Former NASSCO executive director Irvin “Irv” Gemora, of Towson, Maryland, passed away on Dec. 4, at 86.

Gemora spent more than 30 years in the trenchless industry, including his years as NASSCO’s executive director and training more than 3,000 industry professionals in NASSCO’s signature program, Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP).

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After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkin University, Gemora’s early career began in the semiconductor business, where he started and grew a successful manufacturers sales rep firm. After a health scare in 1987 and at the request of his wife Paula, Gemora opted to leave that life behind.  

Knowing he was too young to retire, Gemora, along with a cousin and another friend came together. This partnership would lead to Gemora joining the trenchless world. The group spent the better part of a year traveling the world looking for products or processes that they could purchase, finance and help grow. They landed on Danby and bought the Australia-based large-diameter pipe rehabilitation company. This also led to Gemora joining NASSCO.

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His vision for NASSCO was to help bring together and focus the industry and become the trade association that set standards for the assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure. He also saw the potential for NASSCO to help assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies.  

NASSCO Past Directors
Three of NASSCO’s past executive directors (l-r) Mike Burkhard (1999-2002), Irv Gemora (2002-2010) and Ted DeBoda (2010-2018).

He first served on NASSCO’s Board of Directors in the early 1990s where he befriended then-NASSCO Executive Director Mike Burkhard. When Burkhard decided to leave NASSCO, it coincided with Gemora’s sale of Danby and the prospect of his retirement from the industry. Burkhard suggested that Gemora fill his role as executive director, which Gemora did from 2002 to 2010.  

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Watching the evolution and knowing the value of NASSCO’s PACP, ITCP, MACP and LACP initiatives, Gemora, a NASSCO Master Trainer, stayed with the organization following his departure from the executive director’s seat. He taught the courses from 2010 to 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic made teaching more of a challenge. This prompted Irv to take his final retirement.

He is survived by his wife, Paula Gemora (nee Cohen); his daughter, Debbi (Walter) Gemora Jacobs; his son-in-law, Fred Sirotkin; his sister, Sylvia Maslan; his grandchildren, Bryan Sirotkin, Sara Beth (Chuck) Ray, Andrea Jacobs (fiancé Spencer Evans), Emily Jacobs, Eric Jacobs; and his nieces. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Sherri Gemora Sirotkin; and his parents, Nathan and Shirley Gemora.

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Also known as Poppy/Paka, Gemora was bigger than life, funnier than dirt, and a true-blue, cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking friend we have all learned to know and love. He indeed had a life well lived, and a life well loved.

Services are private. Please omit flowers. Contributions in his memory may be sent to, Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom Congregation, 7310 Park Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD 21208. Contributions may also be made to NASSCO’s PACP Scholarship Fund, NASSCO Inc., 5285 Westview Drive, Suite 202, Frederick, MD 21703.

A virtual shiva was held on Dec. 6 and a celebration of life will be held in January, and the date and time will be announced.