Marya Jetten

Today’s Young Trenchless Professionals: Marya Jetten, P.Eng.

Marya Jetten, P.Eng, is part of a new crop of trenchless professionals who are stepping up and serving as the industry’s next leaders and innovators.

Jetten is no stranger to many in the industry. She is vice chair of NASTT’s Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and Atlantic (GLSLA) Chapter and was the Technical Program Co-Chair for No-Dig North 2022 in Toronto. She was recognized at the NASTT 2023 No-Dig Show with the Ralston Young Trenchless Achievement Award for her contributions to the industry and NASTT.

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“I was so excited about winning the Ralston Young Trenchless Achievement Award that I travelled across the continent with my newborn to receive the award in-person in Portland, Oregon at the No-Dig Show,” says Jetten.

Jetten’s day job is at the Jacobs office in Toronto as a project manager for both large diameter new installation and condition assessment and rehabilitation of existing pipelines. She is also the firm’s Global Principal for the Condition Assessment and Rehabilitation practice at Jacobs. It is a huge responsibility overseeing a practice of more than 500 engineers and Jetten did not get to this spot overnight.

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She attended and graduated from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario with a degree in civil engineering and briefly worked for another consulting firm before joining CH2M, which was acquired by Jacobs in 2017.

“I fell into the trenchless industry early in my career while working on large diameter pipeline projects that involved microtunneling and then on pipeline relining projects,” she says. “With the rapid population growth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the aging infrastructure challenges, it was clear that specializing in projects using trenchless technology would keep me busy for the rest of my career.”

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Busy is an understatement when you consider the work completed globally by Jacobs’ Condition Assessment and Rehabilitation practice, “…which provides pipeline asset management services including field inspection, big data analysis, heavy civil rehab design, and construction management for the $8 billion a year aging water infrastructure market,” Jetten says.

Being busy and having plenty of work is one reason to stay involved in any industry. But, what is it about trenchless technologies that continue to excite Jetten and drive her to succeed? She notes that the industry is always pushing the boundaries of what is possible and there is no shortage of larger and more challenging projects to work on. She also relishes the opportunity to bring existing solutions to new markets.

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“We are in a time of huge growth in the trenchless industry. Technological development is pushing boundaries on proven technologies and methods and introducing new technologies,” she says. “While experienced engineers and contractors are busy pushing the boundaries of what is possible, new engineers and contractors are entering the business to meet the growing market demands.”

Speaking specifically to the experienced engineers and other seasoned vets of the trenchless industry, Jetten notes that as she better understands the past, it helps motivate her to grow and push the industry forward to a better future.

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“Through their story telling it is clear how passionate they continue to be about their current projects or challenges. Hearing how much the industry has changed over the last few decades is motivating for me, in that I will continue to find new and exciting projects for decades to come,” she says.

These interactions also inspire her to be a mentor to those entering the industry behind her.

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“Being an active member of this industry, I have made mentors and friends from many other firms,” she says. “I have also enjoyed sharing my experiences and lessons learned through technical papers and presentations with others in hopes of continuing the growth of the industry.”

In her eyes, it is the responsibility of this next generation of trenchless professionals to mentor and excite the future generations of trenchless professionals to help shepherd along continued innovation in the trenchless space.

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To that end, she offers this bit of advice to the younger members of the industry.

“One, work for a firm that supports and encourages staff to attend conferences, present technical content and participate in industry organizations. Two, get involved with your local trenchless organizations,” she says. “And three, the ‘vets’ are always happy to answer questions, provide guidance and pass on their experience. Most love to talk about their challenging projects, how technology and implementation has changed over the years, or how their career led them to trenchless technology – so ask them! Absorb as much of it as you can.”

.Mike Kezdi is the managing editor of Trenchless Technology.

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