The 5th annual Tulsa Pipeline Expo will be next week, beginning Monday Aug. 26, and a record number of exhibitors and out of state interests are expected to participate in the three-day event at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds.
“This is the most exhibitors we’ve ever had,” said Bill Solomon, chairman of the Tulsa Pipeline Expo. “It’s quickly becoming one of the premiere energy events in the region.”
He said 137 exhibitors have committed so far, but he expects that number to grow to at least 150 by Monday, which exceeds last year’s turnout out of 127, which itself was a leap from the previous year’s turnout of 87.
Solomon said the number of exhibitors is less important than the quality they bring in showing Tulsa’s strengths.
“I’d be fine if we went back to only a hundred exhibitors, as long as those hundred represent what Tulsa has to offer. We’re showcasing businesses with the strongest track records in the state,” he said. “Oklahoma is in the ideal situation to grow nationally and internationally. The expo is facilitating those business networks and strengthening one of Oklahoma’s core industries.”
The most significant growth, though, is in the out-of-state contractors expected to be in attendance.
“These are the influencers and decision-makers who build the pipelines and order the services,” said Solomon.
He said there will be at least 300 different contractors this year, which is about twice the amount from last year.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee current Fox News host will be the keynote speaker, although organizers said they have not yet confirmed the specific topic on which he plans to speak.
In his capacity as the governor or Arkansas, Huckabee was the chairman of the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission.
Solomon said he expects that Huckabee will likely speak on the government’s role in projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.
“He’ll have some wonderful stories and hopefully some good jokes,” said Solomon.
He said Huckabee rivals past entertainment draws, but he doesn’t attribute the expected record turnout to him.
“For an event like this, it really begins to draw pretty well on its own,” said Solomon.
In past expos, he said they featured musical acts. Bo Bice of American Idol-fame was last year’s headliner.
Besides Huckabee, other speakers this year include “FrackNation” director Phelim McAleer, former Oklahoma Energy Secretary Michael Ming, and Dr. Jeff Magee, a leadership and marketing strategist.
Also, renowned oil and energy journalist Robert Carpenter will moderate an energy panel roundtable on the topic of “Emerging Issues and Trends in the Energy Industry.”
There will also be a series of education sessions throughout the event, including presentations on pipeline’s role in the energy industry, “integrity management,” composite piping repair, and identifying stress triggers.
According to data provided by the Tulsa Regional Chamber, one job in the capital-intensive pipeline industry in the Tulsa MSA supports five additional jobs elsewhere in the economy. Also, each dollar of the $408 million gross metro product in pipeline services supports a dollar more of production of goods & services in the Tulsa-area economy. The pipeline supports the collection of $21 million in sales taxes and $23 million in property taxes in the Tulsa-area economy. «