Editor's Log

Editor’s Log: And the smiles never stopped

In late March, UI wrapped another successful Underground Infrastructure Conference. Per usual, a wealth of information and market intelligence was gathered from remarkable speakers and experts in a variety of fields including sewer installation and rehabilitation, fiber optics, power, horizontal directional drilling, and safety.

UIC: Back to our roots

The 31st annual Underground Infrastructure Conference will travel back to our hometown of Houston. As the nation’s fourth-largest city, Houston has held many highly successful UICs, and will again be the nexus of all things underground March 4-6, 2025.

Editor’s Log: Industry honors and celebrations

It’s officially awards season for the underground infrastructure industry with some amazing people, projects and technology being cited for market contributions.

In Search of Human Contact

What has happened to the human condition? As AI assumes a larger role in our society, Editor-in-Chief Robert Carpenter sees human interaction continuing to become detached and remote. On the bright side, in the underground infrastructure industry, people still have to ultimately – and then actively – work together.

Editor’s Log: And then reality sunk in

In the underground infrastructure realm, plastic piping, conduit and related products are essential to solving market needs. Plastic piping systems are sustainable and environmentally responsible because they are energy-efficient during manufacturing and provide protection from contamination during service.

Cool changes: Underground Infrastructure converts to total digital platform

Effective with our December 2023 issue, the Underground Infrastructure print magazine will take the final step in its digital evolution and convert to a unique all-digital format.

Editor’s Log: Who’s behind those pearls of wisdom (or that poison pen)?

(UI) — In the modern world, there is a mad rush to expand and embrace all things digital. I would venture to say no industry has been impacted as directly as has media. Gone are the days of print newspapers and magazines dominating media. And while print isn’t gone, it has largely been relegated to second-class status in lieu of smart phones, tablets, laptops, et. al.

Editor's log: Liberty in retreat

(UI) — The modern environmental movement is so concerned with forcing its ideology upon the world that exploring and legislating such nonsensical paths are forcing us to toss aside common sense.

Editor’s Log: Priceless - Safety and damage prevention

(UI) — After attending and helping produce countless trade shows, workshops and related educational functions over the decades, I’ve learned that many of the best sessions were not the most popular sessions – not by a long shot. It’s not always what you want to hear, but what you need to know that has the most impact on your business or job.

Rehab comes of age

From largely technological dreams to proven reality, the diversity of rehabilitation applications has spread like wildfire over the past 50 years.

Editor’s Log: A fiber road paved by HDD

(UI) — By the late ‘90s, fiber backbone construction was marching across the land like Sherman to Atlanta. It was the early version of cryptocurrency – every investor was going to become a multi-millionaire overnight. The market for directional drills hit unprecedented – and unrealistic – highs. HDD was the perfect technology to aid the expansion of fiber installation, along with trenching and plowing. It was the telecom version of the early 1980s oil boom.

Editor's log: Ever gotten sick from smelling wet paint?

(UI) — Sewer rehabilitation is critical to the American infrastructure. Leading the way has been long-established cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology that essentially paved the road for a variety of modern rehab methods. But in recent years, the process, which has historically used styrene as the curing agent in liners, has come under direct assault for alleged health risks.

Editor's Log: The Electric Buzz

(UI) — The tri-annual ConExpo/Con-Agg Show broke all its previous records, including attendance, with over 139,000 people registered. Overwhelming size aside, a tremendous amount of pent-up energy was expended at ConExpo.

Editor’s Log: Eyes Forward

(UI) — Recently, Underground Infrastructure magazine published its 26th Annual Municipal Sewer/Water Infrastructure Forecast & Market Analysis. Hard to believe I’m still authoring this research after all these years. Nonetheless, I still find the data both predictable and surprising at the same time.

Editor’s Log: Stampede

(UI) — The President Biden Administration’s narrative has been to mercilessly shun, blame and attack “big-oil” companies, gas companies and any pipeline ever built as the root of environmental evil. The President has used his bully pulpit to supplement his unending rules and regulations against oil and gas, as the way to achieve the “carbon-free” goal of his zealous backers.

Editor’s Log: More of The Same

(UI) — In this issue of the new Underground Infrastructure magazine, we’ve connected with some of the best experts, prognosticators and writers in the markets we serve to obtain a reasonable grasp as to what 2023 will look like in financial, construction and rehabilitation terms. Indeed, there is so much material, we’ll continue the insight and analysis in our February issue.

Editor’s Log: Transitions

(UI) — In 2023, Underground Construction will morph into Underground Infrastructure. The title Underground Construction has served our magazine well for the past 25 years when, in January 1997, the publication moved away from traditional oil and gas pipeline construction-centric coverage to a broad-based utility and pipeline focus.

Editor’s Log: Blame Game

(UC) — California Governor Gavin Newsom just can’t say enough dreadful things about the oil and gas industry. That mindset is apparently ingrained in his DNA and despite the facts, Newsom seems to live in his own mythical version of reality.

Editor’s Log: Is Anybody Out There?

(UC) — Where have all the workers gone? That’s a legitimate, important and critical question when it comes to the economic health of our country and, indeed, the world.

Editor’s Log: Trendsetters or Irresponsible Dreamers?

(UC) — Leave it to the state of California. Always the trendsetters, for better or for worse. It used to be clothes, hair styles and fashion choices that started first in California then spread throughout the land. Hollywood counter-culture movies became stalwarts of the cinema as well.

Editor’s Log: Launch of the Big Event

(UC) — There’s a good chance by now that most of our readers have seen announcements for the evolution of the next big event for underground industry awards – a very special occasion that will reward accomplishments and people of the underground infrastructure industry in a unique, personal and deserving fashion.

Good math, bad math

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-chief First the good math  The over two-year COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc through the lives of virtually everyone in the world. That also held true for the business world and certainly the underground infrastructure indust..

Editor's Log

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief By the time this article is published, who knows what will have happened with the Russian war on Ukraine. Our prayers are for a peaceful and positive resolution for Ukraine and the Western World, and an end to the criminal actions of the despot Vladimir Putin.  ..

Editor's Log: A Little Faith

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-chief As is typical of me these days, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. Always one more thing to do, one more mountain to climb. So, it should come as no surprise that I’m actually writing this column in Fort Worth as our staff gears up for the Undergro..

Editor's Log: Hope and Concerns

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief As we enter a new year, it brings a mixed bag of hope and concerns for the underground infrastructure markets.   This issue of Underground Construction includes two excellent analyses by ..

Infrastructure Money and Reality

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief The Great Infrastructure Money Grab is on and at long last, underground construction markets are getting a reasonable share of the funding bonanza. Markets are anxious to secure their piece of the $550 billion of which $120 billion is designated for water, sewer..

Editor's Log: Be Careful What You Ask For

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief Whatever happened to common sense? If something is working, why toss it away like two-week-old lasagna?  Natural gas prices have more than tripled in 2021, climbing above $5.10 per BTU at..

Editor's Log: An Investment in Rural America

The pursuit of increased infrastructure spending received new hope recently when the political impasse in the U.S. House of Representatives was temporarily bypassed. A working compromise within the Democratic Party allowed a vote on the divisive and partisan $3.5-billion reconciliation spending bill..

Movie Titles, Politics & Hope

As the year ends, the country is still going through many transitions with politics, journalism approaches and the lingering COVID-19.

Justifying Evils of EVs

Electric vehicles present an intriguing transportation future. But it all has to be balanced with practicality, reality of purpose and cultural empathy, and it can’t be rushed until a lot of issues resolved.

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