There was a certain level of excitement in the air at the JW Marriott, the host hotel for the conference, as the event marked the first in-person event following two years of pandemic-related virtual conferences.
Hosted by the Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), more than 750 attendees from across North America and beyond gathered in Indianapolis, to learn about the latest developments in the profession.
In addition to registrants from the United States, there were 43 from Canada, and others representing Australia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria and the UAE. Focusing on the theme “Racing Forward with Innovative, Resilient, and Innovative Infrastructure,” the conference was an opportunity for attendees to enrich their education and network with peers.
Conference co-chairs for the 2022 event were, Jeff Boschert, P.E., M.ASCE, president, National Clay Pipe Institute, and Jeremy Kosegi, P.Eng., M.ASCE, manager capital projects delivery, Citizen Energy Group.
Local co-chairs were David Howell, division manager, Midwest Mole Inc., and Chris Schuler, vice president municipal services division, Miller Pipeline. Kosegi, Howell and Schuler were the local contacts and worked closely with regional contacts to promote the conference.
The two technical co-chairs were Shaoqing Ge, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, senior planning engineer, American Water, and Jeffrey A. Shoaf, P.E., PMP, M.ASCE, principal Engineer, San Diego County Water Authority. They led the technical team in reviewing abstracts, selecting the final papers, and preparing the technical program for the conference. Advisors to the technical co-chairs were Duane Strayer, P.Eng., M.ASCE, from Associated Engineering, and Doug Jenkins, P.E., from Jacobs.
Also involved in putting on a successful conference were Ophir Wainer, Aff.M. ASCE, from 4M Analytics as the Networking & Education Chair; Renee Mayer, P.E., M.ASCE, HDR Engineering and Erin McGuire, P.E., PMP, M.ASCE, were the Education Coordinators; Shah Rahman, MBA, M.ASCE from KCI Technologies as Exhibits and Sponsorship chair; Young Member Coordinator was Jarred R. Jones, P.E., M.ASCE, HDR Engineering; Tom Iseley, Ph.D., P.E., Dist. M.ASCE., Purdue University, as the International Chair; and Wei Lao, Purdue University, as the International Initiatives and Student Competition Coordinator.
The Exhibit Hall at the Pipelines Conference is one of the hallmarks of the event. Enhanced by dedicated breaks when no other conference programming is scheduled, traffic in the hall was high. The hall featured 73 exhibitors showcasing their products and services.
A comprehensive Technical Program of seven tracks was presented over three days. With nearly 150 paper-based and panel sessions, the Technical Program covered all aspects of utility engineering. Tracks included Construction & Rehabilitation, Condition Assessment, Planning & Design, Utility Engineering Surveying (UES), and Multidiscipline Topics.
There were six Pre-conference Workshops; conducted on Saturday and Sunday, to give participants an opportunity to study technical topics and new publications in greater depth.
UESI again offered its Public Sector and Student Scholarship programs with 33 Public Sector recipients and 20 Student recipients.
Kicking off the conference was the Welcome Breakfast and Annual Membership meeting with a welcome from Jeff Harrison, president and CEO of Citizens Energy Group. UESI president, Graham Bell, PH.D., P.E., F.NACE, F.ASCE, gave a summary of UESI’s current and future activities and a state of the institute and membership.
2023 ASCE president Maria C. Lehman, P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE also spoke followed by the keynote speaker, Amster Howard, an internationally recognized pipeline installation expert specializing in the soil-structure interaction of buried pipe. Howard presented, “The Inspector Comes Next Wednesday,” a follow-up to his talk at the Seattle conference in 2011, “The Inspector Comes on Tuesday.” He discussed pipeline problems based on lack of proper inspection. Case histories collected since 2011 were featured.
At the Tuesday Awards Luncheon, celebrated the achievement of the winners of the 2022 Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award, the ASCE Pipeline Division Award of Excellence and the Best Paper Award.
The 2022 Stephen D. Bechtel Award went to Ahmad Habibian, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE. Habibian is the global practice leader, conveyance, CDM Smith and has more than 30 years of infrastructure management, pipeline assessment, and rehabilitation and trenchless technology experience.
The ASCE Pipeline Division Award of Excellence honorees for 2022 are Jim Geisbush, P.E. PMP, F.ASCE, senior civil engineer, Central Arizona Project and Walt Schwarz, P.E., F.ASCE.
The luncheon also included a State of the Pipeline Division address from Jason Lueke and a Younger Member and Student Initiatives update from Jarred R. Jones and concluded with a keynote speech by, Mark Nutsch.
Nutsch took attendees behind-the-scenes of the first successful Special Forces campaign that happened in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, sharing insights on leadership and team dynamics in overcoming insurmountable odds in what was described as “The Most Important Mission of the Free World.” While leveraging guerilla tactics on horseback, his 12-man team successfully outmaneuvered the full military force of the enemy to a historic victory.
If you missed Pipelines 2022, now is the time to start planning for 2023. UESI has already started organizing for the UESI Pipelines 2023 Conference, Aug. 12-16, in San Antonio, Texas.