RETC forum on risk and uncertainty 30 May 2013
Workshop News Release
In sustaining its tradition of concentrating more on the construction side of the tunneling industry, the RETC - Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference, organized by the SME and to be held in June this year in Washington DC, is to host a workshop dedicated to the risk and uncertainty associated inherently with the tunneling construction industry and the hard decisions often required to resolve situations of impasse or stalemate.
The workshop is open to anyone interested in attending the session that will be held on Sunday 23 June from 9am to 2pm at the Marriott Wardman Park, conference venue hotel.
Convened by a recognized and well experienced professional of the US tunneling industry, Russell Clough, the event is sure to be comprehensive and well focused. Clough is a third generation underground worker who began his career as a miner in 1961 and progressed to work for various contractors, engineering companies, and spent ten years as a tunnel contractor. He is a registered civil, geotechnical, and safety engineer.
For the last 20 years Clough has been a professor at Stanford University in Northern California while during the same period serving on more than 60 dispute review boards. Through his experience as a professor, he has coordinated many industry discussion panels covering various issues and changes in our industry.
The purpose of the workshop is to examine how to better understand risk, uncertainties, and human behavior," explained Clough. "The focal question is, why do people have such different views of our 'logical' and 'rational' decisions and how do we improve critical thinking skills given random or high-risk uncertainties? By using models, case studies, and class exercises developed at Stanford, we will examine the process of how to recognize the biases, opinions, and beliefs that keep us from making the best choices."
The course is arranged to spend the first two hours on background as developed from classes and research, with the remainder of the time devoted to facilitated panel discussions. Panelists convened to discuss the topic are drawn from all sectors of the industry and representing all parties including the contractor, the engineer, the consultant, and the owner. Discussions, under moderator Clough, will cover specific experiences and examples of real situations as lived by representatives on real projects. The audience of attendees will be invited to participate and contribute their own experiences to the discussions.
At least twelve panelists with backgrounds in the fields of construction, engineering, consulting, and client procurement will be among representatives from several projects including:
• The San Francisco Hetch Hetchy potable water supply system upgrades
• The King County sewer tunnel work
• The mega-diameter bored tunnel replacement of the Alaska Way viaduct highway in Seattle
• The Seattle Sound Transit metro and LRT tunnels and underground stations
• Various subway projects from different parts of the Unites States
Download the attached registration pdf and for more details contact Instructor Russell Clough at
Registration for the workshop is separate to attending the full RETC conference. The discussion event is organized independently of the main sessions and registration can be for the workshop alone. Conversely registration for the workshop excludes registration for the conference.
For more details about the RETC 2013 program and to register on-line to attend the RETC conference, visit the RETC website.
North America DRBs-knowing and playing by the rules - TunnelTalk, August 2008

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