UCT 2014 Succeeds Despite Record National Freeze

Weather Impacts Show Initially But Rebounds Strongly
March 2014, Vol. 69 No. 3

While typically, the Houston area of southeast Texas experiences mild winter weather conditions, January 2014 proved that the city is not immune to the horrific winter weather being experienced across most of the nation.

With forecasts for freezing rain for the first morning of the annual Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition, attendance dipped initially. While the forecasted icy conditions never materialized, the massive winter storm did spread ice and snow across other regions of the south, Midwest and east coast, keeping many travelers at home or worse – stranded at airports. In Atlanta, for example, ice and snow clogged freeways, trapping motorists in their cars for up to 18 hours.

Fortunately, with temperatures in Houston quickly rising back to seasonal averages, attendance rebounded for day two of the show. “No question the expected bad weather played a factor in attendance,” said Karen Francis, UCT show director. “But we finished out the conference strong.”

UCT is the only annual industry event that brings together contractors, utility providers, consulting engineers, manufacturers and service providers in a business and educational environment. The scope of UCT encompasses all underground construction and rehabilitation disciplines.

The 2014 UCT exhibition covered more than 130,000 square feet. It included the expanded RehabZone, a 10,800-square-foot show within a show providing objective non-sales information offering generic presentations about the rapidly-changing range of pipeline rehabilitation technologies.

New for 2014 was the DrillZone, a special area with interactive, hands-on exhibits and information for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) attendees.

Education opportunities

In addition to the largest exhibition focused on the underground construction and rehabilitation market, the unique educational program of presentations combined with panel discussions and interactive sessions continue to be an industry benchmark for creative learning and information. One-hundred sessions representing 73.5 hours of presentations plus another 80 hours of special pre- and post-show programs made up for a full week of the best education available to the underground market. Sessions included tutorials, panel discussions, interactive presentations and detailed case histories documenting underground utility construction and rehabilitation methods and technologies. The popular HDD Roundtable Forum introduced in 2013 was also included again.