They understand the technology, but their hands-on experience with doing theactual work is minimal if not non-existent. That changed recently, however, whentop management of Insituform Technologies Inc. took over a work crew’sresponsibilities in Mobile, Ala., and got up close and personal with actualsewage.

At the suggestion of a crew employee six months ago, the leadership team,known internally as the “Corporate Suits,” pledged that they would take on thisproject for the work crew with the greatest productivity increase in the firstquarter of 2006. The crew currently working in Mobile won the “Get the Dirt onManagement”competition with a 14 percent increase, and was able to take the weekoff while management took over. Several planned to bring lawn chairs and watchas their leaders made their best attempt.

The team coming through on the pledge included Tom Rooney, Insituformpresident and CEO, Tom Vossman, senior vice president and COO, Patrice Orleach,vice president—Europe, Alex Buehler, vice president—marketing and technology,Andy Stroud, vice president—human resources, Tim Minahan, vice president andCIO, David Morris, vice president and general counsel, and David Martin, vicepresident and corporate controller. The “Suits” traveled to Mobile, Ala., bunkeddouble in a local hotel just like the crews do and were committed to doing theirwork — rehabilitating almost 2,500 ft of pipe — no matter how many man-hours ittook.

Team preparation began a few weeks prior to the project, with intensivesafety training for the senior staff. There was a lot of on-the-job training forupper management, however, and more than a few sore muscles. This would be themost expensive project in Insituform’s long history in terms of man-hour cost,but none of those costs were passed on to the customer — the Mobile Area Waterand Sewer System.

“Just as importantly, it will be a real learning experience for seniormanagement and a demonstration, I hope, that we are willing to do what we ask ofour crews. For as long as we hold out, at least,” said Rooney prior to theproject.
Insituform, headquartered in St. Louis, is a global leader in usingtrenchless technologies to rehabilitate, replace, maintain and installunderground pipes.

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