His career started in 1958 when no one called it trenchless technology, and Bob Affholder has been upbeat and positive about the business from the beginning. In the 38 years since he started working as a laborer for Armco Industries Metal Products Division, Bob has seen the trenchless business grow from nothing into one of the most dynamic areas of construction. He has been responsible for some of the most dramatic changes that have occurred.

“I started my own tunneling and boring business in 1968 because I got mad at my boss at Armco,” said Bob. Jerome Kalishman was the attorney that incorporated the original Affholder company in 1968, and over the years Kalishman has become an integral part of the company. “Our individual strengths compliment each other,” Bob said. “I have been able to identify new products or successful companies and Jerry has been very efficient in negotiating contracts and acquisitions. By working together we have been able to position the Affholder company and Insituform Mid-America into organizations with complementary products.”

In October 1995, the merger of Insituform Mid-America Inc. and Insituform Technologies Inc. was completed. This has put Bob Affholder in charge of all North American contracting for the corporation. He is ready to roll up his sleeves and push the company into new markets and held develop new products to continue to lead the trenchless rehabilitation industry.

He delights in building an organization of competent people that want to solve problems. “We take on the toughest boring and tunneling jobs with the Affholder company. Insituform is going to become the world’s resource for rehabilitating any type of pipe system,” Bob said.

Bob first heard about the Insituform product in 1982, and he was aware that there had been problems with some of the early installations. From its beginning, Insituform Mid- America grew to become the world’s leading installer of Insituform, closing out 1995 with $107 million in sales representing more than 40 percent of ITI’s total sales of an estimated $270 million worldwide.

In almost all of his discussions, Bob ends up talking about the people in the business. He is interested in the technology and understand it as well as anyone, but his delight comes in seeing the people working for him become successful.

“I grew up on a farm in Kansas with 11 brothers and sisters, and my dad liked to work and he taught us to like to work,” said Bob. “We learned that it was fun and it still is fun. I want to work as long as I enjoy it, and so far, I’m having a great time.”


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