Digging Deeper - June 2023 - Akkerman

Digging Deeper – June 2023

Akkerman Inc.

Digging Deeper – June 2023

Iqudan Q Line South Project

Design Engineer: E.R. Itshaky-Microtunneling Isreal
Location: Bat Yam, Israel
Ground Conditions: Sliplining an existing and active sewer line
Type of Installation: Rehabilitation – Sliplining Method
Material: 70 to 78-in GRP
Footage Installation: 4,970-lf total (2,510-lf longest)
Equipment: Akkerman SLS-100 Sliplining System

The Q Line South Project required multiple diameters of GRP pipe ranging from 1,800-2,000-mm (70-78-in). Installed under live flow conditions, E.R. Itshaky was achieving 400-ft of installed pipe per shift.

Staff Highlight

Cole Kroneman came to Akkerman on May 28, 2019, as a GBM mechanic and today is a Mechanic/Senior Field Technician.

Nominated because:

“Cole does a great job in the field. He keeps a level head and helps solve tough problems. He’s a great asset on the technical team and always rises to the occasion.”

“Cole is reliable and dedicated. He’s willing to help customers on short notice, and the ‘hot-seat’ doesn’t phase him.”

“He recently visited a new customer’s project. We gave him good instructions, he listened and confirmed our diagnosis and the issue was resolved and the customer was up and running.”

“Cole is upbeat and willing to help. He provides very detailed change orders to help improve production quality.”

Admirable Qualities:

  • Helpful
  • Organized
  • Loyal
  • Kind
  • Reliable
  • Polite

25th Akkiversary

As of June 1, our congenial and dry-witted Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Jay Zimmerman, will have been with us for 25 years.

Jay’s financial oversight, strategy, and risk management have been instrumental in facilitating significant growth in the past quarter century. His sound judgment and improvements related to the company’s insurances, human resources functions, and employee compensation programs have benefited us all.

Wisconsin, born and raised, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Managerial Accounting from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. He later attained a Certificate in Managerial Accounting and Certified Public Accounting certificates to round out his education.

Before Akkerman, Jay was employed by Hormel Foods for 11 years as an internal auditor, accounting information system administrator, and lastly, Treasurer/Controller of one of their subsidiary companies.

The mixture of his responsibilities in his role at Akkerman has been professionally challenging and satisfying. He explains “several things I’ve learned over time without previous experience and definitely outside the strict definition of accounting,” like managing insurance policies and benefit plans. He sheepishly states, “It sounds corny, but my work family has also been a great source for work satisfaction,” commenting that Akkerman is a “great, team-oriented and positive work environment to come to work to.”

He recounts several notable projects of which he’s particularly proud. The first was the transition from Platinum to Globalshop ERP programs in 2006. Another was the multi-tiered improvements to our 401K plan – from Universal Pensions to Mercer, now Transamerica. The switch to Transamerica and oversight by Marsh & McLennan presents cost savings with better service that suits our long-tenured employees’ needs. In 2021, the switch from Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota to a self-insured plan with HealthEZ was intense but rewarding. In ever evolving health insurance market, the self-insured plan helps the company to gain clarity and exercise control over the company’s health insurance costs.

Jay has seen a lot evolve at Akkerman since 1998, from the size of the employee base to larger revenues and many more product offerings. He arrived shortly after the release of the microtunneling system when all of Akkerman’s products were manufactured and supported by about 40 people. Like others of the era, changes related to technology and how we do business rings at the top of the list. He quips, “We can no longer survive when the network is down.” In the late 1990s, the business environment was much less litigious compared to the “Complex regulations and compliance expectations of today,” he comments. He has had to adapt and react to continual bureaucratic regulations in his role. Very different than earlier in his career, he’s astounded when he reflects on the “sheer volume of service providers and regulatory hurdles that are required to support the actual functions.”

On personal note, although Jay’s generationally younger, he’s a huge fan of all things hippie. In the summer months, you’ll see him alternating his mode of transport between his 1972 VW Camper Bus and 1974 VW Bug with his everyday drivers. On sunny days he rotates in his 1984 Honda Shadow, which he purchased while in college.

Jay and his wife, Teri, reside in Austin. Their son Noah is a University of Minnesota student living at home this summer to intern at the Hormel Institute as a research assistant.

We extend hearty congratulations to Jay on this milestone work anniversary.

15th Akkiversary

On June 9, 2023, we’ll celebrate Tim Fay’s 15-year AKKiversary, but his affiliation and passion for engineering Akkerman equipment began several years earlier.

In 2005, following his junior year, Tim inquired about a summer internship posting at the University of Minnesota Mankato. Hired by Mike Brooks that summer, he was one of four interns and worked directly on the GBM 4812 jacking frame and 524 Haul Unit improvements, including the hand brake safety feature.

Tim returned in the summer of 2006 after completing his undergraduate degree and again over Christmas 2006 and spring break 2007 while working on his master’s in mechanical engineering. Later, when he completed this degree, he accepted a full-time position as a design engineer.

Tim arrived for his first day just as his department was transitioning from the old spaces above the now-initial process shop to its current location. His first workspace was a folding table in the corner of Mike’s office. Luckily the arrangement was short-lived.

In 2008, nearly all departments were actively involved in the EPB 113.5 build for the Avenue 45 and Arroyo Drive Relief Sewer headed to Los Angeles. Tim’s first responsibilities were documenting the system’s hydraulics and schematics.

Initially, Tim designed products in the GBM equipment line. His first work travel venture landed him in Bogota, Columbia, with Terry on a GBM project. He commented that it was eye-opening to see firsthand how necessary infrastructure improvements were and the impact the equipment could make in a community.

In 2011, Tim transitioned to conventional and microtunneling products, although his workload can involve any equipment line. The design for a faceaccess, periphery drive MTBM had existed for several years, but the product came to fruition with Tim’s design for the SL86P order for the Twinning of Etobicoke Creek Trunk Sanitary Sewer in 2015. He was also involved in the design of the TBM system used on the Michigan Ditch Tunnel in 2016 (and was one of the fortunate few who got to visit the project site!).

In August 2022, Tim was promoted to Chief Engineer of Mechanical Design. Lately, his time has been consumed with the SL100P system order headed to the Pawtucket project in Rhode Island in July, the 240A redesign, and the new mixed ground cutter heads in the RBU series. Tim’s also been instrumental in the DDM launch and daily management.

The challenges and variety in his role are what keep him inspired. He has formed some great working relationships with colleagues. Possessing a relaxed and approachable demeanor, he gets along with everyone. Tim comments that he’s impressed by how much we’ve grown since 2008, not only in day-to-day business practices but with the facilities changes, especially in welding and the machining shop.

Tim and his wife Rochelle reside in Grand Meadow, and their children Aubrey (6), Declan (4), and Margo (2). Living near his family’s home farm, he enjoys helping with farming activities, coaching 7-8 grade boys basketball (for 13 years), and playing golf.

When you see him, thank him for his significant contributions to Akkerman.

Risk and Reward

This employee photo is date stamped 7/13/95, and commemorates a time in our history that we took a lot of risk to roll out a new equipment line, but it ended up being one of the best decisions we ever made. Shortly after this was taken, a few celebratory beers were shared among coworkers and friends.

Celebrating 50 Years

2023 marks 50 years in business for Akkerman! Enjoy a highlight of our work over the years!