Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

Society of American Military Engineers draws crowd to UTA-based conference

Determining how smart cities can impact current and future infrastructure was a theme of the 18th annual Society of American Military Engineers Conference held recently at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Nearly 400 people attended the SAME Conference, a partnership with several of the region’s largest public works entities and UTA. The conference’s focus was, “Rejuvenating our Infrastructure: Making Smart Cities of the Future.”

Peter Crouch

Peter Crouch, UTA dean of the College of Engineering, welcomed participants in the 18th annual Society of American Military Engineers Conference held recently at The University of Texas at Arlington.

The event was an opportunity to learn from leaders and top managers from many of the top public sector agencies of North Central Texas. The crowd included representatives from Dallas Area Rapid Transit, North Texas Tollway Authority, Texas Department of Transportation offices in Fort Worth and Dallas, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fort Worth Division, Dallas County Public Works, North Central Texas Council of Governments, city of Dallas, Denton County Transit Authority and North Texas Municipal Water District.

Presenters included representatives from all of those agencies. Audience members included officials from both private and public sectors.

Peter Crouch, UTA College of Engineering dean, welcomed the crowd.

“The College of Engineering has a number of exciting projects currently underway. Those will only grow in the future,” Crouch said.

Maher Maso, former Frisco mayor and current CEO of the Prosper Economic Development Corp., delivered a keynote lunch address about innovative technology and partnerships.

Maso, who earned his MBA at UTA while serving as a Frisco council member, spoke about local government and new opportunities in Frisco, Prosper and North Texas. Those opportunities include urban development projects that blend sophisticated transportation/signalization programs with dynamic public/private sector partnerships.  

Nick Fang, UTA assistant professor of civil engineering, led a Smart City Discussion. Fang said his sensor technology aided the Houston Medical District during Hurricane Harvey and its flooding aftermath.

This is important because other municipalities may learn from Harvey experiences, which saved lives and property.

“We were able to keep that medical district operational through great technology during that horrible natural disaster,” Fang said. “Those sensors saved lives.”

Buzz Pishkur, city of Arlington’s director of water utilities, offered conference participants a glimpse of the city’s partnership with UTA to use a robot to assess the city’s pipelines.

Pishkur has said that the pipeline robot has allowed Arlington to make informed decisions about infrastructure prioritization, maintenance and replacement.

The Arlington/UTA collaboration with the pipeline robot has been used in Ennis. Other North Texas cities could follow suit.

Dean Crouch said he believes UTA can strike a long-lasting relationship with future SAME conferences.

“Let’s work toward a deeper partnership between UTA and future SAME Infrastructure Forum activities,” Crouch said. “This conference and future events will almost certainly grow UTA’s involvement with projects in the public sector including the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers as ably represented by SAME ”


Jack Tidwell, contributing writer