Established in 1994, the Microtunneling Short Course has earned a reputation as the gathering place for the microtunneling industry worldwide. That was evident Feb. 6-9, 2017, as the 24th annual course set a new attendance record with 147 participants, including registrants from 12 different countries.
As always, the attendance is a mix of industry veterans along with newcomers looking to learn more about the ever-evolving field of microtunneling. Attendees represented contractors, engineers, owner agencies and equipment suppliers involved in the worldwide market. The event was held at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Byron R. White Club.
The educational program covers all aspects of microtunneling from basic concepts to advanced techniques and the latest developments. The size of the event allows for networking, interactive discussion and Q&A following the presentations, something that can be lacking at large conferences.
One of the themes of the Microtunneling Short Course this year is the ongoing evolution and technical capabilities in the industry. Presentations by John Grennan of Ward and Burke (“30 Curves in Canada in 1 Year”) and Ingo Justen of Tunnel Service Group (“1,000 meter-plus Drives”) showed real-world examples of how microtunneling can be used as a cost-effective solution for underground construction in urban spaces.
Other activities associated with the annual Microtunneling Short Course are the one-day Pilot Tube Seminar, held at the University’s Rec Center, and a meeting of the North American Microtunneling Association (NAMA), a Networking Reception hosted by Akkerman Inc., and the Banquet Dinner, all held at the historic Boulderado Hotel in downtown Boulder.
The Banquet Dinner annually features the presentation of the Microtunneling Achievement Awards, and this year additionally honored individuals who have dedicated their careers to the microtunneling industry. These individuals were given certificates and either a 30-, 25- or 20-year lapel pin.
The Microtunneling Achievement Awards were given to: Lester Bradshaw, Bradshaw Construction; Paul Nicholas, AECOM; Andreas Thiele, mts Perforator; and Paul Vadnais, Vadnais Trenchless.
Another addition to the program was the establishment of a scholarship program dedicated to U.S. military veterans who are attending college following their service. In conjunction with Stewart Elliott (U.S. Navy, retired), Director of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Office of Veterans Services, three $1,000 scholarships were presented to veterans and current CU students Bryce Armknecht, Richard Barnitz and Kyle Matheny.
Planning is underway for the 25th annual Microtunneling Short Course, which will be returning to Boulder in February 2018. Information will be posted to the course website as it becomes available.