UESI Pipelines 2019 Conference Convenes in Nashville

In July, the pipelines engineering, utilities and surveying industries converged on Nashville, Tennessee, for the UESI Pipelines 2019 Conference.

The Pipelines Conference is the premier event for the pipelines engineering, utilities and surveying industries and hosted by the Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The UESI Pipelines 2019 Conference was held July 21-24, at the Nashville Renaissance Hotel in the heart of downtown Nashville. More than 900 attendees from around the country and the globe gathered in Nashville, to learn about the latest developments in the profession.

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In addition to registrants from the United States, there were 65 from Canada, and 40 representing 12 other countries. Focusing on the theme “Concepts in Harmony,” the conference was an opportunity for attendees to enrich their education and network with peers.

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Conference co-chairs for the 2019 event were, Anna Pridmore, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE and Hal Balthrop, P.E., M.ASCE. Balthrop was the local contact from Metro Water Services, Nashville, who worked closely with regional contacts to promote the conference and gave us a warm welcome to the city. Pridmore is vice president of Municipal and Nuclear Infrastructure for Structural Technologies in Columbia, Maryland, and is the vice-chair of the Pipeline Division Executive Committee.

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The two technical co-chairs were Jeffrey W. Heidrick, P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE, with Burns & McDonnell, and Mark S. Mihm, P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE, with HDR. Jeff and Mark led the technical team in reviewing abstracts, selecting the final papers, and preparing the technical program for the conference.

Also involved in the conference were Jason Lueke, Ph.D., P.Eng., M.ASCE, from Associated Engineering, and Chris Macey, P.Eng., M.ASCE, from AECOM, as advisors to the Technical co-chairs; Erin McGuire, P.E., M. ASCE, from CDM Smith as the Education chair: Steve Ford, from Garney Construction as Exhibits and Sponsorship chair; and Sandra Rolfe-Dickinson, P.E., C.Eng. (UK) from Pipetechnics Ltd., as the International chair.

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The Exhibit Hall at the Pipelines Conference is one of the hallmarks of the event. Enhanced by dedicated breaks when no other conference programming is scheduled, traffic in the hall was high. The hall featured 73 exhibitors showcasing their products and services.

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A comprehensive Technical Program of eight tracks was presented over two days. With nearly 90 paper-based and panel sessions planned, the Technical Program covered all aspects of utility engineering. Tracks included Construction & Rehabilitation, Condition Assessment, Planning & Design, Utility Engineering Surveying (UES), and Multidiscipline Topics.

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There were four Pre-conference Workshops; conducted on Saturday and Sunday, to give participants an opportunity to study technical topics and new publications in greater depth.

UESI again offered its popular Public Sector and Student Scholarship programs. Close to 70 municipal employees and 9 students participated this year, having been selected from hundreds of applications. More than 100 municipalities were represented at the conference. Public Sector winners had enhanced networking opportunities, and students were each paired with a mentor.

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Each year, UESI seeks out creative and engaging keynote speakers. Local Nashville musician Lionel Cartwright presented at the Opening Breakfast Plenary. He spoke about how change is a constant in many professions, from the music business to utility engineering. He shared insights on how to navigate these changes. He also played an assortment of his music to the group and had the energetic crowd clapping along.

At the Tuesday Awards Luncheon, George Hawkins, Ph.D., Esq., served as the keynote speaker. Hawkins, founder of Moonshot Missions, was a transformational leader at DC Water. He gave a well-received talk about how he enacted significant improvements at DC Water and challenged the group to think about creating solutions that are “better, faster, cheaper” in order to meet the public’s needs for robust utilities infrastructure.

UESI was proud to celebrate the achievements of its members by presenting several awards at the Tuesday Awards Luncheon. Samuel Ariaratnam, Ph.D., P.E., P.Eng., FCAE, and John Segna, P.E., BCEE, F.ASCE, were recipients of the 2019 Pipeline Division Award of Excellence. Graham E.C. Bell, P.E., M.ASCE, was the recipient of the 2019 Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award.

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Planning has already begun for the UESI Pipelines 2020 Conference, Aug. 9-12, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas. Visit the UESI Pipelines 2020 Conference Website at pipelinesconference.org for more information.


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