A conference trifecta for engineers

When it comes to horse racing, choosing the first, second, and third place winners in order isn’t easy to do. But lucky for engineers, this fall’s trifecta of conferences isn’t nearly as risky. The first, the International Highway Engineering Exchange Program (IHEEP), takes place Sept. 26–30, 2010, in Dearborn, Mich. The second, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC), will be held Oct. 2–6, 2010, in New Orleans. And the third, the Design-Build Conference & Expo, will take place Oct. 18–20, 2010, in Las Vegas.

The 52nd annual IHEEP conference, held at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, incorporates the exchange of computer and technology information between highway engineering professionals and various organizations around the world. This conference is a hub for transportation agencies, consultants, contractors, and engineering software/hardware vendors to collaborate by sharing their victories and downfalls along with their views on how to spend tax dollars wisely. And with a theme like, “Driving Innovation,” attendees can expect lots of relevant material to help in their businesses.

The conference kicks off on Sunday with a round of golf at the Fox Hills Golf Course — the first of many social events during the conference. Attendees will also have the opportunity to take a dinner cruise aboard the Detroit Princess, tour Greenfield Village, tour the Henry Ford Museum, and take a technical tour of the Ford River Rouge Factory or the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) Military Facility. IHEEP also offers a guest program, enabling guests of attendees to take tours of Meadow Brooks Hall and Gardens at the Oakland University campus, the Detroit Science Center and Institute of Arts, and the Franklin Cider Mill, while the IHEEP attendee is at general sessions and breakouts.

The first educational program of the day, the State Department of Transportation (DOT) Roundtable, begins at 2:30 p.m. and focuses on Information Technology (IT). The second State DOT Roundtable, starting at 4:00 p.m., has an engineering data focus.

The next morning, Daniel J. Belcher, P.E., P.S., 2010 IHEEP president, and Kirk T. Steudle, P.E., director of the Michigan DOT, will welcome attendees and give an introductory speech to the conference. The featured presentation of the day comes from Stuart Wang, Ph.D, professor of surgery at the University of Michigan, and the second presentation — or keynote — comes from Joie Chitwood III, vice president of business operations at the International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Chitwood leads strategy development and business execution across the company’s 13 motorsports facilities and Americrown Service Corp., ISC’s catering, concessions, and merchandising subsidiary, according to www.mi.gov

At 1:30 p.m., the breakout sessions begin. Attendees can choose between the Educator & Student Participation Program or the Application Development Cost Saving session. After these sessions, they can attend the Field Manager session or HEEP Board of Directors Meeting.

The last three days of the conference feature more breakout sessions such as “3D Bridge Reconstruct Monitoring,” from Jeff Bartlett, P.S., Surveying Solutions, Inc., and Richard R. Suave II, Leica Geosystems, Inc.; “Workzone Mobility and Safety,” from Julie Johnston, Michigan DOT; “Road CE through Value Survey,” from Treavor McMann, Gourdi-Fraser, Inc., and Matt Mitchell, Leica Geosystems, Inc.; “MicroStation V8i-1 Geographic Tools,” from Rod Wing, Envision; “Rebar Placement in Concrete Structures,” from Ed Eargle, South Carolina DOT; “Model Centric Quality Assurance,” from Danny Kahler, P.E., Kahler Engineering Group; “Bridging the Gap between Collaboration and Control,” from Don Jacob, Bluebeam Software; and “OPX2 Project Management System,” from Mike Dyrdahl, Montana DOT.

Attendees can register online by visiting www.mi.gov/heep, then clicking on “Registration” in the left menu bar. A one-day pass for guests or retirees is $125; a one-day delegate or associate member registration is $250; and guest and retiree registrations are $250. Additional options and pricing are available online.

After being named the 74th largest trade show in the nation for 2009 by Tradeshow Week magazine and attracting more than 17,000 attendees, WEFTEC will return this October, but in a new location: the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. This year’s event will feature more than 100 technical sessions, 35 workshops, six tours, and offer as many as 17.5 Professional Development Hours (PDHs), or 1.2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), according to www.weftec.org Attendees can earn CEUs by participating in workshops; they can earn PDHs by participating in technical sessions; and they can earn contact hours (one clock hour spent engaged in an activity that can contribute to the professional skills of the attendee) by participating in facility tours and spending time in the exhibit hall.

Steven Solomon, author of “Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization,” will set the stage for the conference in his opening general session Monday morning. Solomon’s book gives insight into water and how it has shaped the world we live in. Acknowledging that freshwater is becoming increasingly scarce, his presentation will focus on the role of water in modern societies and the global crisis the population could face if it doesn’t adopt more sustainable approaches to water management. This session will also include Water Environment Federation (WEF) President Paul Freedman, recognition of the WEF awards, and the 2010 Stockholm Junior Water Prize winners.

Last year, more than 17,000 people attended WEFTEC.

Throughout the conference, attendees can take several tours, including the Collection Systems Tour: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina, presented by St. Bernard Parish; Rebuilding New Orleans: Global Green USA’s Holy Cross Project; The City of Mandeville Public Works Department; and Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans’ Drainage Pumping Station #6.

Back at the convention center, attendees can choose from dozens of technical sessions and workshops. The technical sessions hone in on topics including collection systems; membrane technologies; plant operations, treatment, and management; regulations and research; residuals and biosolids; water recycling; and more. The workshops, offered on Oct. 2 and 3 for an additional fee, will include — “Wastewater Disinfection: Efficiency and Effectiveness”; “Combining the Power of Whole-Plant Simulators and CFD for the Dynamic Modeling of WWTP”; “Integrated Water Resource Management on the Gulf Coast: A Workshop/Tour of Stormwater, Wastewater, and Watershed Management Installations in the Gulf Coast Region”; “Wet Weather Treatment Options and Regulatory Strategies”; “Cost-Effective Wastewater Reuse Systems that Minimize Energy Consumption and Maximize Emerging Contaminants Removal”; “Activated Sludge and BNR Process Control: Hands On in the Real World”; “Biofilms: The Emerging Issue for Re-use Waters”; and “Process Design of Industrial and Municipal Wastewater Treatment Systems: Design Approaches and State-of-the-Art Modeling Tools.”

WEFTEC will feature a product showcase, and on Oct. 4 and 5, it will hold the Operations Challenge 2010 competition, where some of the best wastewater collection and treatment professionals will showcase their skills. Participants compete in five events — collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance, and safety — each designed to test the skills required to operate and maintain wastewater treatment facilities, collection systems, and laboratories. Participants are judged by as many as 20 water quality experts, who will determine the winners using a weighted point system for each event.

The conference also devotes special meetings and projects to students and young professionals. On Oct. 2, the Students & Young Professionals Committee is hosting a community service project where participants will construct a bioswale in the Bayou — a neighborhood that was hit the hardest by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Students and young professionals can enter themselves in a couple of competitions. The first is the annual WEFTEC Student Design Competition, featuring the best Student Chapter Design Teams. Each participating design team will receive a recognition plaque, and each team member will receive a certificate. The first and second place winners from the Wastewater Design and Environmental Design competitions will receive award money, thanks to conference sponsorships. The second competition is the WEF Student Paper competition, held Oct. 4.

Because the conference is so large, WEFTEC created “My WEFTEC Planner,” an online tool designed to help attendees schedule the sessions, workshops, tours, et cetera, they’d like to attend throughout the week. The planner allows attendees to search the show by topic, exhibitor, day, or enter a keyword search. Once they’ve selected the events they’d like to attend, they can save their schedule as a Word document or CSV file, and print it out to bring to the show. Or, they can create a free account, and save their schedule online to be edited at any future time. To personalize your own schedule, visit http://weftec2010.expoplanner.com.

Online registration is available through the end of the conference. Registration fees for the full conference & expo are: $10 for student, non-members; $925 for non-members; and $725 for WEF members. Student-members get in free. Visit www.weftec.org and click on “Registration” for additional rates and options.

Design-Build Conference & Expo
First there was the master builder approach. Then, there was design-bid-build. Now, there is the design-build system, which aims to reduce risk, time, and cost by overlapping the design and construction phases of a project — hence the reason for creating the Design-Build Conference & Expo. This year’s conference, hosted by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), takes place at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Oct. 18–20, and calls on design-build teams and their project decision makers. Specifically, attendees include senior-level design-builders; architects; engineers; general and specialty contractors; program and construction managers; finance, risk, surety, and bonding experts; private sector owners; federal sector, state, county, and municipal government public works officials; agency and public sector owners, operators, administrators, purchasing departments, planners, capital improvement, acquisition, and contracts experts; DOTs; military and Veterans Administration construction and design managers; and more.

Before the conference officially begins, DBIA will be hosting two education courses — “Principles of Design-Build Project Delivery” and “Design-Build Contracts & Risk Management” — for an additional cost. Plus, attendees can join the annual DBIA golf tournament for an additional cost.

The first day of the conference kicks off with either a continuation of the “Principles of Design-Build Project Delivery” course, or attendees can visit a student mixer/career expo featuring faculty members from Auburn University. The Owners’ and Practitioners’ Forums are also held on the first day of the conference. These forums enable peers to discuss their challenges, successes, and opportunities in an open, honest environment. The opening keynote for the day comes from best-selling author and business solutions expert Tim Sanders. Sanders’ first book was called “Love is the Killer App: How to Win Businesses and Influence Friends,” and stressed the importance of knowledge sharing, networking, and compassion. Sanders also worked at Yahoo! as the chief solutions officer before becoming its leadership coach.

After the keynote presentation, the concurrent sessions begin. Each day features sessions in the following four categories: Design-Build Methods & Best Practices; The Owner Perspective; Integration Techniques; and Research and Innovation. The first day’s sessions include “Taking Design-Build to the Next Level” in the Design-Build Methods & Best Practices category; “Moving from Collaboration to Integration — Lessons Learned in Contrasting Two Similar Design-Build Projects” in The Owner Perspective category; “Successful Design-Build Subcontractor Partnering” in the Integration Techniques category; and “Project Delivery Method Impact on Sustainable High-Performance Buildings” in the Research and Innovation category.

The following two days of the conference feature sessions, such as “The Benefits of Integrated Delivery Techniques: IPD and Design-Build Compared,” “Design-Build Takes Off: High-Performing Teams on the Largest Design-Build Airport Project,” “Responding to the RFP/RFQ: You Gotta be All In,” “Design-Build by the Bundle: Three Strategies that Add Value to a Design-Build Project for Public Owners,” and “How to Effectively Develop Project Execution Plans for Building Information Modeling.”

Registration rates for the conference are $950–$1,050 for DBIA members; $1,150–$1,250 for non-members; $150–$250 for students; and $300–$400 for academia. To register and view other registration rates and packages, visit www.dbia.org

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