As the first convention leading into a new decade, the Ontario Road Builders’ Association’s (ORBA) 93rd annual convention and AGM will focus on Staying Ahead of the Curve.
Being held Feb. 2 to 4 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, over 800 delegates from the road building industry are expected to attend including ORBA members, municipal and provincial stakeholders, academia and researchers from across North America. For the first time this year, the conference is open to everyone.
“The issues that impact the road building industry affect a larger demographic, not just our members,” explained ORBA’s Chief Operating Officer Bryan Hocking, in an email to the Daily Commercial News. “Therefore, for the first time, we have opened up the convention to non-ORBA members. We are looking forward to welcoming a diverse group of delegates at this year’s convention.”
Highlights of the conference include a keynote address by Jim Harris, Canadian author, environmentalist and politician who will make a presentation entitled Time of Tremendous Transformation on Feb. 3. Former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, who is known for growing the city to one of the largest in Canada in her 36 years in office, will speak at the Presidents Inaugural Dinner on Feb. 4.
“It is paramount that as an industry we approach the future with our eyes wide open and are prepared with the expertise needed to meet the ever changing and growing transportation infrastructure needs of Ontario,” said James McVeety, 2020 ORBA Convention Committee chair and a member of the ORBA board of directors, in a statement.
“Over the past several months, our 2020 Convention Planning Committee, comprised of industry leaders, developed a program that will provide strategic insights for the road building industry and its stakeholders for 2020 and beyond. From the impact climate change is having on our infrastructure to addressing the skilled workers shortage in the industry, each session will provide first-hand knowledge from top industry experts and policy leaders.”
Some of the sessions planned for Feb. 3 include Economic Outlook; Construction in the Era of Smart Cities; and GTHA Transit Network Expansion with Phil Verster, president and CEO of Metrolinx and Ehren Cory, president and CEO, Infrastructure Ontario.
ORBA and Ontario Asphalt Pavement Council will hold it’s AGM in the afternoon. This will be followed by the Contractors’ Round Up networking event.
On Feb. 4, sessions include Hire Ahead of the Curve; MTO and regional updates; Climate Change — Adapting Infrastructure in Ontario’s North and Beyond; and Municipalities and Innovation. Some of the breakout sessions on this day include Rapid Bridge Rehabilitation and Replacement Innovation, Emerging Issues on Road Maintenance and Paving the Way to Success with Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement.
The luncheon will feature Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and the MTO Awards.
“In addition to municipal and provincial regional reports and forecasts, the convention program will feature several sessions show casing cutting-edge municipal projects,” said Hocking. “Sessions include one on the GTHA transit network expansion as well as panel discussions on construction in the era of smart cities and what innovations select municipalities are implementing to address things such as signal timing, traffic patterns along corridors, pavement preservation, asset management and the use of drone data.”
“As an industry, not only do we need to keep the pace with all of these changes, we need the knowledge and tools that will allow us to adapt and prepare for the future,” he added.
For more information on the convention visit orba.org.
Follow the author on Twitter @DCN_Angela.