For the first time since 2018 the North American Tunneling Conference (NAT) returned to an in-person format with more than 1,000 attendees coming together for the three day conference in Philadelphia, PA June 20-22.
The conference began with the opening award session in which individuals and projects were recognized for outstanding achievements and contributions to the tunneling and underground construction industry. UCA Awards Chair Lonnie Jacobs explained that the UCA adjusted some of its awards criteria to better align with those presented by International Tunnelling Association.
William Edgerton, past chair of UCA and past SME president was given the Lifetime Achievement award.
Edgerton said he was humbled by the award and thanked those close to him who have supported his career. He also spoke about ways to continue to improve the industry he has dedicated his life to. In addition to developing better resolution methods Edgerton encouraged those attending the conference to use the opportunity to learn from successes as well as mistakes. “We need to learn from past mistakes,” he said. “At these conferences we do a good job of talking about the projects that we completed and the success we have had, but not all of the projects go well and we should share stories about the jobs that didn’t do so well because we learn more from mistakes.”
Edgerton also spoke of the industry’s need to attract and retain a qualified workforce, an issue that is top of mind for many in the industry.
The Muddy Boots Award was given to Christophe Bragard. This award goes to a field supervisor who has exhibited leadership in the field. Bragard also spoke about the workforces challenges and ways to retain good people. He compared building of tunnels to climbing a mountain, saying both endeavors require team work and a shared goal. And in both, the journey, while challenging, should also be enjoyable.
Jamal Rostami, professor at the Colorado School of Mines was given the UCA Outstanding Educator Award.
Leonard A. Worden was named the UCA Individual of the Year and Aswathy Sivaram was given the Young Member Award.
UCA Project of the Year $50 million to $500 million was given to Atlanta Raw Water Supply Program – City of Atlanta, PC Russell JV, River to Tap/Stantec JV,River to Tap, Black & Veatch.
UCA Project of the Year $50 million to $500 million was given to Bergen Point WWTP Outfall Replacement Project – OHLA USA/Posillico/SELI Overseas
UCA Project of the Year Less than $50 million was given to Dig Greenville – Reedy River Basin Sewer Tunnel Project – Renewable Water Resources, Black & Veatch, Super Excavators/CMCRAJV
UCA Technical Innovation of the Year award went to Southland Mole JV Project – Southland Mole JV, Aldea Services, Robbins
The conference includes three days of technical programing and an exhibit hall with 149 companies displaying the latest technology for the industry.