The UESI Pipelines 2019 Conference was held July 21-24, 2019, at the Nashville Renaissance Hotel in the heart of downtown. More than 900 attendees from around the country and the globe gathered to learn about the latest developments in the profession. In addition to registrants from the United States, there were 65 from Canada, and 40 representing 12 other countries. Focusing on the theme Concepts in Harmony, the conference was an opportunity for attendees to enrich their education and network with peers.
Conference Co-chairs were Anna Pridmore, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, and Hal Balthrop, P.E., M.ASCE. Balthrop was the local contact from Metro Water Services, Nashville, who worked closely with regional contacts to promote the conference and gave a warm welcome to the city. Pridmore is with Structural Technologies in Columbia, Maryland, and is the Vice-chair of the Pipeline Division Executive Committee. She helped coordinate the internal operations that were critical to the success of the conference.
The Technical Co-chairs were Jeffrey W. Heidrick, P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE, with Burns & McDonnell, and Mark S. Mihm, P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE, with HDR. They led the technical team in reviewing abstracts, selecting the final papers, and preparing the technical program for the conference. Also involved in the conference were Jason Lueke, Ph.D., P.Eng., M.ASCE, from Associated Engineering, and Chris Macey, P.Eng., M.ASCE, from AECOM, as Advisors to the Technical Co-chairs; Erin McGuire, P.E., M. ASCE, from CDM Smith as the Education Chair; Steve Ford, from Garney Construction as Exhibits and Sponsorship Chair; and Sandra Rolfe-Dickinson, P.E., C.Eng. (UK) from Pipetechnics Ltd., as the International Chair.
The Exhibit Hall and Technical Program are hallmarks of the event. The hall featured 73 exhibitors showcasing their products and services, while the Technical Program included eight tracks presented over two days.
The Pipelines Conference had a special session on Diversity in Engineering. This session featured a guided discussion covering a wide array of topics. Moderated by Pridmore, panelists included Babs Marquis, from McMillen Jacobs Associates; Kristina Swallow, P.E., ENV SP, F. ASCE, Nevada Department of Transportation: Elizabeth Rivera Blackwelder, P.E., ENV SP, from Sustainable Solutions Engineering; Jorge Rodriguez, P.E., from WSSC, and Kylie Pelzer, P.E.
The Breakfast Keynote speaker was local Nashville musician Lionel Cartwright, who spoke about how change is a constant in many professions, from the music business to utility engineering. The Awards Luncheon Keynote was George Hawkins, Ph.D., Esq. Hawkins, founder of Moonshot Missions, was a transformational leader at DC Water. He gave a well-received talk about how he enacted significant improvements at DC Water and challenged the group to think about creating solutions that are “better, faster, cheaper” in order to meet the public’s needs for robust utilities infrastructure.
The 2019 Pipeline Division Award of Excellence winners were Samuel Ariaratnam, Ph.D., P.E., P.Eng., FCAE, and John Segna, P.E., BCEE, F.ASCE. Graham E.C. Bell, P.E., M.ASCE, was the recipient of the 2019 Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award.
Planning has already begun for the UESI Pipelines 2020 Conference, August 9-12, 2020, in San Antonio. Visit the UESI Pipelines 2020 Conference Website at https://www.pipelinesconference.org/ for more information.