2011 Conference and Exhibition of the Transportaion Association of CanadaTAC/ATC - Transportation Successes: Let's Build on Them

2011 TAC Conference & Exhibition Recap



Actions speak louder than words. And so do numbers.

The 2011 TAC Conference & Exhibition, held at the world-class Shaw Conference Centre facility in Edmonton from September 11-14, welcomed over 1,150 delegates partaking in educational sessions, social activities and networking events. It is the most-attended association flagship event since the 2008 TAC conference held in Toronto which recorded more than 1,050 attendees.

The TAC record-breaking Exhibition, held in conjunction with the annual conference, showcased 80 transportation-related booths, including international participants from Australia, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.


An event of this calibre takes a tremendous amount of dedication, meticulous planning and most of all, teamwork. More than 145 local conference volunteers representing the City of Edmonton, Alberta Transportation, Consulting Engineers of Alberta, and the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, selflessly donated their time to a wonderful cause – the 2011 TAC Conference & Exhibition. Their commendable efforts did not go unnoticed.

National and local conference sponsorship opportunities coordinated by TAC and the 2011 Local Organizing Committee provided high levels of visibility for all sponsors at key conference and exhibition events. Their sought-after support and dynamic presence were greatly appreciated.

Greener practices driven by the results of TAC’s 2010 membership survey were adopted at the 2011 TAC Conference & Exhibition, including the first virtual conference flyer that was posted on the Association’s website. This conference piece replaced the traditional paper format that was used in previous years. All promotional materials emphasized online registration. As a result, more than 700 attendees out of 1,157 registered for the conference using the online registration system, compared to 200 in 2010. TAC also partnered with the Shaw Conference Centre, a recognized green facility, in eco-efficient event planning.

This year, Hall B of the Shaw Conference Centre opened its doors to 80 transportation-related booths during the 2011 TAC Exhibition. This record-breaking attendance was the perfect opportunity to catch up on some networking, make new friends and renew old business acquaintances.

Some noteworthy changes to the format of this event included increased Exhibition time compared to previous years, as indicated in post-conference surveys. A complimentary breakfast with TAC exhibitors was introduced to give delegates the opportunity to meet booth representatives, which included many international participants. The 2011 W.H. Yeates Award for Best Exhibit was presented to McElhanney Consulting Services.


The Sunday Welcome Reception provided an opportunity for delegates and industry stakeholders to network in an informal environment free of conventional boardroom settings. Many attendees gathered around the University of Calgary solar car, which definitely sparked an interest. In the upcoming October 16 World Solar Challenge, the University’s solar car, Schulich Axiom, will have the opportunity to take the pedal to the medal in the hopes of beating over 40 teams from around the world in a grueling 3,000 kilometer race from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia.

Another popular gathering point at the 2011 TAC Conference & Exhibition was the City of Edmonton’s LEGO city display. The model presented the history of transportation to communicate what the future of the city could look like. The interconnected city, served by light rail transit and bus, is integrated into neighbourhoods showing connections where people work, play and live via alternative modes of transportation.

In the wake of the post-economic recovery, the theme of the 2011 TAC Conference & Exhibition, Transportation Successes: Let’s Build on Them, hit home to many delegates and industry stakeholders. The Monday Opening Plenary Session, emceed by outgoing TAC President Ray Mantha and videotaped in its entirety, featured four keynote speakers offering attendees a chance to gain insight and enrich their overall conference experience.    

The Monday afternoon panel discussion, entitled Creating Transportation Success Stories, was also filmed. This visual medium delivers high-priority information in electronic format to address valuable feedback obtained from both the 2010 post-conference survey and the TAC member survey. 


TAC Executive Director Michel Gravel’s emceeing skills were in the spotlight as he addressed a packed house at the Monday Awards Luncheon. This year’s format was anything but traditional as attendees were greeted by a unique mix of Celtic bagpipe and African drumming.  Among the celebrated recipients, TAC conferred four special awards to recognize the technical excellence and achievements of its members in the following categories: Educational Achievement; Environmental Achievement; Road Safety Engineering; and Sustainable Urban Transportation. 

Educating tomorrow’s transportation leaders is at the forefront of the TAC Foundation, established by the Transportation Association of Canada in 2003 to support the education and research needs of the Canadian transportation industry. In 2011, forty-six scholarships were awarded to university graduates and undergraduates in transportation-related disciplines, who were also recognized at the Awards Luncheon. The 2011 TAC Student Paper Awards, presented at the Monday Awards Luncheon, showcased the importance of helping promote careers in transportation.

The Art Gallery of Alberta, designed by internationally renowned Randall Stout Architects, and the Francis Winspear Centre for Music set the stage for mouth-watering cuisine and local entertainment at the Monday evening Prairie Stars event. And let’s not forget its local celebrity, Bailey D. Buffalo!

In true western savoir-faire, Alberta Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette, Chair of the 2011 TAC Conference & Exhibition, proved to be a dynamic emcee at the Tuesday Annual Luncheon which featured 2004 Olympic gold cycling medalist, Lori-Ann Munzer as special keynote speaker.

The customary President’s Luncheon presented on September 14 by outgoing TAC President Ray Mantha provided delegates with a TAC snapshot of past and future key initiatives. Port Alberta Chair Daryl Procinsky, Wednesday’s keynote speaker, shared a profile of this local organization through an interactive presentation. The passing of the presidency torch to incoming TAC President Doug McNeil, Deputy Minister at Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, pleasantly surprised Ray with a TAC Honorary Life Membership.


During an elegant and fun-filled evening at the 2011 Annual Banquet, delegates and special guests were treated to an exquisite dinner and the sounds of two-time Canadian Country Music Awards “Rising Star” nominee, Brett Kissel. Jinting Zhao, Policy Advisor for Alberta Transportation, opened the evening with Alberta’s official song specially written to commemorate the province’s centennial in 2005.


The 2011 recipients of the Canadian Transportation Awards, supported by Transport Canada, recognizing leadership, excellence and achievement in all modes of the transportation sector, were also presented at the banquet by Outgoing TAC President Ray Mantha and John Forster, Associate Deputy Minister, Infrastructure Canada. This year, a special citation for lifetime achievement in transportation policy and decision-making was presented to Alberta Premier Edward Stelmach.

Want more?

In-depth interviews with award recipients, candid snapshots of the Prairie Stars evening and networking events, as well as a few surprises, are in store for you in the very first TAC post-conference virtual magazine!

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