23rd Annual Microtunneling Short Course Attracts Record Numbers

Feb 25, 2016

The 23rd annual Microtunneling Short Course attracted a record number of attendees and sponsors to Boulder, Colorado, Feb. 9-11. The course hosted 140 attendees from nine countries to state-of-the-art facilities at the University of Colorado. The course was held at the university’s Touchdown Club at Folsom Field, overlooking the Buffaloes’ football stadium with the Rocky Mountains in the background.

While the venue was new, the course highlights – notably presentations by internationally recognized experts and networking opportunities – remained the same. Presentations covered all aspects of microtunneling from planning and design to construction.  Specific topics focused on geotechnical investigation, ground improvement, shaft construction, developing RFQs, risk assessment, pipe selection, litigation issues, guidance systems, bidding, and microtunneling systems and ancillary equipment.

“When we started the Microtunneling Short Course in 1994, we wanted to share information to and help people avoid mistakes as we were all learning the technology,” said Tim Coss, course director. “The microtunneling community is such a tight-knit group of contractors that the annual course has evolved into more of a family get-together to exchange ideas and best practices while sharing experiences, the only constant we still know today is to always expect the unexpected and plan accordingly.”

One of the hallmarks of the Microtunneling Short Course is the opportunity for networking with microtunneling professionals representing all aspects of the industry. Among the highlights were a networking reception, sponsored by Akkerman Inc., and the annual banquet dinner, sponsored by Vadnais Trenchless Services, Rasa and Tunnel Service Group, both held at the Boulder Marriott.

The annual banquet includes the presentation of the Microtunneling Achievement Award for Microtunneling Excellence, whose 2016 recipients were Grahame Turnbull (consultant/JR Cruz), Troy Stokes (Akkerman), Julian O’Connell (Herrenknecht) and Dan Schitea (Vadnais Trenchless).

Concurrent with the course, the North American Microtunneling Association (NAMA) held its annual meeting. The main point of emphasis was addressing the lack of meaningful concrete jacking pipe standards in the United States. A committee headed by Ray Post, Huxted Tunneling, with the assistance of Dustin Ong, Civiltech Engineering, Dan Schitea, Vadnais Trenchless, and David Ellett, BRH-Garver, was formed to address this problem, according to NAMA executive director Tim Coss.

Once again, the Microtunneling Short Course was held in conjunction with the one-day Pilot Tube Seminar, which was held Feb. 8, also on the campus of the University of Colorado. Akkerman hosted a static display of its guided boring machine (GBM) system giving attendees a hands-on opportunity to see the newest Akkerman offerings.

The Microtunneling Short Course is presented by course directors Tim Coss, Microtunneling Inc., and Levent Ozdemir, Ozdemir Engineering, in conjunction with Trenchless Technology magazine/Benjamin Media Inc. The same team will present the fourth annual Ground Improvement in Underground Construction and Mining Short Course (May 9-11, 2016, Boulder, Colorado) and the ninth annual Tunneling Short Course (Sept. 12-14, 2016, Boulder, Colorado).

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