Another Year, Another Successful Design-Build Conference & Expo

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Another Year, Another Successful Design-Build Conference & Expo

by Geoff Corey  |  October 16, 2014

DBIA had more than 1,500 members, owners, students and industry professionals join us in Dallas, Texas this year! The feedback has been overwhelming, with regular attendees lauding the event as one of the best ever, and new attendees registering early to come next year.

Sully with JimThe conference kicked off with a riveting presentation by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who took attendees through his personal journey and “Miracle on the Hudson” landing. DBIA’s board chairman, Jim Whitaker, was a passenger on the fateful flight, so he introduced Captain Sully in a touching moment as a tribute to the man who saved his life. At the end of Captain Sully’s presentation, he called Jim back up on stage to take questions together from the audience. We always strive to have some highly recognizable speakers, but Captain Sully Sullenberger was certainly one of the most memorable yet.

Throughout the conference we opened our expo hall, which featured more than 150 companies offering the latest technology, advice for those new to design-build and job opportunities for students and experienced professionals alike. The expo hall was just one of the many networking opportunities at the conference. Additionally, the Night at the Museum Opening Party at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science provided a fun and unique venue for attendees to meet before the conference started in full swing, and a members-only luncheon brought DBIA’s various members together to discover new opportunities.

Best Practices panelThe following days included a compelling panel discussion on design-build best practices specific to the transportation, federal and water sectors. Earlier this year, DBIA released a list of ten universally applicable best practices for design-build projects, and the next phase is a deeper dive to address the unique needs of each of these sectors. Lisa Choplin, from the Maryland State Highway Authority, highlighted how unique aspects of the transportation sector, such as environmental permitting and right-of-way acquisitions, require new best practices not covered in a document meant for universal applicability. Rich Formella, from the Department of Homeland Security, and Juan-Carlos Arteaga from Miami-Dade Water & Sewer raised similar points for the federal and water sectors, respectively.

There were additional timely presentations and sessions on specifics in P3 projects, case studies of successful design-build projects large and small, using new technology effectively and research findings on efficiency and innovation. Some of our most popular speakers and teachers presented including Michael Loulakis, Esq., DBIA; Greg Gidez, AIA, DBIA; and Barbara Jackson, PhD, DBIA.

Awards Dinner 2014 stageDBIA’s Awards Dinner honored the projects and people who embody Design-Build Done Right, including Craig H. Unger, DBIA as this year’s Brunelleschi Lifetime Achievement Award winner. The prestigious Project of the Year Award went to Denver Union Station Transit Improvements Project, and specific Excellence Awards went to the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, The Governor George Deukmijian Courthouse, Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility and the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building.

The conference ended just as strong as it began with five concurrent education sessions focused on critical topics on design-build, the announcement of Milwaukee School of Engineering winning our National Design-Build Student Competition and the Closing General Session featuring generational expert, Hannah Ubl, talking about best practices for how all different generations in the workforce can overcome cultural and technological differences to work together.

As with all of our conferences, you can purchase access to the sessions online, and all full conference registrants will have free access to the recorded sessions in Dallas, and can pay $15 per session for additional continuing education credits.

We hope to see you next year when we head to the Mile High City for the 2015 Design-Build Conference & Expo next November 2-4, 2015 at the Colorado Convention Center.