Lifetime Achievement 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.

2022 - John Hemphill

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.

Hemphill received NASTT’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and became a member of the NASTT Hall of Fame in 2017. He is a civil engineering graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland. He resides with his wife, Holly, an attorney now retired, in Arlington, Virginia USA.


2018 - Joop van Wamelen

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

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

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

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

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

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.