April 2020 Vol. 75 No. 4

UCT 2020

UCT Welcomes a New Generation

The Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) saw a lot of firsts at the January 2020 event in Fort Worth, TX. These included the HDD Reunion, the introduction of the HDD Hall Of Fame and the Assessment Zone. Another notable first was the launch of Career Day, which took place on the final morning of the show. 

Like the underground utility infrastructure, individuals responsible for maintaining and constructing those systems are aging, creating voids in the vital pipeline of new skilled workers. With this in mind, UCT developed Career Day as a means of introducing the fascinating, yet frequently overlooked, world of underground utilities to students from Fort Worth area eighth graders to college students attending UCT.

The idea behind Career Day was to provide students the chance to discover the skills and training needed to land a job. Plus, it gave them a chance to see, and in some cases, use the technology, under the watchful eyes of the exhibitors.


When UCT staff first contacted the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD), the idea was embraced with enthusiasm. “Thank you for the opportunity,” said, Jennifer Cole, Career & Technical Education Department, Fort Worth Independent School District, “I’ve been able to confirm 25 students and three chaperones from Forest Oak Middle School. They’re looking forward to the field trip.”

Local organization Visit Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Convention Center were eager to participate, as well, by coordinating parking for the school buses. A local company even provided lunch for the students.

In addition to Forest Oak Middle School, college undergraduate and graduate students from Louisiana Tech University and the University of Texas at Arlington participated, bringing the total student participation to more than 70. The schools were divided into groups, led by industry volunteers who escorted the students to participating exhibitor booths. In all, nine companies spent time explaining what they do, how it fits into the overall industry and what the students need to consider should they wish to enter the underground infrastructure market.

UCT Convention Manager Karen Francis, who coordinated the Career Day program, said “UCT would like to thank everyone involved in the first UCT Career Day. Participating exhibitors were: Contech Engineered Solutions, Hydromax USA, LaValley Industries, Madewell Products, Raven/Versaflex, Sunbelt Rentals, Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association, Vermeer and all participants in the RehabZone.

“Also, the North Texas Chapter of the Underground Construction Technology Association organized the student tour guides including volunteers from the city of Dallas and Plummer.” •

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