Trenchless Technology is officially 30 years old. Our fourth decade of coverage is under way!
We started out as a bimonthly publication about a relatively unknown industry with the funny name. Today, we are the No. 1 publication about a now multi-billion-dollar global industry that champions the needs of our aging and deteriorating underground infrastructure.
The number of trenchless stories we have shared with you in print and online are too many to count — with no shortage of material in our sights as we move forward with the next 30 years.
So much has changed in 30 years, especially in the way we bring you the trenchless news. In 1992, Trenchless Technology came to you via the U.S. Postal Service or you could pick up a copy at a trenchless tradeshow.
In 2022, we have multiple distribution options to receive our trenchless coverage. We bring trenchless news to a combined monthly audience of nearly 150,000 via multiple media outlets: print magazine, digital edition, website, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and E-Newsletters.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we have accomplished these last 30 years and what we will continue to bring our readers,” says Trenchless Technology founder Bernie Krzys. “From the time we conceived of Trenchless Technology, we knew there would never be a shortage of stories to tell. Thirty years later, the same holds true and then some. Trenchless technology continues to be the most dynamic and interesting global industry.”
“A huge congratulations to our Trenchless Technology Team — a milestone for Benjamin Media,” says Benjamin Media president Rob Krzys. “Trenchless Technology was the foundation of our company’s success. It is the brand that has built and connected the trenchless industry.”
Connecting the Industry with our Readers
When Trenchless Technology first came to you, who could have foreseen all the technological evolutions that have impacted an already dynamic and cutting-edge industry? Innovations for both the rehabilitation and new installation facets of the industry have come fast and furious over the years and you have turned to Trenchless Technology as the conduit to learn about all of these inventive, innovative and industry-changing advancements.
From that first issue, we have included contributions from the leading voices in the trenchless industry, as well as those just getting started in this industry. One of those early voices was Dr. Mo Najafi, P.E., PhD, CUIRE director and associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. In 1992, he was asked to submit an article to this new magazine. At the time, he was a doctoral student at Louisiana Tech University, working on his dissertation on developing a new microtunneling propulsion system to jack PVC pipe.
“That was a great opportunity for me to publish my first article for my dissertation,” Nafaji remembers. “Since then, Trenchless Technology has kept pace with the growth of the trenchless industry and filled the gap to connect all the industry sectors together. I can’t imagine how the industry could have this tremendous growth without the contributions of this dedicated magazine.”
Thirty years ago, 2022 NASTT Hall of Fame inductee Paul Nicholas was just appointed to head up the microtunneling manufacturer Soltau’s U.S. office and he would become a frequent contributor to the magazine. He says he has had a front-row seat in witnessing Trenchless Technology’s impact and influence from the start.
“Having been involved in the trenchless industry in North America for over 30 years, I have seen Trenchless Technology’s magazine’s influence and support of the industry since its first issue,” Nicholas says. “Trenchless Technology has been an important conduit of providing information to owners, suppliers and contractors and have spread the word of this emerging industry from the start. Congratulations to Trenchless Technology on 30 years of quality and accurate coverage. May you long continue to support and report on this industry!”
Getting Our Start
So how did Trenchless Technology magazine come to be? Let’s take a quick look back.
The magazine was the brainchild of Bernie Krzys, who was no novice to the trenchless industry at the time, having served as executive vice president and later president of American Augers from 1984-1991. Krzys forged many relationships with the industry’s key players and he knew that trenchless technology was on the rise when he left American Augers. By spring 1992, Krzys, who also had a publishing background, decided a magazine was needed to focus exclusively on the trenchless industry.
But would there be enough support for such a magazine — support in terms of readers and advertisers? Krzys was confident in both but to gauge interest in his passion project, Krzys created a mock-up of what the magazine would look like and took it to the 1992 No-Dig Show in Washington, D.C., and pitched it to the trenchless industry. Interest was immediate and Trenchless Technology was off and running.
We grew from a bi-monthly to a monthly publication in just two years. Over the years, the Trenchless Technology team added multiple supplements and online special reports to compliment and increase the mothership publication coverage, covering the gamut of industry topics. The company — Benjamin Media Inc. — itself has grown into a multi-media publishing force and now includes seven construction publications and a widely-revered conferences division bringing the best industry education across North America through in-person and online events.
Over the years, we have established the trenchless industry’s most prestigious awards with the Trenchless Technology Projects of the Year and Trenchless Technology Person of the Year, as well as growing its Top 50 Trenchless Design Firms Survey into one of the most widely read stories each year.
“Simply put, Trenchless Technology is the go-to publication for the trenchless industry and we pride ourselves in bringing you the best and most comprehensive coverage, whether it’s through our articles or through recognizing the best our industry has to offer,” says publisher Kelly VanNatten. “Our readers expect a lot from us. We expect a lot from us and we don’t take those expectations lightly.”
Anniversary and Experience Celebrated
We kicked off this special anniversary year with big news, as Bernie Krzys announced he was taking a step back from day-to-day role of publisher, handing over those reins to VanNatten, who had served as associate publisher since 2019. VanNatten has been a critical component to the magazine’s success, having been with Trenchless Technology for more than 25 years. As publisher, VanNatten oversees the business operations of the Trenchless Technology brand and works with the leadership team to ensure we continue to provide timely and relevant content across all of our print and digital network channels.
We also announced changes to our editorial structure. Longtime managing editor Sharon M. Bueno was elevated to editor, with longtime editor Jim Rush assuming the role of editorial consultant, in addition to his duties as the publisher of Utility Contractor and TBM: Tunnel Business Magazine. Managing editor Mike Kezdi has taken on an expanded role, now handling a multitude of areas of the Trenchless Technology brand, including our prestigious Trenchless Technology Person of the Year and Projects of the Year awards, as well as spearheading our quarterly Trenchless Technology Canada.
We had a celebratory gathering at the recent 2022 NASTT No-Dig Show in Minneapolis, toasting our anniversary with longtime industry friends and advertisers. We recognized those advertisers who were featured in our first issue in 1992 and who have continued their support over the last 30 years and going forward.
We also celebrated the longevity, experience and industry-wide respect of our Trenchless Technology team. Rob Krzys, who has been with Benjamin Media for nearly all of our 30 years, has served as president of the company since 1992. In his tenure, he has worked in nearly all facets of the magazine, working in the conferences, audience development and marketing departments, as well as in digital media. Our five core team members — VanNatten, Rush, Bueno, Kezdi and Dan Sisko — have logged more than 100 years of experience in this industry. No doubt the most of any industry publication team out there covering trenchless technology.
Since its 25th anniversary in 2017, Trenchless Technology has increased its coverage of the trenchless market, using the latest technology to reach and engage its readers. The monthly magazine — with our 38,000 subscribers — has integrated full trenchless coverage using digital offerings through its website (trenchlesstechnology.com, which averages 15,500 visitors a month) and weekly E-newsletters, as well as monthly HDD- and pipe relining-specific E-newsletters, which reaches a combined 23,000 subscribers. In recent years, the team has actively used LinkedIn, its @TrenchlessTech Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as other forms of social media to spread trenchless news and interact with its readers and its worldwide trenchless audience.
Most recently, we have added the Trenchless Technology Podcast, allowing us another vehicle to showcase trenchless voices with the trenchless community. Hosted by editor Sharon Bueno, the podcast brings conversations and insights from around the trenchless spectrum and was recently recognized for excellence by the American Society of Business Publication Editors Heartland Region.
One of the cornerstones of Trenchless Technology to this day remains its commitment to educating owners, municipalities, engineers, contractors and manufacturers on the methods and technology. Our first educational workshop was in 1993. Today, we have a multi-media conferences department that manages multiple trenchless-related, in-person events each year. The conferences department also produces trenchless-focused Webinars and interactive webcasts each year.
Today’s Trenchless Technology
For a publication that some doubted could find enough information to fill a magazine each month, Trenchless Technology has spawned numerous books to make sure its readers were getting all the coverage. The magazine has produced popular annual supplements catered specifically to the HDD, pipe relining and microtunneling markets, as well as launching Trenchless Technology Canada in 2014. This quarterly publication fills a need for Canada, which is a boon of trenchless work over the last 30 years.
Our core people also serve in various capacities on industry association boards. For example, Mike Kezdi serves on the UESI Pipelines Conference planning committee and Dan Sisko in an active member of NASSCO.
The magazine and company have partnered with leading associations and universities over the years on events such as AEM and at the biennial Utility EXPO (formerly ICUEE) to showcase industry experts for attendees on its Demo Stage, CATT and the NASTT-BC Chapter on the Trenchless Technology Road Show program and the NASTT Canadian chapters on No-Dig North. Trenchless Technology has also partnered with Arizona State University and Dr. Sam Ariaratnam to produce the HDD Academy. Teaming with such respected organizations allows all parties to expand their reach to educate the trenchless community.
In 2016, the company launched what it hopes to be its greatest goodwill endeavor: World Trenchless Day. World Trenchless Day is celebrated the fourth Thursday in September (This year WTD is on Sept. 22 — so mark your calendars!). “World Trenchless Day continues to be celebrated throughout the industry in fun and educational ways,” says VanNatten. “The reception of the inaugural event in 2016 was so much more than we could have imagined and that momentum has carried through these last six years.”
What does the future hold for Trenchless Technology? We don’t have a crystal ball but we have no doubt the next generation of trenchless professionals are ready to take the reins and lead the way for the next 30 years. We are excited for the industry, as well as our future.
“This industry is already seeing the fruits of this new generation of trenchless technologists and it’s so exciting,” says VanNatten. “They have a fresh and new perspective and energy to offer and we are excited to bring their ideas, insights and perspectives to our readers.”
What lies ahead? We can’t wait, but for now, it has been a glorious ride.