Larry Kiest Jr.

Trenchless Pioneers: Larry Kiest Jr.

Trenchless Pioneers is a special monthly series, sharing with readers the trailblazers who made their mark on the trenchless industry.

When it comes to rehabbing service laterals, one of the trenchless pioneers who helped usher in the capability is Larry Kiest Jr.

“My father, grandpa and great uncle were plumbers and I started working in the family plumbing trade at age 17. You could say I’ve had my head in a pipe for the past 43 years,” says Larry. “Dad and I did trenchless before we ever heard of no-dig technology, using sliplining and auger boring with our plumbing and excavation operations.”

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It was a trip to a NASTT No-Dig Show that helped tip Larry into the world of trenchless. In 1991, he met Bill Shook at the show and became a licensee of his AP/M Permaform/Permacast manholes system. At the time, Larry was at the helm of Performance Pipeline Inc., a sewer and water contracting company he formed in Ottawa, Illinois.

“It all grew from there. Bill has mentored and guided me ever since, teaching me key lessons, like how to cold call possible customers, write a proposal, and how to network in our industry,” he says. “I wouldn’t be where I am but for the experience and opportunity I got from my dad and the time and effort Bill invested in me.”

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As he grew more familiar with trenchless technologies, Larry started looking for better ways to do his job. Inventions and patents were the result of his hard work and ingenuity, as was the formation of LMK Technologies and LMK Pipe Renewal. This also led to what he sees as his pioneering contributions to the industry.

Larry Kiest Jr.

“[It] is the development of the T-Liner, a single-piece Main/Lateral CIPP that is sealed using swelling gaskets, set forth in ASTM F2561 and F3240,” he says. “The T-Liner system changed our industry and today, it is the industry standard. T-Liner has spurred other revolutionary inventions. Most recent is the Minimally Invasive Clean-Out System (MICO Saddle), covered by ASTM F3097.”

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He explains further the benefits of the MICO Saddle, which is installed via the vacuum excavation of a small diameter borehole. Surface disruption is minimal and surface restoration including stamped concrete, brick pavers and landscaped areas occurs the same day the cleanout is installed
Larry is still actively working in the trenchless space with Pipe Renewal, as well as developing what he sees as the next game-changing advancement for the pipe relining industry. That’s the acceptance and adoption of, “The Proper Order of Operations,” a best practices document for an engineered-CIPP installation.

“Capturing the lessons of my work in the trenchless industry, I came to realize that our industry has been performing CIPP rehabilitation work in the wrong order,” Larry says. “There are 10 chronological steps in the ‘The Proper Order of Operations.’ Their benefits include reduced CIPP defects, improved CIPP quality and ensures homeowners are not exposed to CIPP emissions.”

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He took this experience and transformed it into a presentation that covers the 10 steps, and it highlights the importance of installing a cleanout prior to CIPP main or lateral rehab.

“That ensures two things. CIPP installation and curing does not occur in any main pipe until all system flows — main and lateral — are blocked; and all CIPP curing emissions are captured and filtered, protecting both workers and homeowners,” says Larry. “I hope our entire industry adopts the ‘The Proper Order of Operations’ soon.”

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Larry’s experience in this industry spanned more than 40 years and, in that time, he’s been inside the pipe, served on boards and committees with key industry associations, walked many a trade show floor and even presented at many of the industry’s major events.

To say he has already cemented his legacy would not be disputed. However, Larry sees it as a work in progress because he isn’t done yet.

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“I am still working on my legacy, but so far, it’s been about surrounding myself with all the amazing people of our industry and chasing the philosophy that’s always been about, ‘Making things as they were, while keeping things as they are,” he says.

How does he view the continued growth and advancement of the trenchless industry?

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“With ingenuity, hard work, risk-taking, and a lot of faith, our industry will continue to see huge growth. There will always be a need for technology providers to showcase new inventions and improve materials and techniques,” he says.

Mike Kezdi is the managing editor of Trenchless Technology.

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