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Nashville is ready to welcome NAT

I am looking forward to seeing our members, friends and colleagues at the upcoming North American Tunneling (NAT) Conference to take place June 23-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

There is a great lineup of short courses, speakers and owner events. The conference chair, Dawn Dobson-Markman, and the entire committee did a great job planning sessions that offer interesting topics and learning opportunities for all and including our young members, students and professors who are attending the conference. Through conferences like NAT, we work to accomplish our goal of strengthening workforce sustainability. UCA offers scholarships to help offset the cost for college students to attend the NAT conference where they get exposed to the industry, expand their networks, and get the opportunity for on-the-spot interviews, and so much more.

It’s great to see that all ages, whether they are interested in engineering, construction, supply or being an owner or educator, gain tremendous insights, contacts and resources from attending our conferences like the NAT. 

“This year’s conference is offering a pair of excellent short courses to begin the conference. One short course will focus on critical infrastructure crossings and the other on underground contracting principles,” Dobson-Markman said

In addition to the short courses, Tony Gonzalez, news director of 90.3 Nashville Public Radio will be the featured luncheon speaker. Gonzalez is the host of a podcast called Curious Nashville and will speak about the city’s impressive network of stormwater tunnels and the rumors about them.

Conference program chair Louis Falco said, “This year’s NAT technical program includes a multitude of topics emerging from those experiences our industry has dealt with. Our programming team was impressed with the whole lot of papers delivered for this conference. All four tracks have provided our colleagues with interesting topics ranging from innovations in construction, design, digital technology, project delivery, underground risks and assessments, tunnel lining design, challenges encountered in excavations by TBM, SEM and shafts.”

Networking events include the Owners Reception, Women in Tunneling Breakfast, and UCA Young Members.

“Based on comments from those who complete the surveys each year, networking continues to be the primary reason people attend the conferences and I couldn’t agree more,” said Dobson-Markman. “It’s always great to catch up with colleagues and meet those that may be new to the industry. Of course, technical sessions and the short courses are another significant reason to attend NAT. A lot of work goes into soliciting and evaluating the papers that are included in the conference. The topics are quite varied and there’s valuable information for everyone.”   

I agree as well, and I look forward to seeing everyone there. NAT is held in even years, with the industry turning to the Rapid Excavation & Tunneling Conference (RETC) in alternating years

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