Tampa Hosts Successful UCT 2010

March 2010 Vol. 65 No. 3

The 2010 Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exposition – best known as the UCT show – was held in Florida for the first time in January at the Tampa Convention Center.

For the second consecutive year, there were concerns that the continuing recession would impact attendance, and, in fact, final attendance figures showed a slight decrease from the number that attended the 2009 UCT in San Antonio.

Even so, UCT was termed a success.

"We are very pleased with the turnout in Tampa," said UCT Show Manager Karen Francis. "At a time when we're told that attendance at most trade shows is down 20 to 30 percent, UCT maintained attendance near pre recession levels and also at a location where the show has never been held."

The sold out exhibit hall included the popular RehabZone and the Damage Prevention & Safety Zone, a new area with an elevated floor constructed over "live" utilities to allow demonstrations and instruction on the use of utility locating equipment.

New in 2010 was the Damage Prevention & Safety Conference conducted as part of UCT. (For details see report on page ??)

In general, the mood in Tampa was upbeat among both exhibitors and attendees, and most of those interviewed expressed guarded optimism for an improving economy in 2010.

Popular location (subhed)

The Tampa location and facilities brought numerous favorable comments.

"This was one of the more interesting UCT conferences because of the layout of the facility," said Brian Dorwart, P.E., P.G., Brierley Associates, Bedford, NH. "The convention center has plenty of space with areas providing opportunities to communicate with my compatriots, and the layout of the exhibit area also facilitates interaction. I really enjoyed this year's show."

Ultraliner's Grant Whittle said scheduling UCT in January each year is good because work has slowed or stopped in cold weather parts of the country.

"The Tampa location is wonderful," he said. "With the winter much of the country is having, who wouldn't want to come to Florida in January? From an exhibitor's viewpoint, the Tampa area is very nice, and there are not a lot of well known attractions as there are in cities such as Orlando, New Orleans, Las Vegas which can pull attendees away from the exhibit hall."

Reline America's Michael Burkhard agreed that Tampa is an attractive, easy to get to location well suited for UCT. "Our booth traffic has been good," he said.

Whatever its location, contractor Jeff Nock, Terrace Construction, Cleveland, OH, said he is a UCT regular.