Making A Difference
Record-Setting Attendance Highlights the 2019 CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo
“I loved the variety of content offered! I thought the schedule had a great flow. There was always something happening throughout the day, so the time never felt wasted. This event is a great opportunity to learn some information and connect with my peers.” – Courtney Jordt, PG&E
Tampa, Florida played host to the largest event in the damage prevention industry in March, as a record-setting number of individuals came together to learn from each other and discuss new and innovative ways to protect our buried utilities. More than 1,600 delegates from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Japan, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, and the United States gathered to share information on how to prevent damages before they happen, mitigate trench and excavation hazards and many other damage prevention topics. Subject matter experts led sessions on a variety of topics within the water and sewer, gas and oil, public works, telecommunication, electric, construction, locating, engineering, One Call, regulatory and geospatial professions. Industry leaders led panel discussions and industry summits that dug into the current issues and concerns facing the damage prevention industry.
This year, a special mentor/mentee program was offered in which professionals new to the industry were able to attend for a deeply discounted rate when they partnered with a Full Conference delegate. Delegates attending through this program participated in a round-table discussion on the development of an Emerging Professionals industry group. To learn more about the next step for this group, contact Sundar Ganeshan at Sundar@emailir.com, or check out the related article in the Web Exclusive edition of dp-pro.
Over 80 sessions were made available to Conference delegates over the three-day period, allowing every conference delegate to obtain information on those topics that will best help them implement damage prevention best practices when they return to the office. 90% of surveyed delegates said what they learned will help them implement change at work, and 98% stated the quality of the educational content was “Excellent” or “Very Good”.
“This was my first time attending the CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo, and I was extremely impressed by the variety of speakers and perspectives in the sessions. It was great to hear from operators, vendors, industry experts, and regulators. They shared so much valuable content and I heard a lot of new ideas that I could take back and put to use at my company right away. I was also happy to make so many great connections with others in the industry. Building these relationships is so important to sharing best practices and helping my company and the industry as a whole continue to make progress in damage prevention.” – Matt Miceli, Nisource
We were privileged to work with industry experts at the Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) and Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) to create dynamic educational tracks focused on innovative technology and engineering. Delegates had the opportunity to earn Professional Development Hours (PDHs) and GISCI Course Points. Participation in the conference also qualified for BICSI CEC’s.
The official opening of the Conference was commemorated with a ceremonial ribbon cutting sponsored by Rhino Marking and Protection Systems, and featured industry celebs Cliff Meidl and JJ Harrison, followed by a night of networking at the Tuesday evening Welcome Reception.
With over 115 exhibitors showcasing their products and services, the Tampa Convention Center was jumping with activity this year! Efforts to build and sustain continuous exhibit hall traffic and create a central hub for the damage prevention community successfully paid off. The USIC Damage Prevention Theater anchored the exhibit hall, and two Learning Labs were added to each corner of the expo floor for education and presentation purposes.
The new Locate & Damage Prevention Technology Forums, presented by exhibitors, offered attendees a snapshot of new damage prevention products released within the last year. The forums were designed to help delegates understand the newest cutting-edge safety products and services available in damage prevention, while providing exhibitors a platform to educate attendees. Both forums were standing room only and a great success for vendors and delegates alike!
Safety Day Thursday took the damage prevention community outdoors alongside the beautiful Tampa waterfront for the Outdoor Demo Fair. In addition to live vacuum excavation demonstrations, there were hands-on opportunities for attendees to test-drive products in the field. USIC also welcomed delegates to the Conference with an impressive multi-company, six-vehicle fleet display in front of the Tampa Convention Center. The Tampa exhibitor experience not only offered conference-goers a fantastic expo filled with great vendors, but also provided a beautiful outdoor setting for interactivity with exhibitors and their products.
The CGA Night of Networking, held Wednesday Evening at Armature Works, was a great success. More than 1,050 delegates enjoyed live karaoke, cigar rolling and networking with peers. Three hundred people participated in the Riverwalk Rally along the boardwalk to Armature Works, gathering stamps towards prize drawings later in the evening. PelicanCorp announced Laura Arnold, Miss Dig System Inc., as the winner of their annual Australia Trip Prize Giveaway.
As we end this record year, we’ve hit the ground running in preparation for the 2020 Conference in Palm Springs, California, March 24-26. We’re already hard at work building educational and networking opportunities to make 2020 even better! Registration opens August 11 (8/11) so mark it on your calendar to visit CGAconference.com on that date to get the best price available for the year!
Infrastructure Resources is proud to own and produce the CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo in partnership with Common Ground Alliance and extends a sincere “thank you” to everyone who attended, exhibited, sponsored, spoke and participated at this year’s event. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces within the industry and new damage prevention advocates gather together to create change. Thank you for the difference you continue to make within the industry.
“Powerful advocates for damage prevention as speakers.” – David Raymond, Atmos Energy
We’d like to thank our media partners and endorsing organizations for supporting the CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo this year. Working with new organizations in the gas & oil, communications, and power markets helps us expand our footprint and work toward a goal of zero damages.