By Dana Brantley, Staff Writer
Final plans are being put in place for the 2013 Texas811 Damage Prevention Summit set for February 19-21 at the historic downtown Hilton in Fort Worth, and in keeping with the old saying that “everything is bigger in Texas,” organizers are planning a Texas-sized event jam-packed with information and educational opportunities for all those in attendance.
If you are interested in keeping Texas a safer place to live and work, then this Summit is for you. Last year, over 500 stakeholders ranging from gas and pipeline representatives to railroad commission representatives and municipalities took advantage of all the things the Summit had to offer. This year should be no different.
“We are expecting a lot of people,” said Lee Marrs, President of Texas811. “We expect at least as many people as we have had the past couple of years. There is a lot of excitement.”
There will be more than 40 exhibits dealing with all aspects of the damage prevention industry and focused on keeping Texas a safer place to live and work. One of the exhibitors that has Lee excited is EGW Utilities, Inc., who is bringing what he terms “revolutionary” technology to the Summit in the form of an acoustic pipe locator. Acoustic pipe locators actually use technology similar to an ultrasound to find facilities underground, Lee said.
“It is something that you will want to see,” he said.
The Texas811 Damage Prevention Summit, now in its fourth year, is being held for the first time in Fort Worth. The inaugural year’s event was held in Mesquite and the previous two years’ events were held in San Marcos. Summit planners were looking for a change and chose Fort Worth because it is an exciting city with a lot to do downtown, near Dallas, and also because it was accessible to I-35 and I-30, Lee said.
Lee believes it is important for everyone in the industry to make plans to be at the Summit.
“A reason to attend the Summit is because of the obvious education opportunities, but the main opportunity to me is the ability to get information not only from Texas but from all over the United States as well,” he said. “We have had people from numerous states at each of our summits and I think it is really valuable for folks from somewhere in Texas to hear that the people from another region of Texas or even another region of the country are facing the same challenges.”
Those who have never taken the opportunity to be a part of a Summit are truly missing an educational experience, Lee said, and if you think you have experienced all the Summit has to offer during the previous three events, think again.
“I’ve been in this business since the early 1980s and I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a meeting that has had so much of a value to me as each of these Summits,” Lee said. “There is always something different offered at each one.”
For example, this year the Texas Railroad Commission has some proposed new regulations that attendees will have an opportunity to hear about and offer feedback, he said.
The event will begin with workshops on Tuesday. The first is the Competent Person Training. Participants are introduced to practical soil types analysis and testing. Methods are demonstrated allowing students to use instruments such as pocket penetrometers and hand operated shear vanes. Various types of protective systems (hydraulics, shielding, sloping and benching) are covered.
The second workshop on Tuesday is the Utility Locator Training instructed by Bob Nighswonger. This two-fold training workshop begins with a live classroom training session with comprehensive animated slide presentations, lively discussions and a supporting workbook loaded with reference materials and classroom activities. The classroom session is followed by a hands-on instruction performed outdoors where a variety of conventional and not so conventional equipment is placed in the hands of the workshop participants in an effort to build “equipment friendly” users of line detection equipment.
In addition to the Texas811 reception and the opening session with Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Olympian Cliff Meidl will be the event’s keynote speaker. Cliff overcame injuries caused in a construction accident at the age of 20 to become a two-time Olympian in the sport of kayaking.
For additional information or to register to attend the Summit and/or the workshops, visit www.texas.damagepreventionsummit.com.
With all the opportunities to learn, network and gather information, this year’s Texas811 Damage Prevention Summit is one you don’t want to miss.