The NASTT No-Dig Show returned to Chicago and started with a bang with awards presented in the morning and auction items finding new homes in the evening. In between, more than 2,000 attendees took in technical sessions and walked the exhibit hall, taking in all of the trenchless experience.

The five-day show — the largest trenchless-only tradeshow in the world — is hosted by NASTT and managed by Benjamin Media. The show took place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Attendance at this annual trenchless gathering continues to grow with this year’s official numbers hitting 2,210 – the third highest NASTT No-Dig Show – and a record number of exhibitors, which eclipsed the 200 mark.

Though there were pre-conference educational sessions on Sunday, March 17, the first official event was the annual Kickoff Breakfast, which gives the Trenchless Technology team the opportunity to formally recognize and present the Projects of the Year Awards for New Installation and Rehabilitation, as well as the Person of the Year Award.

The formal ribbon-cutting ceremony

And we’re under way! The formal ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick off the 2019 No-Dig Show.



The Breakfast was opened by NASTT chair Craig Vandaelle and Program Committee chair Cindy Preuss. Motivational speaker Jody Urquhart was the featured entertainment.

Trenchless Technology editors Jim Rush and Sharon M. Bueno presented the winners of the 2018 Trenchless Technology Projects of the Year for New Installation to the Valley Crossing Project Gulf of Mexico Direct Pipe Shore Approach project team. The 2018 Project of the Year Award for Rehabilitation was presented to the project team for the World Record 36-in. CIPL Gas Main Rehabilitation Project.

2018 Trenchless Technology Project of the Year

Trenchless Technology editors Jim Rush (far left) and Sharon Bueno
present the 2018 Trenchless Technology Project of the Year for Rehabilitation
to World Record 36-in. CIPL Gas Main Rehabilitation Project



2018 Trenchless Technology Project of the Year

Trenchless Technology editors Jim Rush (left) and Sharon Bueno (center) present the 2018 Trenchless Technology Project of the Year for New Installation to Valley Crossing Project Gulf of Mexico Direct Pipe Method Shore Approach.



Trenchless Technology publisher Bernie Krzys and associate publisher Kelly Dadich formally presented the 2019 Trenchless Technology Person of the Year award to Mike Burkhard — an industry professional who has dedicated his 40-plus year career to the trenchless rehabilitation industry, serving as NASSCO executive director, as well as helping to introduce UV CIPP technology to North America.

Trenchless Technology Person of the year

Trenchless Technology Person of the year Mike Burkhard (center) received his award from Trenchless Technology publisher Bernie Krzys and Kelly Dadich.



Morty the Sewer Rat will spend the next year with BT Trenchless

Morty the Sewer Rat will spend the next year with (l-r) BT Trenchless’ Chris Knott, Harper Daniel and Marilee Bergstrom.



Following breakfast, the technical sessions got into full swing. The well-attended – and in some cases standing room only – sessions featured more than 160 peer-reviewed technical papers. This year NASTT hosted special forums covering a variety of trenchless topics. First up Monday was a forum on Direct Pipe. On Tuesday, the forums covered Advanced Pressure Pipeline Condition Assessment and Innovative Products. The latter highlighted all of the products in the running for NASTT’s Abbott Award for Innovative Products & Services: Rehabilitation & New Installation.

Day 1 concluded with NASTT’s 18th annual Educational Fund Auction & Reception. The fundraising soirée — benefiting NASTT’s educational initiatives — is a themed event. For

Winners of the annual auction costume contest

Winners of the annual auction costume contest were Louisiana Tech’s Cat Rutherford and Jeb Kraft.



2019, the theme was the Roaring 1920s/Speakeasy style.” Attendees were encouraged to dress in 1920s gangster or flapper attire. Winners of the costume competition were Cat Rutherford and Jeb Kraft, both of Louisiana Tech University.

This year’s auction was a silent auction with bidding taking place throughout the day. The only live bidding was the last item on the docket – the services of Morty the Sewer Rat. With its $5,000 bid, Morty will remain with BTrenchless for another year.

Just like Day 1, Day 2 at NASTT’s 2019 No-Dig Show was full of activity — in the classroom, as well as on the exhibit floor. The day ended with the annual Gala Dinner, which featured the induction of the association’s eighth Hall of Fame class.

NASTT Educational Aucution

Items for auction at the
annual NASTT Educational Aucution. Lot of cool stuff bid on!


Awards and Hall of Fame Honors


2019 NASTT Hall of Fame inductees

2019 NASTT Hall of Fame inductees (l to r) Chris Macey, Robert Westphal and Maynard Akkerman.



At Tuesday evening’s Gala Dinner, NASTT welcomed the following trenchless icons into its Hall of Fame: Maynard C. Akkerman, president, CEO and owner of Akkerman Inc.; Chris Macey, P.Eng., Americas Technical Practice Leader-Condition Assessment and Rehabilitation of Linear Infrastructure at AECOM; and Robert “Bob” Westphal, senior advisor of operations at Michels Corp.

The NASTT Board of Directors created the Hall of Fame in 2010 to ensure that the society’s most outstanding and praiseworthy members received due recognition. The intent of the NASTT Hall of Fame is to preserve the outstanding accomplishments of exceptional individuals and to honor their contributions to the advancement of both the trenchless industry and the society.

Ralston Award for Young Trenchless Achievement

Ralston Award for Young Trenchless Achievement Brenden O’Sullivan, P.E., MurraySmith.



Also receiving recognition at the Gala Dinner were recipients of the Ralston Award for Young Trenchless Achievement (Brenden O’Sullivan, P.E., MurraySmith) and NASTT’s Chair Award for Lifetime Service award honoree Frank Firsching, B.Sc., MBA, water industry consultant.

The No-Dig Show is the place to unveil the latest technologies that continue to push the industry forward. NASTT honors the best new and innovative products each year with its Abbott Award for Innovative Products & Services: Rehabilitation & New Installation, recognizing companies with state-of-the-art products in either new installation or rehabilitation for their achievements in advancing the trenchless industry.

The Innovative Product Awards were handed out for the top technology in the industry Tuesday afternoon on the exhibit hall floor.

The Kobus Pipe Puller from Kobus Services Ltd. received the Innovative Product Award for Rehabilitation. The Kobus Pipe Puller KPP400 Series is an innovative trenchless technology for the replacement of water and gas service pipes. The device is a self-contained hydraulic winch that mounts on the arm of a typical compact excavator found on most construction sites. The hydraulic motors are driven from the auxiliary hydraulics motors of the excavator and are capable of delivering 60,000 lbs of pulling force.

The Geonex Oy DTH-hammer drilling system received the Innovative Product Award for New Installation. Geonex’s system works with steel casing or without casing in solid rock and performs best in hard rock and mixed soil conditions, where rock quality creates significant costs with tricone bits or in mixed soil conditions that cannot be supported with drilling fluids. Method is direct pipe installation method and operates with an air percussion hammer.

Innovative Product Award Winners

Left:Kobus Services Ltd. received the Innovative Product Award for Rehabilitation for its Pipe Puller KPP400 Series system. Right: Geonex Oy DTH-hammer drilling systems won
the Innovative Product Award for New Installation.



Day 3 included Gas Industry Day, which features a full day of education and networking for the gas industry through an array of technical sessions. NASTT also coordinated a tour at the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) in nearby Des Plaines, Illinois. The GTI tour included live demonstrations of several trenchless technologies including: plastic pipe slitting, keyhole technologies, vacuum excavation and pipe locating.

The conference concluded with its annual Closing Luncheon, which gives attendees a preview of the 2020 No-Dig Show, which is returning to Denver. The show will take place April 5-9 at the Colorado Convention Center. At the Closing Luncheon, Program Committee chair Cindy Preuss handed the reigns over to Joe Lane, who is the 2020 Program Committee chair.

The Call for Papers for the 2020 conference is out. Prospective authors are invited to submit a 250-word abstract outlining the scope of their paper and the principal points of benefit to the trenchless industry. The abstracts must be submitted electronically by June 30, 2019. NASTT’s all-volunteer Program Committee will meet in August to review the abstracts and select the papers that will be presented at the 2020 No-Dig Show. More information is available at nastt.org/abstractsubmission.




World Trenchless Day Sweepstakes


World Trenchless Day Sweepstakes

Trenchless Technology also launched its World Trenchless Day Sweepstakes, sponsored by Akkerman Inc., Applied Felts, Maxliner, Michels Corp., NASTT and The Vortex Companies. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate World Trenchless Day 2019 than to send one lucky winner to the biggest trenchless technology conference on the planet -NASTT’s 2020 No-Dig Show, April 5-9, Denver, Colorado. All you have to do is complete the form at trenchlesstechnology.com/wtd to enter for a chance to win. Come back daily to enter again. Winner will be announced on World Trenchless Day, September 26, 2019.

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