The annual George A. Fox Conference, organized by the UCA of SME, attracted a record crowd of 408 Jan. 28 at the City University of New York Graduate Center in Manhattan. The theme of the conference was “21st Century Challenges for the Tunneling Industry.”
Bruce Grewcock of Kiewit was the keynote speaker, focusing on what he views as the needs of the tunneling community. Grewcock indicated that the tunneling industry worldwide is expected to build a record 600 miles of tunnel in 2014. He said that the construction industry needs to focus on safety and improving a negative perception of the construction industry in general and contracting in particular. He noted challenges involving training and recruiting young professionals into the industry, as well as a need for more sophistication among management the for increasingly complex and technical projects.
Following the keynote were presentations covering an overview of tunnel projects in the United States by Mike McHugh of Moretrench, and upcoming work on the Second Avenue Subway by Michael Horodniceanu of MTA Capital Construction, as well as a mix of presentations on North American and overseas projects.
Closing the conference was a panel discussion on the use and development of public-private partnerships for tunnel projects. Participating in the panel were David Hatem of Donovan Hatem, Craig Covil of Arup and Gerhard Urschitz of Strabag. David Corkum of Donovan Hatem served as moderator.
The conference program committee was chaired by Colin Lawrence of Hatch Mott MacDOnald with Lonnie Jacobs of Frontier-Kemper serving as vice chair and incoming chair.