UI 2019 grew in attendance, educational sessions and exhibitors
Underwater Intervention 2019 took place from February 5-7, 2019, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Through the turmoil of the past several years within the industry, UI 2019 grew over last year’s show in every facet: growing paid attendance by 8%, number of educational sessions by 27% and sold exhibit space by 13.6% over the 2018 show, as attendees from across the industry joined ADCI for three days of networking, exhibiting and education.
Jakob Sixl, first time attendee in 2019 says, “The tech talks are quite interesting. You can learn a lot here. And you also get to see different points of view from other companies in the industry. It’s a good place to meet other people and to network. For us, it’s also important because this is the only show that has kept manned submersibles as a focus. So if you’re in that industry, you have to show up here or you’re missing out.”
This is the third year that UI has been managed by Naylor Event Solutions and the show continues to evolve and improve under that management.
“Since Naylor Event Solutions came on board in 2016 and kicked off our 2017 show, they have been instrumental in having us reformat, rebrand and really refresh Underwater Intervention,” says ADCI Executive Director Phil Newsum. “It’s been very exciting. We’ve received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from it. And it’s given us a great launching point and we’re very optimistic about the future.” New this year, the show featured a two-day discussion of the 2025 Offshore Oilfield hosted by BP. Tuesday saw an Operator Panel discussing in which select operators shared and discussed their wants and needs to the service companies who, through collaborative, performance-driven relationships, will deliver the step change in technology. Speakers for the Tuesday panel included Mark Siegmund, who moderated the panel, Martin W. Dove, Bill Nisbet, Mike Brashear and Marcos Guedes Gomes Morais. On Wednesday, the discussion was a Service Company Panel, in response to the Operator Panel discussion from Tuesday. Select service companies shared their vision and thoughts on the requirements discussed during the operator panel discussion. Siegmund again moderated this panel, which included Jack Vincent, Todd Newell, Arnt Helge Reilstad, Giovanni Massari and Nicolaus Radford.
The UI Think Tank, which was conveniently located on the show floor, hosted a variety of sessions on industry challenges and best practices that span the industry. This year’s Think Tank featured presentations including: The Future of Subsea Intervention – From Human-In-The-Loop to AI-Enabled Autonomy, with speakers including Donna M Kocak, Mark Stevens, Sean Marikle, Nicolaus Radford, Michael Gratton, Steve Roemerman, and Andrew Nuss; Simulation and Simulator Tools for Subsea & Diving Industry by Felix Gorbatsevich, Ph.D; A Decommissioning Panel Discussion, moderated by Chuck Webb, VP of Corporate Development at Epic Companies; and Portable Accommodation Module (PAM) Guidance Engineering Policy by Dan Lawerence of the United States Coast Guard.
The Blueprint Lab returned in 2019 to host the Underwater Technology Showcase. This popular new addition featured groundbreaking feats of underwater innovation and technology. The Blueprint Lab demoed and discussed the latest and greatest technology that will push the boundaries of underwater research and intervention.
While the UI Think Tank, Suppliers Solutions and Technology Showcase all took place on the UI Exhibit Floor, 90 exhibitors were showcasing their products and educating customers on the breakthroughs made in the underwater industry in 2018 and early 2019.
“The takeaways I bring from UI are about the new technology and devices you see on the floor, walking through the exhibits,” says Struble. “You see who is still in business and others who just started in business or just started exhibiting. Tools that you might be able to adapt a little bit for what you’re doing.”
UI has always been about more than education and technology, however. With so many industry veterans and segments represented, the networking opportunities at UI are unparalleled.
“If you are a part of the underwater world, this is the experience of a lifetime,” says Heidi Tardo. “You get to broaden your horizons. You get to see all of this and all of that. You get to see people and hear people. You get the opportunity to sit in technical sessions and speak with people you haven’t seen in years. You have opportunities to see the latest and greatest they have out there.”
One of the prime networking opportunities of the conference came at the Early Bird Reception Dinner, which was sponsored by Broco Rankin. The event took place on Monday, February 4, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom Lobby at the Convention Center. Gary Jones, ADCI Board Member and Sales Manager at Broco Rankin spoke at the event, which was highlighted by drinks, light food and live music. Other networking opportunities included the daily UI Happy Hour on the floor of the Exhibit Hall.
Another special event took place on Tuesday, February 6, as the Underwater Intervention Annual Awards Dinner was hosted in the Garden Ballroom at the Convention Center Hilton Garden Inn. This annual tradition brought the industry together to celebrate both the future of the industry as well as its storied past, as both the MTS ROV Committee and the ADCI recognized scholarship winners and award recipients for 2018 as well as the induction of the new class of the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame.
Dr. Richard Spinrad, President of the Marine Technology Society and former NOAA Chief Scientist, gave the evening’s keynote presentation, discussing the Push and Pull of Marine Technology.
After Dr. Spinrad’s keynote address, Chuck Richards, Chairman of the MTS ROV Committee, recognized the association’s award winners for 2018, including the MTS-ROV Committee 2019 Distinguished Achievement Award to Rusty Jehangir of Blue Robotics, the MTS-ROV 2019 Public Awareness Award to Schmidt Ocean Institute and the MTS-ROV Academic Excellence Award to Dr. Ahmed El-Shenawy.
If you are a part of the underwater world, this is the experience of a lifetime,” says Heidi Tardo. “You get to broaden your horizons. You get to see all of this and all of that. You get to see people and hear people. You get the opportunity to sit in technical sessions and speak with people you haven’t seen in years. You have opportunities to see the latest and greatest they have out there.
ADCI Executive Director Phil Newsum then took the stage to recognize this year’s ADCI Scholarship Winners Abigail K. Hover, sponsored by Morgan City Rentals, and Celine Anna Maharaj, sponsored by Flange Skillets Intnernational, LLC. He then proceeded to introduce the 2019 Class of the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame: Dirk Rutkowski and Jean-Claude Le Pechon
The final and arguably most important aspect of Underwater Intervention 2019 was the technical tracks. Over the course of the three days, UI19 hosted over 100 educational sessions on topics that included: AUV & ASVs, Marine Education, Manned Submersibles, Commercial Diving, Instruments & Sensors/Ocean Research & Marine Archaeology and ROVs.
“Most people that have long careers in the industry, one of the reasons they are able to do that is because of events like this,” says Mark Wieneke. “The networking, the experience in the safety symposiums, going to the booths and finding out new innovations. I’m management in the industry and I learn things at the trade show. If you’re a young diver starting out, walk the booths; find out what is out there. Get to know the people. The hosts at the booths are very informative. They’re here to teach you about their products.”
Once again, Underwater Intervention was a massive success, as the event continues to raise the bar for the underwater industry. Make plans to join us for Underwater Intervention 2020, in New Orleans, from January 28-30, 2020. For updates and information, make sure to visit underwaterintervention.com throughout the year.