More than 570 people made the trip to Calgary, Alberta for the inaugural No-Dig North conference Oct. 29 to 30 at the TELUS Convention Centre.


The stellar attendance exceeded the expectations of show organizers and indicates the unbridled thirst for trenchless knowledge that exists in Canada.


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Hosted by the North American Society for Trenchless Technology’s (NASTT) Canadian chapters — British Columbia (BC); Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and Atlantic (GLSLA); and Northwest (NW) — No-Dig North featured more 60 technical presentations and more than 75 exhibitors from across the trenchless industry.


Oct. 28 featured a day of NASTT Good Practices courses and closed with a networking reception in the exhibit hall that was well-attended to the closing bell.


The event really kicked-off with breakfast Oct. 29 that included a welcome from Greg Tippett, conference chair and Remco Kleinlugtenbelt, technical chair; as well as remarks from Mike Willmets, NASTT executive director; Craig Vandaelle, NASTT chairman; Jari Kaukonen, ISTT chairman; and keynote presentations from past NASTT chairs Frank Firsching and Kim Staheli.


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“The idea for No-Dig North spawned from a NASTT Strategic Plan back in 2014 and to witness the inaugural event was immensely gratifying. Of course, the credit for taking the initiative starts with the Northwest Chapter who championed the event and built the partnership with the BC Chapter and Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and Atlantic Chapter,” says Willmets. “With Benjamin Media onboard and NASTT supplying four Good Practices Training Courses, the best possible team built an amazing event and set a course for the best trenchless show in Canada.”


In addition to networking and fruitful discussions, the kick-off breakfast also served as a chance for the Canadian chapters to honour the Project of the Year recipients. Each chapter presented its own award and there was one overall Canadian Project of the Year winner.


NASTT-BC Project of the Year – South Surrey Interceptor: Johnston Road Section

GLSLA Project of the Year – Hanlan Feedermain

NASTT-NW Project of the Year – Wapitit River Three-Peat Parallel HDD Crossing

Canadian Project of the Year – McLoughlin Point WWTP Outfall, Victoria, B.C.


To provide education and training for employees of municipalities, government agencies and utility owners, conference organizers offered a Municipal and Utility Scholarship to attendees. Eight attendees received the scholarship and organizers look to continue the scholarship for future conferences.


Following breakfast, conference attendees made their way to the technical sessions and the exhibit hall with many of the technical presentations being standing room only.


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“Feedback from attendees and exhibitors was incredibly positive, not only during the show but afterwards as well. Several exhibitors have already contacted my office inquiring about our future plans for No-Dig North,” says Willmets. “There is no doubt that No-Dig North will continue to grow in the years to come and plans are already in development as far forward as 2024. The Canadian trenchless technology market is strong and the need for quality education and current supplier information to support to our industry continues to be in high demand. I have no doubt that No-Dig North will have a lasting impact on this amazing industry for many years to come.”


“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the committees to bring this vision to life. It was an amazing show that blew our expectations out of the trenches,” Tippett says. “Comments from attendees have been very similar and we are already getting requests to submit papers, to sponsor and to exhibit. 2020 here we come.”


To that end, the organizers formally announced that No-Dig North 2020 will head west to Vancouver on Oct. 19-21 and the Vancouver Convention Centre on Vancouver Harbour.


More information on the 2020 event will be available soon at nodignorth.ca.


2019 No-Dig North NASTT Chairmen

From left: Ophir Wainer, NASTT-BC chairman; Greg Tippett, NASTT-NW chairman; Craig Vandaelle, NASTT chairman; Jari Kaukonen, ISTT chairman; and Kevin Bainbridge, GLSLA chairman. (Photo courtesy David Crowder)


2019 No-Dig North Exhibit Hall

The exhibit hall at No-Dig North was a hub of activity.


2019 No-Dig North Tippet and Remco

Greg Tippett, served as conference chair and Remco Kleinlugtenbelt served as technical chair for the 2019 No-Dig North (Photo courtesy of David Crowder.)


2019 No-Dig North Technical Sessions

The technical sessions were well attended both days and in many cases were standing room only.


2019 No-Dig North Keynote

Mike Willmets, NASTT executive director, with keynote presenters, Kim Staheli and Frank Firsching. (Photo courtesy of David Crowder.)


2019 No-Dig North Discussion

No-Dig North provided an ideal forum for exhibitors to meet with clients and potential customers.


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