Making Its Mark: Trenchless Technology Turns 20!

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Trenchless Technology magazine’s first issue was published in July 1992

Trenchless Technology magazine was the first of its kind:
to focus on an emerging market with the funny-sounding name that rehabilitates and upgrades aging underground infrastructure using minimally invasive and cost-efficient methods.

That was 20 years ago this month — and the magazine and the industry it covers continue to expand and attract wider audiences. We are proud of the legacy we are writing for the trenchless industry and what we have become along the way:an objective voice to promote the trenchless marketplace.

Today, Trenchless Technology continues to be the No. 1 Source for Your Trenchless News and while other publications incorporate trenchless technology into their construction coverage, Trenchless Technology remains the only publication in North America to focus exclusively on this continually growing, accepted and important market.

Krzys is amazed how much the trenchless industry has evolved over the years but says there is still a lot of work to do in getting the word out about the value and effectiveness of trenchless technology.
“I am still amazed how the term trenchless technology is still not widely understood,” he says. “Even after 20 plus years, the industry has a lot of work to do to promote and educate people on what we do. For the last 20 years, we have worked our butts off to promote and develop the industry and there is still a lot of room to grow. We are just starting.”

Beginnings

Trenchless Technology magazine was the brainchild of Bernie Krzys, who was no novice to trenchless industry at the time, having served as executive vice president and later president of American Augers from 1984-1991. Krzys forged many relationships with the industry’s key players and he knew that trenchless technology was on the rise when he left American Augers. By spring 1992, Krzys, who also had a publishing background, decided a magazine was needed to focus exclusively on the trenchless industry.

To gauge interest in a trenchless magazine, Krzys created a mock-up of what the magazine would look like so he could pitch it to those in the trenchless industry who he respected to garner their opinion. He took it to the 1992 No-Dig Show in Washington, D.C., where interest was immediate —Trenchless Technology was off and running.

The publication was designed for the people and businesses that were driving acceptance of trenchless technology in the construction market. Trenchless Technology magazine was accepted immediately, and the publication grew from a bi-monthly to a monthly publication in two years. Today, trenchless construction methods are widely accepted around the globe and are often required over traditional open-cut construction and trenching methods — and Trenchless Technology is the No. 1 media vehicle that the industry gets its news from.

Trenchless Technology evolved into Benjamin Media Inc., the home of eight different construction publications and multi-media conference department. Experience is the word that comes to mind when discussing the staff, Krzys says, noting nine have more than 10 years with the company and started with Trenchless Technology. Marketing director Kelly Dadich leads the way with 16 years at BMI. The Trenchless Technology team has four key members who have logged 10-plus years of service, with editors James Rush and Sharon M. Bueno each in their 14th years and regional sales manager Dan Sisko and audience development manager Alexis White each have 10-plus years.

Rob Krzys serves as associate publisher and chief operating officer of Benjamin Media. He started with the magazine more than 19 years ago and has worked in most of the company’s departments — conferences, audience development and marketing departments, as well as in digital media.

“The combined experience of the primary members of the Trenchless Technology team exceeds 100 years. We have immersed ourselves in the trenchless industry and have developed strong relationships within the industry. Our objective is to promote the industry while keeping readers informed of the trends and issues in a non-biased publication,” says Trenchless Technology editor Jim Rush.

All a Twitter…

When the magazine was first published, there were no smartphones, digital cameras or email. Fax machines were considered the best way to instantly communicate. Today, there are websites, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, QR codes and Webinars — multi-media avenues to reach an audience that craves all things trenchless.

Since its 15th anniversary in 2007, Trenchless Technology has increased its coverage of the trenchless market using the latest technology to reach and engage our readers. The magazine — with a BPA-audited 36,000 subscribers — has integrated full trenchless coverage using social media activities through its website (trenchlesstechnology.com, which attracts 13,000 unique visitors a month) and biweekly international electronic newsletters, which reaches more than 11,000 subscribers around the world. In recent years, it has actively utilized Facebook and Twitter to spread trenchless news and interact with its readers and the worldwide trenchless audience.

“The use of social media has really added another dimension to what offer our audience, allowing us to have instant contact between the magazine and the audience. From Twitter to Facebook and LinkedIn, we are in touch with our readers and the trenchless community on a daily basis,” Rob Krzys says. “Social media offers us more creative and interactive modes of communication to promote the trenchless industry in a very personal yet professional manner.”

Education Is Key

Another industry first created by Krzys and Trenchless Technology was the development of the first in-depth trenchless technology rehab and directional drilling educational seminars, promoted through the magazine. The industry was still in its infancy and the need for training and education was paramount to spreading the trenchless message in non-commercial settings, combining classroom and field study. Krzys, along with his brother Dick, who came aboard to share this effort, started out by organizing two field seminars a year. Dick retired from his post as associate publisher in 2007 but remains active in the industry with the Ohio HDD Association as its executive director.

Today, the conference department does more than organize the company’s trenchless education program but also manages the industry’s largest and premier trenchless show, NASTT’s No-Dig, as well as the Colorado School of Mines Microtunneling Short Course, among others. During the late 1990s when HDD was booming due to the fiber-optic market, Rob Krzys created the first HDD Rodeo competitions, which became popular in their own right, drawing an international audience and participants.

The conferences department also was the first — back in 2006 — in the trenchless industry to introduce the use of Webinars to reach an even wider classroom with its trenchless education
As the trenchless market has grown as an industry and in acceptance by municipalities and engineers around the globe, Trenchless Technology remains devoted to serving and promoting this dynamic technology and what it brings to the rehabilitation and upgrade of our infrastructure.

Favorite Covers and Photos

Over these past few pages, we are sharing the favorite covers from Trenchless Technology team members. Each cover brings a different perspective and look into what makes a great cover. Please visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TrenchlessTechnologyMagazine) and let us know what your favorite cover was and why — we would love to hear from you. Also, we offer you a glimpse of our special 20th anniversary online Photo Contest, in which you participate in online at our website to win an iPad.

Krzys — who was inducted into the inaugural NASTT Hall of Fame Class in March — could not have known the impact his decision to create a magazine that focused on (at the time) a relatively unknown technology would have. What will the next 20 years bring for the trenchless industry?

Sharon M. Bueno is managing editor of Trenchless Technology.

Bernie Krzys, Publisher

Jan/Feb. 1993: I like this cover because it blended Leo Barbera’s relationship with American Augers which he founded and became a recognized industry leader; plus, the American Augers blue auger boring machines were well known because of the color. Additionally, he was involved in American Quarter Horses for a long time as an AQHA judge, as a horse trainer, and breeding and showing Quarter Horses. Another tie-in to horses, Leo was able to use his horse background to foster business relationships.
September 2005: Rob Crane and Steve Wentworth, were the co-founders of Hammerhead. Their professional background included a stint with motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson and they were committed Harley cyclists too. In setting up this photo with the huge ramming head, they had the Harley spin the rear wheel throwing off a lot of smoke. It was expected that this photo would not be the cover, but the smoke convinced us it was a great shot.

Alexis White, Audience Development Manager

March 2003: My pick is Trenchless Technology’s Person of the Year award covers. Until I began working for Trenchless Technology, my knowledge of the science, engineering and technology involved in underground infrastructure went no further than the act of flushing a toilet and running water – I had no idea where it went and how it was managed. I’ve learned many things in 10 years, including the value in what we produce and the importance of industry pioneers and leaders. I know first-hand how the passion and belief in trenchless drives the excellence in leadership and quality of the magazine we publish. This award showcases innovation, market development, project completion, leadership and industry vision; it’s an honor to all who receive it. I am proud to be part of a magazine and company paying tribute to achievement and influence.

Dan Sisko, Regional Sales Manager

November 2000: Who doesn’t get intrigued and mesmerized by American Muscle? In this case, we are not talking about cars but rather big HDD rigs. The November 2000 cover showcased a massive American Augers DD-660 drill rig that at that time was its biggest directional drilling rig to date for AA. It’s so big on the cover that it covers the Trenchless Technology logo. Okay, maybe that was done on purpose but I think the designer did it right by making the rig seem too big for the cover and really bring out the coolness of a big rig.

Rob Krzys, Associate Publisher and Chief Operating Officer

March 1999: In keeping with the philosophy behind Trenchless Technology and the people that help to build our industry, I chose the 1999 Person of the Year as my favorite cover. Frank Canon is one of my favorite people in the industry and an unchanging face in HDD. Frank led the way, improving the HDD industry, by tirelessly hitting the road promoting the proper use of drilling fluids, helping to ensure sustainability for HDD applications and always willing to lend a hand. Thanks Frank for your years of service to the industry and for wearing a tie in this cover photo, and not the traditional red jumpsuit!

Sharon M. Bueno, Managing Editor

April 2008: I like this cover because it is a departure from our typical approach to the cover photography in which we focus on the people and companies of the trenchless industry. The story was a look at an industry topic, which allowed our designer Sarah Hayes to use her creative talents to develop a concept that best illustrated our cover story. The story dealt with pricing strategies in the bidding process of the HDD market, which was/and continues to be a serious topic. She chose a game spinner to illustrate the point of how some contractors decide what to assign each factor considered in the bid proposal and replaced the numbers on the spinner with those factors—such as labor, insurance, equipment, etc. The result was an eye-catching cover that our readers and staff appreciated. This cover also earned Sarah a first place finish from the American Society of Business Press Editors (South Region).

Kelly Dadich, Director of Marketing

August 1996: Some of my favorite trenchless people have graced the covers of Trenchless Technology over the years making selecting a “favorite” a tough decision. If I have to pick one cover, the sentimental side of me picks the August 1996 cover because that was my first issue! So many of the people I worked with back in 1996 are still working with us today. And, so many companies I called on back in 1996 have grown and developed over the years and it’s been fascinating to watch those companies launch new products, win industry awards and grow their business.

Lindsie Bowman, Regional Sales Representative

March 2007: I picked March 2007 as my favorite cover because when I think of the trenchless technology industry, Chris Brahler is one of the first people who comes to my mind. Chris is extremely passionate about the industry; he has so much energy and loves to talk about the industry. He is constantly volunteering his time with numerous associations and wanting to learn what new technology is out there. Chris is always asking what’s new and he is always eager to listen.

Jim Rush, Editor

October 2008: One interesting facet of my job at Trenchless Technology is coordinating the annual Projects of the Year. The October 2008 Project of the Year for New Installation stands out to me for several reasons. First is the fact that it was a true record-setter – a 3,000-plus-ft microtunneled drive that shattered the previous U.S. mark by more than 1,000 ft. Beyond that, it was part of the East Side and West Side CSO projects in Portland, Ore., which set a new standard in cooperation between the owner, engineer and contractor by implementing a modified “cost plus fixed fee” contracting strategy (now simply known as “The Portland Method”). Most important, the project concluded a 20-year program that is now achieving its goal of cleaning up the natural waterways in and around the city.

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About Author

Sharon M. Bueno

Sharon Bueno is the Managing Editor of Trenchless Technology magazine.

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