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Municipal Forums Provide Vital Info, Communication Role For Cities
Organizational discussions were held within the IAB during 1996 and 1997. The first actual forum was held in 1998 in conjunction with the Underground Construction Technology Conference in Houston as part of the first international trenchless research colloquium, a gathering of international academic researchers in the field. Additional forums were held in other major cities with the idea that participants could be drawn from a wide area around each city. However, this concept proved to be impractical, complicated by travel time and costs.
Ultimately the forum series was adjusted to provide forums in more narrowly-focused regions centered around large urban areas and drawing from those municipalities in that region. This allowed municipal participants to attend the meeting without overnight travel and with low or no travel costs.
Dr. Ray Sterling, who retired as TTC director last year, remains involved in the forum program and continues to serve as an occasional moderator. Joe Barsoom, Parsons Brinkerhoff, chairperson of the IAB since 2003, served as forums director from 2005 to 2009.