Industry News

KorTerra Announces Key Executive Changes

KorTerra, Inc., a SaaS utility damage prevention software solutions provider located in Minneapolis, MN, announced in April the appointment of Mitch Stendal as President. Stendal previously held the title of Chief Strategist and championed several initiatives throughout his tenure with the company.

Don Lewis, former KorTerra President, will now serve as Chief Operating Officer. In his new role, Lewis will oversee critical operational functions.

“I am very excited for Mitch in his new role as president,” said KorTerra’s CEO, Chris Stendal. “His strategic approach to business and focus on innovation along with his technical abilities and leadership skills will be instrumental in positioning KorTerra for future growth.”

For over 30 years, KorTerra has worked with stakeholders in gas distribution, pipeline operation, telecommunications, electric distribution, contact locating, as well as city, county, and state governments to improve their damage prevention solutions.

Midwest Mole Wins Top NUCA Award

Midwest Mole, an Indiana-based trenchless construction contractor, was honored in April with NUCA’s top 2019 trenchless construction job award and the top overall award for their part in an emergency project in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. An existing 7-foot by 7-foot Ohio River Interceptor sewer directly underneath Main Street was in danger of collapsing. Louisville Metro Sewer District pulled together a team of experts to fix the problem, including Midwest Mole, Thompson Pumps, Ulliman Schutte Construction and Boyer, Inc.

Midwest Mole was awarded with NUCA’s top award for their part in this project because of the unique challenges posed by the location, the timeline, and scope of work. Additionally, it included multiple types of trenchless construction from rehab to tunneling to bypassing.


(Underground Construction) – The Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University has partnered with the Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) to offer a five-day Utility Investigation School (UIS).

The first 2020 UIS was held in early March and addressed the two performance goals of ASCE 38: How can a project be designed so as to have minimal utility issues during project development, and how can the professionals protect themselves against utility-related claims. The school curriculum was developed by Jim Anspach, Chair ASCE 38 and 2018 UESI President, and covered geophysics, utility systems construction and configuration, ASCE 38 risk-based presentations, and professional liability issues.

Dr. Samuel Ariaratnam Receives ISTT Gold Medal

(Trenchless Technology) – At ISTT’s 2019 International No-Dig Conference, held in Florence, Dr. Samuel Ariaratnam was awarded the prestigious ISTT Gold Medal, the society’s highest honor, presented to individuals who have made an outstanding and exceptional individual contribution to trenchless technology.

Dr. Ariaratnam becomes just the seventh recipient of the Gold Medal in the society’s 34-year history. He got involved in the industry in 1966 as a faculty member in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Alberta in Canada. He received his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign and is currently a registered Professor at Arizona State University. Dr. Ariaratnam has published more than 200 technical papers in trenchless technology and sustainable urban infrastructure systems (including the *Horizontal Directional Drilling: Good Practices Guidelines* book he co-authored with Dr. David Bennett) and holds five patents.

Industry Icon Passes Away from COVID-19

(Underground Construction) – Michels Corporation, a national utility contractor with headquarters located in Brownsville, Wisconsin, announced the passing of industry icon Robert “Bob” Westphal on April 1st. Westphal, who spent 55 years with Michels, reportedly had contracted COVID-19.

During his career, Westphal filled many roles, including laborer, operator, foreman, superintendent, general superintendent, vice president, senior vice president and, at the time of his death, senior construction advisor. In 2019, he was inducted into the North American Society for Trenchless Technology Hall of Fame. He was also an active member of the Pipe Line Contractors Association, where he served on the Board of Directors for 13 years and as president in 2005.

NUCA Chapter Raises Money for Tornado Victims

The Middle Tennessee Chapter of NUCA (National Utility Contractors Association) raised $24,250 in April to help families affected by a recent destructive tornado. A letter was sent to members of NUCA of Middle Tennessee by Chapter President Matt Mingus challenging each member to donate $1,000 or any amount they felt appropriate to the Tornado Relief Fund. The effort was also supported by the Georgia Utility Contractors Association (GUCA).

Companies contributing to the effort (as of this writing) included Rock Solutions, Cleary Construction, Team Construction, Hawkins & Price, NUCA of Colorado, Portland Utilities, Vermeer Heartland and members of the Georgia Utility Contractors Association. Mingus said the money raised will go to employees of member companies of NUCA of Middle Tennessee that were affected by the tornado.

The Middle Tennessee Chapter of NUCA is a non-profit trade association representing more than 43 contractors and affiliated firms in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. The association represents licensed utility contractors and companies who install and repair new and existing water, sewer, gas, electrical, telecommunications and other underground utility systems for the public and private sector.


(CTV News) – The COVID-19 pandemic is keeping people at home and causing many to look for projects around the house to keep themselves busy. Many of these projects involve gardening or landscaping, and BC 1 Call is warning residents to “click or call” before taking on any home project.

“Taking the time to submit a locate request to BC 1 Call is critical to your safety, and the safety of your neighbors,” said Chris Hyland, BC 1 Call president. “Let’s remember that many more people are home right now relying on their gas, internet and water supplies. If a line is damaged and repairs are needed, most crews wouldn’t be able to maintain the mandated physical distancing protocols while fixing the problem.”

BC 1 Call reminds homeowners that they must submit a locate request three days prior to any digging or excavating and that they are not cleared to dig until all utility companies with potential buried infrastructure in the area have provided details on their underground systems.

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