Q: What is your background and what brought you into the trenchless industry?
I actually chose trenchless technology as my final year degree project in civil engineering, learning about Edmund Nuttall and something called a Cured In Place Pipe used to renovate sewers ! I got my first break into the industry with DJ Ryan and Sons, who back in the 80’s were the pioneers of pipe-bursting! Then went on to be lucky enough to work for FlowMole, who introduced mini-directional drilling to the UK, at Galliford and Sons we helped develop epoxy spray lining for water mains rehabilitation and had fun with stuff like hydraulic pipe-bursting, and building the first vacuum excavator in our workshop in Northampton. What’s a little amusing is that I even managed to have a stint at Insituform, who had taken over where Edmund Nuttall had left off. Today, I’m Business Development Director for the new Morrison Water Services business and continue to be able to influence some of our thinking in this space.
Q: How/why did you get involved in UKSTT?
I think my background explains that, I feel it’s time to share the experiences of the last few decades, and promote the good work we as a sector can do, to a new younger audience that is still willing and excited to learn. In the early days, it was about saving the cost of reinstatement, today it’s a much bigger picture of not only cost, but also reducing customer disruption and helping reduce our carbon footprint.
Q: What goals do you want to achieve as a UKSTT Council Member?
Transfer my enthusiasm for trenchless technology to that new younger audience, with better robotics, use of AI, data management, GPS and other tech, I think our industry is about to come of age. We need more graduates involved and I’d love to mentor them and blend my excitement with their new data driven world.
Q: What do you see as being your own greatest personal achievement in the trenchless industry?
Being told by quite a few clients, in those early days (80s & 90s!), that pipe-bursting, directional drilling, spray lining and other trenchless techniques would never catch on !!! They said to me it was much better to dig a trench; and today, I see a lot of these being adopted as business as usual. Certainly helping take pipe-bursting from the gas sector to water, was great; watching client’s eyes pop out when we did the very first mini-directional drilling jobs under roads, railways, canals and rivers was pure joy and seeing the first ever vacuum unit operating, were all special moments.
Q: What do you currently see as the industry’s most urgent challenges?
Making sure we communicate with the new young engineers; at the moment, we think everyone knows this stuff but in reality, when I talk to the graduates, they don’t and we need to transfer our knowledge of the last thirty years to them.
Q: Where would you like to see UKSTT in 5 years?
Making sure we develop deeper relationships outside the supply chain, with clients who need to be adopters across gas, water, wastewater, electric, telecoms, and with stakeholders who can put pressure on the utility sector to use trenchless as the first option, not the last.