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UCS In Action

"As with all facilities and projects, an understanding for the customers’ needs, desires, and end result is paramount in providing the proper equipment."
In 2006 UCS became involved in its third IAAF Class I Certified track in the United States. As with all facilities and projects, an understanding for the customers’ needs, desires, and end result is paramount in providing the proper equipment. The University of Arkansas presented new challenges for all contractors and suppliers; a facility renovation to the highest standards of the IAAF on a timeline that had never been seen for such a project.

Over many years prior to the project, the University of Arkansas had built a relationship with UCS. This relationship developed as the University was chosen to host the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Division I Championships for several consecutive years, and the coaching staff chose UCS to supply its equipment for the Randall Tyson Track Center. Such equipment included the Pole Vault Landing Area with Standards, Starting Blocks, the Ultimate Series Automatic Hurdles, High Jump Landing Area with Standards, and Indicator Boards. Essentially, all the necessary equipment to host major competitions throughout the year, including the world class Tyson Invitational, while also meeting the demands of hosting the NCAA Championships. As is proven throughout the record books, the Randall Tyson Track Center and UCS equipment has been involved in many NCAA and World Records. It was apparent that the program, coaching staff, and university had rigorous demands for performance with the highest expectations. As with any other new facility that is planned, UCS had to prove its ability to be chosen as a supplier for the new outdoor venue.

To better understand the details and requirements of the outdoor venue, a series of meetings was scheduled between UCS and the coaching staff. Without these meetings it would be impossible to understand what the customer truly was trying to accomplish. Going over the plans and drawings with the coaching staff helped to understand the location of event areas, the intended use of the facility, and the level of competition. It was going to be a track only facility and to be IAAF Certified with a Class I Certificate. As is required, such facilities that are to be certified must not only meet the requirements and tolerances for the actual track surfacing, but the equipment itself must be certified; equipment such as pole vault boxes, throwing rings, take-off systems, and the NCAA Super 30 Hammer Cage. After these meetings and review of plans, a wish list of equipment was generated that could facilitate such requirements. This was to be used for the staff, the architects and consultants, as well as the contractors in planning and building the track.

As a project is completed in phases, so is the equipment that is needed. The inground equipment is typically purchased first, then the competition/ external equipment later. The site location was of the old track and was to be a major renovation. Not only was the track going to be new, but so was the seating. A coordinated effort by all parties involved was crucial to deliver an on-time completion. As contracts were established and work began, UCS was privileged to be chosen as a supplier for the inground equipment. A contract was effectively put in place with a requirement to be able to deliver with-in a matter of weeks. As work crews worked day and night on the jobsite, getting the equipment to the site was crucial.

"A coordinated effort by all parties involved was crucial to deliver an on-time completion."
Equipment had to be cast into concrete and asphalt as basework was being completed rapidly. Our team in North Carolina was to prepare this equipment while also completing other customers’ orders. While in our new production facility, our efficiency as a manufacturer was to be tested. By maintaining the complete manufacturing processes in-house, our quality control remains at the highest level. In the process, several elements of component fabrication needed to be completed, such as cutting, welding, bending and finishing. Assembly of water jump barrier legs was to be done, while the finish of products was completed with our powder coat system, sandblasting and electrostatically applied powder coating to multiple components. As finished products came off the production and assembly lines, it was loaded directly onto our truck for an immediate departure to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and directly handed over to the contractor for installation. Most of the equipment is stocked material that we produce continually throughout the year while other items are built to fit the unique requirements for an IAAF Certified facility, for example the IAAF Hammer cage, which is one of two such cages in the U.S., the other located at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island New York. In addition, fully custom Aluminum Long Jump/ Triple Jump pit covers were needed. The proper sizing needed, while these pits did not have a built in ledge for the covers to rest on, a special fabricated hanging cover was to be created. As was the case, the shipment arrived in time for installation.

A second site visit was scheduled for March 2007, this coincided with the NCAA Indoor Championships and was used to follow up on the inground material that was sent. At this point the entire asphalt and concrete phase was nearly complete, and preparation for the track surface was being planned and executed. In May, the University would open John McDonnell Field for the SEC Championships. Again a timeline was to be established for the equipment to arrive in a window where the track would be complete and safe to accept the new equipment. Further evaluation of existing equipment was completed while determining what could also be used for the new track. It was decided that some equipment would be ordered in duplicate of what was being used at the Indoor track, while adding newer models for other equipment needs at the new track.

In April of 2007 an order was placed for the competition/external equipment. The university had chosen to purchase the Ultimate Series Automatic Hurdles, 1360 Model High Jump Landing Areas and the Grand Prix High Jump Standards, Aluminum Track Curbing, set of 4 Steeple Chase Barriers, Grand Prix Starting Blocks, and the 2100 Model Pole Vault Landing Areas with International Standards, accompanied by meet accessory equipment, such as distance indicators and long jump/ triple jump indicator boards. In addition, UCS applied logos onto the landing areas and hurdles to customize
them. As hurdles were welded, powder coated, and assembled, our team was cutting and sewing material for the landing areas, laminating foam, and assembling the final products to be loaded directly onto our truck again for delivery. Aluminum Track Curbing had to be engineered and fabricated to the exact lane lining of the facility. Without a doubt UCS was to deliver equipment to a new track for the SEC Championships. As delivery took place with more than a week to the opening of the facility. UCS had fulfilled its obligations and promises. For further re-assurance a representative again was sent for inspection and proper assembly verification before the meet.

Meeting a strict timeline, the demands of a top performing program and in compliance for IAAF and NCAA Rules, UCS was chosen as a supplier to the University of Arkansas John McDonnell Field. To meet the demands of a customer requires involvement, and taking the time to listen and understand exactly what the client requires and the expectations that are set forth. To accomplish this, UCS met with the coaching staff to get an overview of the exact needs and timelines. Consulting with the staff of the university while working with the architect to provide information, UCS became a resource to the customer. As the foundation was laid, it now became a matter of delivery. As was known the project became a fast track, high priority project for the contractor and UCS delivered equipment for construction within a matter of days. It was the third IAAF Class I Certified track in the United States in which UCS’s In-ground and Competition equipment was chosen in a five year span. The same understanding applies with all of our customers whether a small club or high school to a facility meeting IAAF regulations.

UCS provides the experience, takes the time to understand the needs, and surpasses the customers’ expectations. We maintain our commitment to quality and the ability to provide dependable service. We are honored to have been chosen time and time again, proving UCS Inc.’s world wide reputation for excellence.

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