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Pipelines Professionals Convene in Kansas City to Examine Out of Sight and Mind but Not Out of Risk

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cityscape portrait of Kansas City, Missouri

Over 800 engineering professionals in the pipelines, surveying and geomatics industry convened in Kansas City, Missouri, July 16-20, for the ASCE Utility Engineering & Surveying Institute 2016 Pipelines Conference . With the theme Out of Sight, Out of Mind, but Not Out of Risk, this year's conference featured the largest Pipelines conference technical program to date, with nearly 180 papers featured among 8 technical tracks, plus 4 focused pre-conference workshops, a panel discussion, an ethics session, and a technical tour of WaterOne.

With more than twenty generous sponsors and cooperating organizations, the conference also had the largest and the broadest list of exhibitors ever, showcasing the best technologies for piping and maintenance, and various range of industry organizations and companies over two days of exhibition. This year, the UESI Board of Governors , Pipelines Division Executive Committee , and fifteen technical and task committees convened for meetings, and four pre-conference workshops were held, prior to the start of the conference. The workshops included the Large Diameter Pipeline Forum , Manual of Practice for Horizontal Auger Boring Projects , Manual of Practice for Water Pipeline Condition , and Pressure Pipe Prioritization, Inspection, Assessment & Management . More than 200 professionals attended the workshops over two full days and for the second year, the ethics session was presented by ASCE general counsel Tara Hoke.

From L to R: Erin McGuire, Mohammad Najafi, Tennyson Muindi, Joe Castronovo, Ralph Carpenter, David Garber, David Totman, Jim Anspach, Victor Fernandez-Cuervo, Tim Kennedy, Kristina Swallow, George Ruchti, Randy Hill, Sam Ariaratnam, John Segna. Group portrait of Pipelines Leaders.
UESI Board of Governors and Pipelines leaders - From L to R: Erin McGuire, Mohammad Najafi, Tennyson Muindi, Joe Castronovo, Ralph Carpenter, David Garber, David Totman, Jim Anspach, Victor Fernandez-Cuervo, Tim Kennedy, Kristina Swallow, George Ruchti, Randy Hill, Sam Ariaratnam, John Segna.

2016 Conference Steering Committee group portrait, recognized during opening plenary session on July 18, 2016. Photo by Frank Kim, UESI.
2016 Conference Steering Committee recognized during opening plenary session on July 18, 2016.
Photos by Frank Kim, UESI.
View 2016 Pipelines Conference photo album >>

Annually, the Pipelines conference has proved to be the premiere event in the pipelines industry, where new innovative engineering approaches and techniques are presented and shared. It is one of the few events, where approaches between the petrochemical industry and the municipal water and wastewater industries are shared. The key areas of the technical sessions included tracks on planning & design, condition assessment, rehabilitation, surveying & geomatics, and alternate delivery/corrosion.

The conference activities kicked off on July 17, with the second annual Pipeline Management 5K run, which is held to highlight our nation's buried water infrastructure. The proceeds from the run benefited Water For People . The 5K run was followed by an evening reception in the exhibit hall. Special events also included an off-site dinner and exhibit event at the National World War I Museum and Memorial; Young Professionals Day for civil engineering and surveying students and young professionals (ages 18-35); and golf tournament at Tiffany Greens Golf Club to conclude the conference.

The opening plenary session included keynote presentations by Kansas City Mayor, Sly James; Kansas City Water Services Director, Terry Leeds, P.E., M.ASCE; and ASCE 2016 President, Mark Woodson, P.E., L.S., D.WRE, M.ASCE.

From L to R: Conference Chair Richard Mueller, Mark Woodson, Terry Leeds, and Tim Kennedy. Group portrait at Pipelines 2016 Conference.
From L to R: Conference Chair Richard Mueller; Mark Woodson; Terry Leeds; Pipelines ExCOM chair Tim Kennedy.

Mayor Sly James addressed the audience:

"We are thrilled that all of you are here in Kansas City, to hold your annual conference. All of you, engineers and professionals that are in the field, play a major role and part in maintaining our important infrastructure that is so vital to our communities and way of life."

Terry Leeds presented on the work of KC Water Services and provided an encouraging finding on reduced breaks of water pipes in the greater Kansas City area. Mr. Leeds stated:

"As you can see, our numbers of reported breaks in our water pipes has gone down since we began implementation of our program, however, we still have lots of work to do and it is an on-going work we all must be a part of to maintain our water infrastructure."

ASCE President Mark Woodson introduced ASCE and Bechtel's new IMAX film Dream Big: Engineering Wonders of the World during his presentation. Mr. Woodson added:

"The Dream Big film will inform the public about the importance of what you, engineers do; educate people on the importance of our built infrastructure and maintaining it; and inspire young people to consider careers in engineering."

The film will premiere in giant-screen theaters during National Engineers Week in February and UESI plans on incorporating the film as a special event at the 2017 Pipelines Conference.

The annual Pipelines Awards Luncheon was held to recognize the winners of the ASCE Pipeline Division Award of Excellence and the ASCE Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award . The keynote was given by Rex Hudler , the Kansas City Royals TV commentator and motivational speaker. Mr. Hudler, the award winning broadcaster who began his broadcasting career as a special correspondent for the show Good Morning America gave a humorous and inspiring talk, urging the audience:

"Let's be a fountain of life to others and not a drain!"

volunteers pipelines
Student volunteers helping out during lunch in exhibition hall.
From L to R: Abhinav Khemani, Yash Naik, Shyam Kotecha, Nilo Rezaei (Volunteer Chair), Vijetha Shetty, Vishal Rajpal

Eleanor Allen, P.E., BCEE, M.ASCE , the CEO of Water for People provided the closing plenary keynote on how we can combat the global water poverty. Ms. Allen concluded:

"Can we really make a difference and meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030? Yes, I believe we can."

The conference concluded with a special technical tour of WaterOne's water treatment plant in Johnson County, Kansas, and the golf tournament at Tiffany Greens Golf Club.

The UESI gratefully acknowledges the conference sponsors, charter organizational members, and cooperating organizations for making the conference a success: Structural Technologies, Mid America, Ameron, AMERICAN, Forterra, Garney Construction, Northwest Pipe Company, CDM Smith, HDR, Jacobs, American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association, Black & Veatch, CH2M, Hobas Pipe USA, MWH-Stantec, Pure Technologies; AMERICAN, Cardno, Innovyze, mc2 civil, Pure Technologies, Structural Technologies, Underground Imaging Technologies; and cooperating organization, the Global Institute for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability.

pure technologies staff
Pure Technologies staff being recognized as UESI Charter Organizational Member - From L to R:
Allison Wolf, John Galleher (UESI governor), Randy Hill (UESI president), Jorge Rodriguez, Logan Fesenmair-Black, Ed Padewski.

The 2017 Pipelines Conference will be held in Phoenix, Arizona , on August 6-9, 2017 and call for abstracts is now open . With the theme Reliability and Resiliency through Sustainable Design and Construction , the 2017 conference is shaping to be another premiere pipelines industry gathering and event. To volunteer to participate as track chair, moderator and/or review abstracts and papers .

Richard I. Mueller, P.E., F.ASCE , the President and CEO of American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association and 2016 Conference Chair:

"The Pipelines Conference has also offered one of the 'It is always the job of the engineer to do more with less, yet still provide safety factors to ensure that installed assets perform as intended over a wide range of operations'.  Building new pipeline infrastructure under a now-more-commonly built urban area increases the risks but also increases the opportunities for fresh approaches.

It is the purpose of this conference to stimulate creative thinking by pooling ideas developed for a wide variety of installations so that the best combination of ideas can be utilized to most cost-effectively meet the needs of your next project."

Anna Pridmore, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE , 2016 Conference Technical Committee member and Chair of the 2017 Pipelines Conference Technical Committee stated:

"Pipelines 2016 was a great success once again, bringing together the family of large diameter water pipeline owners, consulting engineers and suppliers.  This group has grown together over the past several years- traveling to Kansas City this year for another mid-summer conference filled with learning, networking and having fun.  From the Opening Plenary to the Awards Luncheon with Rex Hudler, and the evening festivities at the WWI Museum, Pipelines had something for all attending.

The technical sessions were packed with a wide range of topics tailored to assist those who plan, operate and manage large diameter water pipelines.  Structural Technologies is proud to be a major supporter of the Pipelines Conference and Charter Organizational Member of the UESI."

Samuel T. Ariaratnam, Ph.D., P.E., P.Eng., F.ASCE , the Secretary of the Pipelines Division Executive Committee and Chair of the 2017 Pipelines Conference concluded:

"The 2016 Pipelines Conference was a highly successful conference with an array of insightful papers, special keynotes, and 80 exhibiting companies and organizations.  The pre-conference workshops were very well attended with a wealth of information disseminated to the attendees.  We look to expand on the success of this event for the 2017 Pipelines Conference next year in Phoenix, Arizona.

We anticipate a full schedule of pipelines, utility, surveying and geomatics papers in our technical program and entertaining social events.  Additionally, we plan on offering several new pre-conference workshops to coincide with the release of new Manuals of Practices (MOPs).  The exhibition hall should have even more participation as we continue to grow the Pipelines Conference."