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Here's the latest from the UCT International Conference and Exhibition going on now at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX. What are you missing? Yesterday, trenchless industry association UCTA bestowed its annual Most Valuable Professional Award on CIGMAT's Dr. Cumaraswamy Vipulanadan, Ph.D. Barbco unveiled a much-requested disc cutter, debuting at UCT after over a decade's wait for a commercial offering. UCT's first ever SafeZone started offering attendees a shot at locating a tricky line on-site, while the Rehab Zone showed off with live demonstrations of three separate technologies.

Roger Kirwan, vice president of marketing for Vacmasters, Denver, CO, has retired after working 17 years with the company. Considered by many to be an expert in air-vacuum excavation, Kirwan spent his career at Vacmasters advising the community in the best practices when considering excavation work where underground utilities are present.

HammerHead Trenchless Equipment of Oconomowoc, WI, announced the addition of Ryan Boldan to its sales team and Paul Rogers as global accounts manager.

Superior Drillpipe has just passed its third year in business in Houston, TX, and the company is going strong despite the tough times it’s growing up in. “Business is very good,” said Superior’s Kris Mudge, in an interview with Underground Construction. “We’ve got a nice backlog into 2011.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Jan. 19 that it is withdrawing its proposed interpretation titled “Interpretation of OSHA’s Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise.”

Since its inception, a primary responsibility of the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA) has been to negotiate collective bargaining agreements with the four international unions with pipeline jurisdiction--the Teamsters, United Association, Operating Engineers and Laborers.

The city of Westlake, OH, got an interesting wake-up call in 2006 when a sanitary sewer interceptor line in the nearby city of Lorain failed dramatically.

“It forced the evacuation of several dozen homes for months,” says Westlake Director of Engineering Robert P. Kelly, P.E.

Case Construction Equipment introduced Jan. 18 three new F Series wheel loader models. The new machines provide faster acceleration, quicker cycle times and higher travel speeds while delivering as much as 17% greater fuel efficiency.

On Jan. 13, PipeLine Machinery International (PLM), the first Caterpillar dealership without geographic borders, held a grand opening of the company’s new equipment yard and a working demonstration of the DECKHAND Pipe Handling System, exclusively distributed by PLM.

Watch the PipeLine Machinery-distributed DECKHAND pipe handling system lift, tilt and twirl line pipe. Video from Jan.