IN MARCH, PHOENIX, ARIZONA became a melting pot of international damage prevention professionals 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. Attendees from Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, France, Puerto Rico, Japan, Austria and the United States identified how to prevent damages before they happen, learned to mitigate trench and excavation hazards and participated in a variety of educational topics led by water and sewer, gas and oil, public works, telecommunication, electric, construction, locating, engineering, One Call, regulatory and geospatial professionals. Industry experts led panel discussions digging into the current issues and concerns facing the damage prevention industry.
The GITA Phoenix Conference kicked off on Monday, providing geospatial professionals a place to collaborate and exchange new ideas and technological advancements in mapping, data collection and more. Many of the GITA conference attendees added value to their experience by staying to participate in the CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo.
A variety of well-attended Vendor Outreach Sessions took place Tuesday morning followed by educational sessions Tuesday afternoon. These sessions, offered by industry experts, included topics on cross bore mitigation, abandoned facilities, jobsite safety, risk assessment, technology and the future of damage prevention and much, much more.
The official opening of the Conference was commemorated with the first ceremonial ribbon cutting sponsored by One Call Concepts, after which attendees enjoyed a night of networking at the Tuesday evening Welcome Reception. As attendees walked the exhibit hall they had the opportunity to participate in a game of cricket, watch fiber splicing, demo the latest GPR and locate equipment, and participate in a virtual reality simulation among many other exhibitor offerings.
After CGA’s Annual Meeting and Breakfast on Wednesday, more educational opportunities were held, both on the exhibit floor and in classrooms after the floor closed for the day. Many educational sessions were standing room only, with more than 80 hours of diverse education available for different damage prevention stakeholders. Attendees had the chance to earn BICSI CECs, GISCI Course Points and PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT HOURS (PDHs) at this year’s Conference, a first in conference history. The USIC Damage Prevention Theater provided a platform for attendees to ask questions and seek answers for issues and concerns they face on a daily basis. Industry summit panel members provided their opinion and perspectives on different issues, allowing attendees to formulate their own solution and further the discussion. New technologies were demonstrated during the New Locate & Damage Prevention Technology Forum, where attendees asked questions and took a deeper look at the new technological advances that have been made.
The CGA Wednesday Evening Networking Event at Culinary Dropout was another great success, as attendees participated in backyard-style games including ping-pong, cornhole and shuffleboard while others participated in karaoke and enjoyed gastropub-style eats. The winner of PelicanCorp’s annual Australia Prize Giveaway, Daniel Fitzpatrick of Orange & Rockland Utilities, was announced on Wednesday evening and on Thursday morning, Bob Edwards of Citizens Energy Group won a trip to the Oceania Damage Prevention Conference in Queensland, Australia August 20-23, 2018.
On Thursday, the Arizona Damage Prevention Stakeholder Summit provided a local perspective on damage prevention through a panel of diverse stakeholders who explored the concerns Arizona stakeholders are facing with enforcement policies of Arizona’s two-foot rule, the pros and cons of white lining and Arizona’s process for determining whether an uncovered, unmarked line is active or abandoned.
As we end this record year, we’ve hit the ground running in preparation for the 2019 Conference in Tampa, Florida March 26-28. Infrastructure Resources is proud to own and produce the CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo and extends a sincere “thank you” to everyone who attended, exhibited, sponsored, spoke and participated at this year’s event. Visit CGAconference.com to view our thank you and recap videos.
It was great to connect with many familiar faces and meet new damage prevention advocates. Thank you all for the difference you have continued to make in the industry. As we witnessed this year, we are definitely heading in the right direction.