we are virtual this year the quality and topics remain the same. Also, exhibitors and sponsors will be surprised how we have added a new way for them to connect with their customers without the need to travel and be in an actual conference booth.”
While it is difficult to replicate the feel of an in-person conference online, organizers have done their research and found the Pheedloop platform that will allow attendees network and visit with TRS exhibitors and sponsors online.
“One of the best things about the TRS is networking with industry professionals and meeting long-known colleagues. With that in mind, a key feature for selecting the Pheedloop virtual event platform was the availability of interactive tools,” says Schmidt. “For the virtual show, we have the possibility for chats and video calls, not only between attendees and speakers, but also with exhibitors. The exhibit hall will showcase the best companies in the trenchless industry, and exhibitors will be able to chat live and give more information on their products and projects.”
Schmidt encourages attendees to dedicate some time to explore the exhibit hall, watch the videos, read the material and talk to the organizations.
“As the show nears, we’ll be releasing little tips and tutorials on how to best take advantage of the networking tools closer to the event,” Schmidt says. “Embrace change — we can learn a lot from new experiences!”
Registration for the 2021 Trenchless Technology Road Show is ongoing and early bird registration ends April 10. Early bird rates are $295 for CATT and UESI members and $350 for non-members. Pricing after April 10 is $350 and $450, respectively. All prices are in Canadian dollars.
To register, visit catttrenchlessroadshow.ca and click on the “Register Now!” tab.
For information on exhibitor opportunities, contact Meghan Squires at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-467-7588. For sponsorship information, contact Summer Rashed at email@example.com. For any other questions or concerns, contact the CATT team at firstname.lastname@example.org.