Brian Dorwart Inducted into NASTT Hall of Fame

The NASTT Hall of Fame is pleased to welcome Brian Dorwart, Senior Consultant at Brierley Associates as its 2024 inductee. The Hall of Fame honors NASTT members who have made outstanding accomplishments and exceptional contributions to the advancement of the North American trenchless industry and NASTT.

As Trenchless Technology techniques were gaining popularity in the US during the late 70s, Brian Dorwart was working in the construction industry as a geologist, geotechnical exploration driller, and construction technician. Immediately following completion of his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, he started work with a geotechnical engineering firm diving into technical analyses, and management of projects involving geology, geotechnical engineering, underground construction, and geotechnical instrumentation. Dorwart has provided expertise on projects ranging from heavy construction of pipelines, tunnels, dams, and highways, to light industrial buildings and dynamic machine foundations. His area of specialization is the interaction of ground to excavation tools and/or natural environmental processes and ground modification for construction. This specialization has been applied to trenchless technologies including directional drilling, small to large tunnels, soil/rock stability in shoreline protection systems, landslides, during permitting, design, and construction. His management experience includes developing strategies for bid preparation, risk based design, conceptual design, research and development, construction engineering, forensic analyses, and consulting.

Dorwart’s extensive range of expertise in trenchless technologies has contributed to the industry and knowledge base through an understanding of the interaction of subsurface engineering and geology, leaving a legacy of technological advances within the industry and projects throughout North America.

In addition authoring more than 20 papers for NASTT No-Dig Shows, Dorwart has contributed papers or articles to AWWA, GeoStrata, ASCE, ISTT, Trenchless World, UCT, Geotechnical Instrumentation News, Trenchless Technology, DCCA, Tunnel Business Magazine, Geosynthetics, ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal, US Rock Mechanics Conference, and the Society of Mining.

Upon being told the news, Dorwart responded, “This is quite an honor. I’m honored to just have been considered.” He discussed his commitment to spreading knowledge, getting new engineers excited about trenchless and advancing the profession. “Knowledge is key these days. The more we can pass it around the better. Somebody helped us. Somebody encouraged us,” he remarked. Brian is dedicated to paying it forward having spent a lot of time in the industry, especially in the early 90s as part of the Northeast Trenchless Association and the formation of the Northeast Regional Chapter by helping folks solve problems. “I try to support the young people and get them involved in presenting papers. My name doesn’t need to be on it,” he said. “They’re doing the work and gaining the experience. That’s just part of being an engineer.”

Brian’s induction will be celebrated at the NASTT No-Dig Show on April 16 during the Casino Royale. Purchase your ticket when you register to attend the conference.

NASTT Selects 2023 Ralston Young Trenchless Achievement Award Recipient

The Ralston Young Trenchless Achievement Award applauds savvy members under 36 who demonstrate excellence early in their careers by making valuable contributions to the trenchless technology industry and NASTT.

Please join NASTT in celebrating the 2023 recipient: Marya Jetten, P.Eng. at Jacobs in Toronto, Ontario.

Young Trenchless Achievement Award Selection Committee Chair, Chris Sivesind, Territory Manager at Akkerman and NASTT staff made a surprise call to Marya to share the news. “We had an impressive group of candidates. Marya made immeasurable contributions to the NASTT community, especially the Canadian chapters.” Chris said.

Marya, was thrilled to hear the news with her four-month old in her arms. “It is a privilege to be recognized for my passion for all things trenchless“ she said acknowledging the inspirational careers of previous recipients, some of whom are now her mentors and colleagues.

In Marya Jetten’s 12 years as an Engineer, she has gained in-depth experience in a wide variety of trenchless technologies for conveyance installation and renewals. “NASTT has provided me with a robust industry network and continuous education in trenchless technology,” she said. “I am honored to be recognized by NASTT for my contributions to the trenchless community.”

Marya is regular presenter and attendee at well-established Canadian, North American & Global conferences, where she expands her network and builds her knowledge on rapidly changing industry standards, available and applicable products for various applications and the ever-expanding boundaries being pushed for installation methods. She shares this knowledge with her Jacobs peers as the Jacobs Global Technology Leader for Condition Assessment and Rehabilitation Solutions.

“Marya’s communication skills help maintain cohesiveness within the team, recruit new members, and elevate the overall level of excellence in delivery,” said Daniel Buonadonna, Senior Technologist at Jacobs, who was thrilled to nominate Marya. “Marya uses her leadership influence to raise awareness of trenchless technologies and enable project success across the continent.”

Marya served as the Co-Chair of the Technical Program Committee for No-Dig North 2022, after volunteering for the conference in 2021. Bruce Yao, Vice President of Testing at Paragon Systems Testing who also served as Co-chair noted that her extensive project management experience was instrumental in the conference’s success. “

Her positive can-do attitude also made her a joy to work with as a team; she brought the most out of the people working around her.” Gerald Bauer, Principal Water at Stantec Consulting Ltd. Was also a No-Dig North volunteer. “She worked tirelessly in her role…doing an amazing job to make the conference a huge success,” he said. Marya also serves as the GLSLA Chapter Vice-Chair.

In addition to her chapter and committee activities, Marya has been an author and presenter at both the NASTT No-Dig Show and No-Dig North. Her six technical papers are available through the NASTT technical paper library.

Matthew Izzard, NASTT Executive Director, thanked Marya for her NASTT involvement and enthusiasm and for being among the best of the best of young trenchless professionals. Special recognition of Marya will take place at the NASTT No-Dig Show in Portland.

Join Marya and other trenchless professionals in their 20s and 30s at the combined Young Professionals/Student/Municipal Scholarship Social on Sunday, April 30 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM in the Portland Ballroom Lobby.

Remembering W. Michael Byrne (1923-2022)

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic — W. Michael “Mike” Byrne, age 99, peacefully passed away at home on Sunday morning, October 16, 2022. Mike embodied the spirit of The Greatest Generation in his drive and his passion for helping those in need, be it his family; his fellow Mansfielders; or the underserved communities in the country he held dear to his heart, the Dominican Republic.

Mike was the son of Ruth (Cannon) and Lawrence Morris Byrne, and was born July 1, 1923, in Minot, North Dakota. At age 3, his family moved to Port Huron, Michigan, where he grew up—but in 1931, at the height of The Great Depression, Mike’s father left his mother and five siblings. To help make money for his mother, Mike started working at the age of 8. His jobs were many and varied, from selling newspapers and flowers on the street corners, to selling jewelry and whiskey (Mike was a very proud Irishman). He also worked at Hayden’s Upholstery. When Mr. Hayden died, he left his 1927 Ford Model T to Mike; at age 12, Mike owned his first car. To his last days, Mike always said, “We were poor, but because of my mother, we never knew we were poor.”

In 1943 he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps; he became a 2nd Lt. Bombardier/Navigator. After the war, Mike worked for Evans Products Co. in Detroit. In 1949, the Small Appliance Division of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation recruited Mike and he moved to Mansfield, Ohio. He worked at Westinghouse for the next 15 years; it was there he met “the most beautiful lady in town,” his future wife, Lois Hershey.

Mike rose through the ranks at Westinghouse, eventually becoming the National Marketing Manager and overseeing the company’s sales and marketing efforts. For a three-year period, he was transferred to New York City’s Manhattan office before returning to the Mansfield office.

In 1966 Mike started his own business, Michael Byrne Manufacturing, a manufacturer of horizontal earth boring machines. This business eventually expanded into tunneling, coal augering and environmental clean-up machines and equipment. For his efforts in manufacturing, Mike was inducted this past September into the North Central Ohio Industrial Museum’s “Champions of Industry.”

In Mansfield, Mike was active in many businesses and organizations and was always willing to lend a hand. From the early ’60s to the mid ’80s, he was the agent for Greyhound Bus Lines and Western Union. He was the first president of the St. Peter’s High School Booster Club and a member of the St. Peter’s Board of Education; he was on the founding board of the St. Peter’s Summer Festival. He was also on the founding board of The Store (now The New Store), which provides clothing to children in need.

When he moved to the Dominican Republic in his later years, Mike was still very active and passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. He and Lois helped fund and subsidize the construction and operation of a primary school in the city of Puerto Plata. Together they also founded and funded a nationwide program and worked with CitiHope International to import and distribute medicine and medical supplies for the poor. Mike was most proud of this program and its evolution; it is now heavily funded and supported by Rica, the largest juice and dairy products company in the Dominican Republic.

Mike’s hobbies were not many—he always said he was too busy working—but he was an avid fisherman and enjoyed woodworking.

Mike is survived by his children Terrence Byrne, Jeremiah Byrne, Laura (James) Weist, Leslie (David) Eichinger, Lynn Stone, Lisa (Mike) Bumb, Brian (Carol) Byrne, (Shawn) Byrne Felton; 19 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren who lovingly knew him as “Great Mike.” Mike was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Lois; and his son Chris. A memorial service with family and friends will take place at a later time, with whiskey and memories flowing freely.

We are all so thankful for Mike’s extraordinary life and for all the lives he touched. Condolences can be sent to; memorial contributions may be made to The New Store, P.O. Box 2525, Mansfield, Ohio 44906.

Funeral home : Funeral arrangements are being handled in the Dominican Republic

Mike will be inducted into the Manufacturer’s Hall of Fame this year. View a video honoring his life and industry contributions here.

Michael Byrne Manufacturing Welcomes Jeff Eglin as Senior Design Engineer

Michael Byrne manufacturing welcomes Jeff Eglin as Senior Design Engineer.

Jeff has a B.S. in business administration and a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Jeff has 27 years of experience in the mechanical engineering field. Jeff spent 12 years with American Augers focusing on power system engineering related to hydraulics and engine power plant design, mechanical engineering, and engineering project management. Jeff’s early career focused on wood-chipper design and industrial honing machine design. Michael Byrne Mfg continues to invest in talented people who share a common goal of providing dependable, safe, industry leading underground equipment and tooling for the Utility Contractor.




Who Will the New Generation of Engineers Follow?

Who Will the New Generation of Engineers Follow?
The need to inspire through meaning.

By: Keivan Rafie, P.Eng., M.Eng., PMP, ENV SP, CDT
Hatch Ltd.

Meaning in What We Do

A young boy was visiting a rural village with his father, a chief engineer who was looking at the ongoing site works for a water conveyance project that would provide nearby towns and villages with clean water. Water that wasn’t brown. Water that was safe. As the boy was being impressed by the scale of the engineering and construction activities, he noticed a village member ask his father if he and other staff on the job could close the site for one day. The villager offered for some locals to accompany them on a tour of the nearby towns so they can show their appreciation of their hard work on behalf of the community in their own way. His father replied, “Thank you. I’m sure the other staff and I would enjoy that a lot; but, nothing makes us happier than seeing your community provided with clean water even a day sooner. You’ve waited long enough.” That boy was inspired and determined to become an engineer from that moment. He saw the meaning achieved through engineering.

More than Salaries and Titles

New engineering graduates spend years preparing to achieve what they are passionate about and making a difference in society. They also understand they will spend around a third of each working day interacting with coworkers and managers. For some, this is more than they have with family and friends.

The new generation of engineers understands that choosing a firm or team to work with is as important as choosing a close friend or partner. They seek a team that shares their core personal ideals and social values and understands what they stand for. They seek leaders who prioritize career development and personal growth not just with paycheques – but with values and decisions.

In the past two decades, I have seen many astounded employers who have lost engineering staff to other companies — some  worryingly, to other industries.  Of course, some firms with high-profile projects offering appealing positions and exciting salaries can attract and keep new hires for the short term. But these may not be enough to keep those hires committed to stay when companies go through slow periods or when they cannot offer expected salary increases.

If the inducements we give employees to stay put are the ones other well-managed companies can give, i.e., a paycheque and title, then there is no reason for younger staff not to explore other options when available. It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with providing incentives for retention. The danger is that they work so well in the short term that many employers and employees lose sight of the bigger picture.

When it comes to being deeply devoted or passionate about a company’s long-term vision and future, something more than financial incentives is needed to differentiate the company from other employers. That something is meaning and purpose.

New generation engineers generally need to have a purpose. Otherwise, they may feel lost. When we ask people why they work, among the first responses are typically to ‘pay the rent and bills’ or ‘put food on the table’. Everyone knows though that in addition to financial security, work needs to provide other benefits, such as opportunities to learn new skills, a chance to engage with others as social beings, the pride in accomplishment, and most importantly, being identified with a meaningful purpose.

Good Answers. Wrong questions.

Most companies recognize that their financial and technical success depends on encouraging employees to perform well in terms of their accountability, flexibility and responsiveness. These important factors shape the challenges that companies can undertake and how well they perform. Such demands generate a lot of interest in finding out what type of salary, title and benefit stimulates the new workforce to perform better in particular areas.

There is also a vast amount of literature on what companies can do or what type of management style attracts the best talent in a competitive market. Yet much of the workforce still does not consider what it does as its dream job, and if asked how it feels about its role in the company, very few will respond passionately or state that “there is no other place I would rather be”. Unfortunately, we may have gathered very good answers to the wrong questions.

Leaders for a New Generation

The topic of leadership generates shelves and shelves of books. Most leadership books are about management efficiency, office politics, how to impress your boss, or organizational psychology at best, disguised under different leadership keywords. But there is one and only one standard by which individuals or organizations can be considered as ‘leaders’: to have followers. That is because we follow those who have inspired us. We follow not because we need to, but because we want to. We follow to be better and to add meaning to what we do day in and day out. We follow those who would unconditionally have our backs when needed. We are happy to help them with anything only because we know they will do the same for us when the time comes.

The new generation of engineers understands the need for competence to tackle unprecedented global challenges. They also know they have options as to which industry to work in and which firm to work for. Of course, a good salary and benefits are basic requirements, but with so many companies around that can provide a fair compensation package, a reasonable paycheque and title may not be sufficiently enticing. Therefore, we need to start asking better questions to understand what young engineers value. For example, see if you’ve asked and known the answers to these:

  • What gets them out of bed every morning and makes them feel they have an exciting, meaningful job?
  • What makes them feel they have a future in the company and industry they work for?
  • Knowing their skills and capabilities, where do you see them ten years from now?
  • Are you mentoring them for what they need to do several years from now by exposing them to those communications and experiences any time you could?
  • What about their work and the projects that make them and their families proud and give them a feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves?
  • How are is their work making a difference to society and do they go to bed knowing they have improved the lives of their community, even by a little?

To find the right answers to questions like these, we need to embrace the meaning of what we do and believe in the vision that inspired us.

Start with Why

If a firm’s president and other senior managers decided to come up with an impactful message to motivate staff and show how exceptional the company was in the eyes of clients and the public, they would have missed the point of defining a company’s vision. This type of corporate vision (if we can call it that) is focused on the ‘”what” and the “how”, not the “why”.

In reality, what we are and how we do things should only serve as proof of our vision, not the vision itself. If our vision is authentic, it will inspire people to do everything through the guiding principles required to reach that goal. A true vision is usually ‘born’ (not made) by the founders of any firm and then evolves to something more through inspiration by the next generation of employees who join the cause. A true vision has the ‘why’.

When a company’s vision can be ‘believed’ and is capable of giving meaning to employees’ lives, many other things happen naturally. We see that everyone working around us becomes a leader to inspire others who would follow and, at the same time, results in happier work life, higher motivation, and a sense of purpose and teamwork to achieve what the whole team believes in.

Of course, any company that operates in such an inspiring environment (as a byproduct) will do better in servicing its clients, winning new projects, and hiring exceptional staff who remain loyal to the company for reasons other than salary and title. These inspired employees will then prove their loyalty to the shared values they believe in — the ‘why’ — by ‘what’ they do and ‘how’ they do it. These motivated individuals will then become a source of inspiration for other newly hired employees. From there, every decision, every product, and every communication becomes tangible evidence of what they are inspired by.

Many firms in the engineering and consulting world can check the same ‘what’ box (doing the same type of work and having the same experience), many of them also check all the necessary ‘how’ boxes (the best practices and expected ethical and professional standards). Firms with an inspiring vision have the ‘why’ that causes young engineers to choose to follow them.

When the company’s cause inspires young engineers, the decision to join and remain with the group is now more about who they are and less about the company they work for.

To lead this generation, we need to be clear and authentic about the meaning and purpose of what we do; then, everything we do, we do in a way that progresses that ultimate goal. There is no surprise that in such an environment, our actions and words will always be consistent, and the quality of our work becomes a consequence of the direction in which we are heading, not the goal itself.

Keivan Rafie is the Deputy Regional Director – Tunnels at Hatch Ltd. In Vancouver, British Columbia. Keivan has worked on tunnel, mining and ground improvement projects since 2001. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mining Engineering and completed a Master’s of Science degree in both Tunneling and Project Management. Keivan is an ardent supporter of engaging, encouraging and developing young engineering professionals. As a member of NASTT, Keivan has served on the NASTT No-Dig Show Technical Program Committee and on the Outstanding Paper Judges Panel.

NASTT Partners with UCA and Down for That

The North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) is pleased to announce it has partnered with the Underground Construction Association (UCA), a division of the Society of Mining Metallurgy and Exploration, Inc.

The objective of this initiative it to work collaboratively toward the betterment and technical innovation of the tunneling, underground and trenchless technology industries.

NASTT will be a key supporting organization of Down For That, which is the UCA outreach initiative specifically to universities, students, and university professors. Other key supporting organizations of Down For That are the ASCE Geo-Institute, Deep Foundations Institute, The Beavers, and the Moles.

NASTT will contribute to resources included on to promote scholarships, tunnel tours, industry profiles, and all other items on the Down For That website for the benefit of members as a collective outreach initiative.

If you are interested in learning more and contributing to this effort please attend the informational meeting to be held during the NASTT 2022 No-Dig Show on Tuesday, April 12 from 2:00-3:00 PM in room 101J.

For more information please visit: