Lifetime Service Award Winners

In the mid to late 80s, leaders in the trenchless construction community began to form national and regional societies to promote the science and practice of trenchless technology for the public good. Today, there are approximately 30 Trenchless Societies, affiliated with ISTT, representing more than 40 countries that share this mission. More than a dozen of these societies have been affiliated with ISTT since the early 90s. Seven have been members of ISTT for more than 20 years.

Some Affiliated Societies now have, or have recently had, key figures retire -- individuals, who were instrumental in the formation of their society and in the promotion and advancement of trenchless technologies in their region. ISTT has established the ISTT Affiliated Society Lifetime Service Award to recognize these individuals for their contribution to advancing the acceptance of trenchless technologies in their region..

Any Affiliated Society may nominate candidates for the ISTT Affiliated Society Lifetime Service Award who have retired or are retiring from active participation in the trenchless industry. The application must state the name of the nominee, list relevant professional and educational background, and describe in 1,000 words or less the specific actions and activities of the candidate as they relate to the advancement of trenchless technology within the Affiliated Society. There is no limit to the number of individuals within a Society who may receive the ISTT Affiliated Society Lifetime Service Award so long as the individual fully meets the criteria for this award.

2023 - Mike King (SASTT- Southern African Society for Trenchless Technology)

Mike King Mike King is one of the most experienced and highly regarded professionals in the trenchless technology industry in South Africa. For over twenty years, he has been instrumental in the development and promotion of trenchless technologies for the installation, repair, and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure. His contributions have been invaluable in transforming the construction industry in South Africa, making it more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. King's advocacy for the use of trenchless technologies in place of traditional open-cut methods has been one of his most significant contributions to the industry. By promoting the use of trenchless technologies, King has helped to reduce excavation and disruption to communities, minimize environmental impacts, and improve safety on construction sites. His efforts have also contributed to the development of local skills and expertise in trenchless technologies, creating new job opportunities and promoting economic growth in the industry. Furthermore, King's work in developing and adapting trenchless technologies to suit the unique conditions and challenges of the South African construction industry has been invaluable.

King's contributions to the trenchless technology industry in South Africa have not gone unnoticed. His leadership and dedication to promoting the trenchless industry in South Africa have also been recognized, with him serving as the president of the South African Society for Trenchless Technology (SASTT) from 2011 to 2013. Under King's leadership, SASTT has become a leading voice in the trenchless technology industry, promoting best practices, providing training and education, and supporting research and development. His commitment to sharing his knowledge and expertise with other professionals in the industry has been invaluable, helping to promote the adoption of trenchless technologies and promote sustainability in the construction industry in South Africa and beyond. On commission from SASTT to prepare National Standards, he performed research and investigations to prepare standard specifications for Sliplining, Pipebursting, Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), Cured-In-Place-Pipe (CIPP) Lining and CCTV Inspections. 

Mike King's contributions to the trenchless technology industry in South Africa have been significant and far-reaching. His advocacy for the use of trenchless technologies, his technical expertise, and his leadership have helped to transform the South African construction industry, making it more sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective. King's legacy in the industry will continue for many years to come, inspiring future generations of engineers and construction professionals to adopt trenchless technologies and embrace innovation and sustainability in their work.


2023 - Jeff Pace (ASTT- Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology)

Jeff Pace Jeff Pace was introduced to the ISTT after he was appointed ASTT s Secretary/Treasurer and undertook all the National and Internanational formalities required to establish the formation of the ASTT with Menno Henneveld in 1991. Jeff was the inaugural ASTT Secretary when the Society began in 1991, and he has performed the role of Secretary and Treasurer since then. He has overseen the progression of the Society from its small beginnings to be an efficient, financially stable and leading industry representative for the trenchless technology industry.

Jeff has overseen the Society:

  • create the ASTT’s Incorporation, developed the Constitution and subsequent
  • revisions,
  • develop and maintain ASTT Strategic and Business Plans, publish 78 Trenchless Australasia magazine issues  in partnership with the ASTT media
  • partners Prime Creative Media (and Pipeline Publications Australia previously),
  • host 14 Australasian Exhibition and Conferences (No Dig Down Unders),
  • host 3 Internationall Exhibitionand Conferences (in collaboration with the International Society for Trenchless Technology),
  • grow membership from a handful to over 300 members,
  • grow the society finances to be in a safe and prudent position ready to assist theindustry, and  be regarded as one of the most stable and efficient Trenchless Societies in the world.

Jeff also significantly represented the ASTT in its membership with the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT) serving as the ASTT’s contact for many years, attending more than 20 ISTT International Board meetings,  and serving as an ISTT Executive Sub-Committee member for over six years. He also assisted on several ISTT sub-committees over the years including the Governance Committee and acted as ISTT Trustee for the ASTT.

These are just some of the activities that have been carried out by Jeff Pace for the ASTT, all of which have been performed in an exemplary manner. His attention to detail, his strong focus on customer service, and his high level of integrity have meant he enjoys a high level of respect from those in the industry. At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Society, the ASTT Council nominated and approved Jeff Pace to become a Life Member of the ASTT in recognition of his service. Jeff becomes the Society’s second Life Member, joining his friend the late Menno Henneveld as Life Members of the ASTT.


2023 - Ian Vickridge (UKSTT-United Kingdom Society for Trenchless Technology)

Ian Vickridge  Ian Vickridge graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from University College London in 1968. His first posting as a civil engineer was with Sir William Halcrow in Vancouver. Ian returned to the UK in 1970 and worked on the design and site supervision of sewers and sewage treatment works before earning an MSc degree in Public Health Engineering.

Ian worked abroad in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore for several years before returning to the UK in 1984 when he took up a post as a Senior Lecturer at Manchester University, where he taught Water and Environmental Engineering and undertook research and consultancy in a variety of projects related to trenchless technology, including acting as an expert witness in several cases. It was during this period that he first became interested in trenchless technology, partly as a consequence of attending the first No Dig Conference and Exhibition in 1985. Ian remained in that post until 1999 when he started his own consultancy specialising in trenchless technology. Much of the work he was doing at the time was in Hong Kong and so it was that in 2004 he joined Black & Veatch (now Binnies) in Hong Kong as a technical director leading a team mainly involved with the trenchless rehabilitation of water mains and sewers until he retired from there in 2011 to return to UK. Whilst there he was able to pass on information on new trenchless methods to the project team to enable the problems of pipeline deterioration and leakage to be solved. He still occasionally provides technical advice to them when needed. 

Ian joined ISTT after the first No Dig conference in 1985 and, when it was decided to set up the UKSTT in 1993, he became a member of the first management team of the society and negotiated for the UKSTT office to be based within the university. Ian later became the Technical Secretary for a period and has also been Chair and Vice Chair of the Society. Apart from the time he spent in Hong Kong, Ian has been a member of UKSTT since its inception in 1993. Whilst in Hong Kong, he was a member of the China Hong Kong Society (CHKSTT) and also Chair of that Society for several years.

Ian was present at the start of the trenchless movement in the UK back in the 1980s and carried out research into social costs associated with open trenches and compared that with the social costs of trenchless methods. Bringing the social costs associated with increased traffic disruption to the attention of the community was one way by which trenchless methods were more readily accepted and paid for. Ian has been an important part of UKSTT since 1993 and still plays an important role in the running of the organization, especially in terms of advice and technical support. Ian continues to support UKSTT’S connections within UK universities and consultancy companies.


2022 - John Hemphill (ISTT - International Society for Trenchless Technology)

John Hemphill In many ways, John Hemphill’s professional background put him on a path to Trenchless and ISTT. He began his career as a civil engineer with local governments in the US where he worked on urban infrastructure improvements. He took his technical expertise to the US Federal government and then to the International Energy Agency in Paris, where he worked with delegates from member countries to set sound energy policies and programs.

He was later chosen to be the first Congressional Fellow for the American Society of Civil Engineers where he participated on behalf of the engineering profession in the development of transportation and infrastructure legislation in the US. And as a management consultant, he studied and recommended trenchless methods for installation of underground utility services by a US city.

He and Trenchless formally came together in 1998, when he became a member of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology team. He soon became NASTT’s Executive Director. With Hemphill’s leadership, NASTT expanded its education and training programs and developed the first Good Practices Guidelines. Society membership expanded and the groups’ annual No-Dig Show also grew in size and scope.

Hemphill became the Executive Director of the International Society for Trenchless Technology in 2008. He continued to advocate for expanding the reach of trenchless through education and training. ISTT introduced Masterclasses, modeled after NASTT training, as a means of spreading the benefits of trenchless worldwide. In addition, ISTT introduced a grant program to support education and training programs of member societies. The grant program, which continues today, provides financial support to member societies for their outreach efforts and serves as an incentive for the creation of trenchless training globally.


2018 - Joop van Wamelen (SASTT- Southern African Society for Trenchless Technology)

John HemiphillThe ISTT Affiliated Society Lifetime Service Award was bestowed posthumously on Joop van Wamelen, the founder of the Southern African Society for Trenchless Technology (SASTT), who died in 2015. For 24 years, Joop guided the society as a board member, President, Past President, and Honorary Director. In recognition of his contributions, SASTT established the Joop van Wamelen Award of Excellence for deserving projects.


2014 - Taigo Matsui (JSTT - Japan Society for Trenchless Technology)

Upon graduating from Kyushu University in the mid 60s, Taigo Matsui began his career with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MILIT) where over the next 30 years he served in ever-increasingly responsible positions within the organization. By the early 1990s, Mr. Matsui had become the head of the Sewer Department in MILT.

In 2003, Mr. Matsui took on leadership responsibilities at the Japan Institute of Wastewater Engineering and Technology (JIWET) where he served as its Director, and with the Japan Institute for Trenchless Technology (JSTT) where served as its Chairman for over a decade.

Under his leadership JSTT broaden its membership from primarily sewer and water utilities to include the gas, and telecommunications industry, as well as other underground utility industries. As Chairman of JSTT, Mr. Matsui diligently promoted the application of new trenchless technologies to solve the challenges of installing and repairing underground utilities.

His commitment to encouraging the use of new and innovative trenchless applications helped stimulate the development of new trenchless technologies in Japan. During his tenure as head of JSTT, the Society received several awards from ISTT for Academic Research and Product Development.

During much of his time as JSTT Chairman, Mr. Matsui also served as its representative with the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT) where he was a member of the ISTT management team. As a member of the ISTT Executive Committee, Mr. Matsui dedicated himself to growing ISTT's membership in nearby Asian Countries.

Taigo Matsui's energy and enthusiasm, and commitment to trenchless has helped grow the industry in his native Japan and in other parts of the world. Many of us feel fortunate to have known and worked with Taigo Matsui.

2014 - Tsung-Shen Liao (CTSTT- Chinese Taipei Society for Trenchless Technology)

Dr. Tsung-Shen Liao is a highly respected and important member of the trenchless technology industry in Taiwan. Dr. Liao served as CTSTT Chairman retiring in 2009. In 2014 CTSTT named Dr. Liao Honorary Chairman of CTSTT. Under Dr. Liao's leadership, CTSTT developed the Guideline of Rehabilitation by Trenchless Technologies and launched Underground Pipelines, the official periodical of CTSTT.

Throughout his career, Dr. Liao was a key member of the Public Construction Commission, the Water Resource Agency, and the Taiwan Water Corporation where he was involved in the development of design and construction codes for Taiwan. Although officially retired, Dr. Liao remains active in the construction business. He is currently the Secretary-General of the Taiwan General Contractors Association where he continues to promote the development of trenchless technologies.

2014 - Michel Mermet (FSTT- French Society for Trenchless Technology)

Michel Mermet is an exceptional leader with over 25 years experience as an advocate for the advancement of trenchless technology in France and beyond. In 1990 Mr. Mermet led an initiative to establish FSTT as an affiliated society of ISTT. At the time of FSTT's creation, Michel Mermet headed the Val de Marne Technical Department in charge of water and wastewater.

In 1993, Mr. Mermet became Chairman of ISTT. He also served as Chairman of FSTT - a position he held for many years. He subsequently was named Chairman Emeritus of FSTT. After retiring from the French Ministry of Public Works, Mr. Mermet established a consulting practice focused on the development and advancement of trenchless technologies. During this time, he was a key player in FSTT's successful opening of a delegation in the French Reunion Island - a union that shows much promise for extending the application of trenchless beyond France proper.

2013 - Menno Henneveld (ASTT- Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology)

Menno Henneveld became involved with the ISTT when he attended and participated in the 1990 Osaka No-Dig International Conference and Exhibition.

Henneveld was an early advocate of trenchless technology in Australia and a leader in the formation of the Australian Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT), which became the Australasian Society in 1994 with the addition of New Zealand as a member. In 1991, He became the inaugural Chairman of the ASTT, a position he held until 2009. As Chairman of the ASTT, Henneveld served on the ISTT Board of Directors and in 1993 chaired a working group to produce ISTT's first Strategic Plan.

Under Henneveld's leadership, ASTT applied a business approach to identify the future needs and direction of the Society to further trenchless applications in the region. In support of this effort, ASTT held seven national, and two International Conference and Exhibitions in Australia - the 2000 International No-Dig in Perth and the 2006 International No-Dig in Brisbane.

In 1998, he was appointed one of two Vice Presidents of ISTT and joined the Executive Sub-committee in October 1999. Henneveld was elected ISTT Vice Chairman in May 2002 becoming the Chairman in 2005. He served as ISTT Chairman until September 2007, and was the Immediate Past Chairman of ISTT and Chairman of ASTT until he left the trenchless industry in 2009.

2012 - Stanislav Drabek (CzSTT- Czech Society for Trenchless Technology)

Stanislav Drabek received the ISTT Lifetime Service Award for his leadership and many contributions to trenchless technology in the Czech Republic. Mr. Drabek is the first to receive this award, which is given to a retired affiliated society member who has been instrumental in the formation of the society and in the promotion and advancement of trenchless technologies in the region.

Mr. Drabek's list of accomplishments in the field of trenchless technology in the Czech Republic is impressive. Through his membership in ISTT in the late 1980s, Mr. Drabek became familiar with the potential opportunities and benefits of trenchless. In 1990, Mr. Drabek formed AD Servis Terrabor - a trenchless construction company. By 1993, Mr. Drabek had grown his business to over twenty employees.

During this same period, Mr. Drabek led in the formation of a trenchless society in the Czech Republic. In 1994, he signed an agreement with ISTT making the CzSTT the 13th regional society to affiliate with ISTT. Since the CzSTT became a member of ISTT, Mr. Drabek has served in numerous leadership roles including Vice-President and Chair of CzSTT. He has played a significant role in organizing all 17 of CzSTT's National No-Dig conferences. Additionally, he has also served as the Chairman of the editorial board of the CzSTT magazine.

In 2001 Mr. Drabek chaired the organizing committee for the successful 2001 International No-Dig held in Prague. He has been an effective international representative for CzSTT taking part in all ISTT International No-Dig conferences and participating in every ISTT Board meeting. Under his leadership, the CzSTT has grown and thrived. During his watch, members of CzSTT have won eight first place ISTT Annual Awards, a testimonial to the commitment of CzSTT members and Stanislav Drabek to trenchless solutions.