For years, Ray Sterling’s daily workload has been composed of one fundamental task, especially after taking the directorial reins of Louisiana Tech University’s Trenchless Technology Center (TTC). As an industry figurehead in the trenchless arena, which is more than evident by the droves of titles that often proceed him, Sterling has strode to regiment and broadcast to municipalities, manufacturers and business professionals in the construction industry the benefits that trenchless technologies can offer.

Whether it has been traveling to talks abroad, discussing ideas with city officials or just sifting through data for answers to research, Sterling has kept one key goal in mind during his promotion of the trenchless industry.

“The end goal for trenchless technology is to have people that fix underground infrastructure needing a good reason why not to do trenchless, rather than the other way around. Inevitably, we’re going to move in that direction,” stated Sterling.

“People need to start with the idea that they don’t want to dig up utilities, but rather repair them in-place. When we get to that stage, trenchless technologies will be far and away the prevailing tool of choice.”

Since his inception into the industry six years ago, Sterling has been one of the major spearheads for the advocation of the trenchless market. Sterling, like his predecessors at the TTC, Tom Iseley, Les Guice and Paul Hadala, has utilized his decades of underground engineering and construction expertise to get municipalities, industry representatives, manufactures and groups abroad involved with trenchless methods. He has also worked to improve TTC and other groups like the North American Society of Trenchless Technology (NASTT) for efficiency and direction.

“I think that the industry has a remarkable track record of success, but there are many things we can do to speed up the development and acceptance of trenchless technologies,” asserted Sterling. “And much of that is to get others in the underground construction industry who need to know about trenchless to the knowledge level they should be.”


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