CIGMAT Informs, Grows In 09

May 2009 Vol. 64 No. 5

The Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology (CIGMAT) and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering hosted a one-day conference and exhibition on “Construction, Geotechnical and Flooding Issues in Houston & Other Major Cities” at the University of Houston on March 6.

CIGMAT has grown in attendance to more than 350 people in its 14th year. Attendees represented owners, consulting engineers, material suppliers, contractors and academia who came from many parts of the U.S.

“CIGMAT is a good conference to attend because there is a cross section of people from civil engineers and city municipalities,” said Steve Henning, AP/M Permaform. “You’ll also see industry personnel from TxDOT and other agencies such as buried pipe and buried assets. It’s a good meeting ground for the engineering community.”

After opening remarks by Dr. C. Vipulanandan, chairman and professor, director of CIGMAT and Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology (THC-IT), the general session focused on public works, transportation issues and the impact of the stimulus package in the region. Plans for maintaining and expanding the city of Houston’s water and wastewater facilities and funding highway projects in the region for years 2009-10 were discussed, along with the challenges in maintaining civil infrastructure and navigation channels in the Gulf Coast region by the USACE. Among the speakers in the morning session were Michael S. Marcotte, director of Public Works, city of Houston; Delvin Dennis, district engineer, TxDOT; and Peter Perez, chief engineer, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers - Galveston.

A regular attendee and invited speaker to this year’s CIGMAT, Gary Oradat, executive director, Coastal Water Authority, observed: “CIGMAT has certainly grown over the years. When Dr. Vipu started the conference years ago, it focused more on what types of materials could aid municipalities and how they could benefit from them. However, now CIGMAT has grown to be more of an information exchange and technical briefing for the greater Houston area. They’ve done a good job of keeping it interesting and fresh, bringing in good speakers and addressing a variety of topics. I expect that to continue.”

“I really look forward to CIGMAT because of the level of people who attend the conference – people like Mike Marcotte and the directors of TxDOT – these are the big guys in our business,” commented Sherman Irish, Uretek ICR. “You can count on seeing the people in our business you need to see at this conference. Every year it grows, and I don’t see it doing anything else but continue. This conference is on everyone’s calendar.”