Digging Deeper - September 2022 - Akkerman

Digging Deeper – September 2022

Akkerman Inc.

Digging Deeper – September 2022

Microtunneling Market Strong In North America

Below is an excerpt from Tunnel Business Magazine.

Additionally, expanded knowledge in general are helping to improve the market, says Jason Holden, vice president and chief revenue officer for Akkerman Inc.

“A solid understanding of when, where, and how to apply the microtunneling method is a key to a successful installation,” Holden says. “There are several educational opportunities throughout the year along with many great resources just a few clicks or a phone call away. Just like anything, knowledge is power. The more we understand how trenchless systems work and why the equipment is designed to do what it does, the better we can select the right tool for the job.”

While microtunneling is a trenchless method that can be used in any region across North America, Holden says there is some variation in where the market share of projects is concentrated. “Nearly 95 percent of microtunneling projects are funded through municipal, state, county and federal funding,” Holden says. “In the past five years, there has been an uptick in the trenchless market in states such as Texas, California, New York, Illinois and Florida.”

Holden adds that those states are also slated to get a larger percentage of funding passed down through the Infrastructure Bill that as of press time was still being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Even though we don’t know the final outcome of the infrastructure package at this time, we can be certain that the passage will stimulate growth for the future of our industry across all of North America,” he says.

Fond Send Off

Jack Lane retired from Akkerman after nearly a decade of field technician service and microtunneling mechanics. Before he headed out for his next life adventure, we got to enjoy his radiating smile, some laughs, and a good meal in his honor on August 18. We will greatly miss Jack’s pleasant disposition and positivity!

25th Akkiversary

Lamont Andrews came to Akkerman on September 22, 1997, as one of four in our field technician pool. At the 25-year mark, Lamont is our longest-standing field technician and has logged over 100,000 feet of project footage.

He laughs as he explains that the entirety of his initial training on TBM operation lasted three days alongside Robin on an EJM project in Appleton, WI. His training for our GBM operation was even briefer when he was instructed one afternoon by our then operations manager to “test it in the shop and read the operator’s manual on the plan in the morning.” Granted, we were in a pinch, but luckily our equipment training program is much more robust today. He gratefully describes those pivotal in his mentoring were Maynard and Doug.

As you can imagine, having this much footage under your belt enables one to become very in tune with our equipment. Lamont explains, “I’ve learned to listen to the equipment for ground condition identification and changes based on feel. Often you can hear it in the machine or through the pilot tubes.” He’s proud of his 600-club status, earned on a customer’s project in Iowa for a 632-ft. pilot tube run.

“I have learned a lot from customers over the years, including alternative and sometimes better ways to do the same job.” Lamont states that TBM projects are his favorite: “You can see what’s in front of you, what you’re going through, you can see the production.”

Dedicating your career to this work means you also log many hours of traveling. He jokingly states, “Maynard used to tease me that I had the first company platinum flyer status long before him.”

Lamont takes advantage of each trip by learning about the country’s people and cultures. His favorite country to visit is Australia, where he’s been twice for work—at first for a TBM project in 2007 and again in 2012 for a GBM project. He states, “They’re very kind people and have interesting animals.” During his last trip he saw a black cockatoo and Steve Erwin memorial shortly after he passed.

He appreciates everyone who supported him and saw his potential and recognizes that “Akkerman has been a great employer.”

Officially Certified

Dalton Hoover recently achieved the Certified Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation through the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). He completed the second module of the two-part learning system in July. The program covered supply chain, demand management fundamentals, continuous improvement, scheduling, and distribution, to name a few topics. “The program offered an in-depth look at how production processes and stocking levels affect production flow, and how level loading of work centers optimizes production flow,” he describes. Dalton looks forward to applying his new newly solidified knowledge to “Work as a team to gather resources to evaluate our capable to promise inventory levels to maximize our production potential.”

Next, Dalton plans to pursue the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) certification, another ASCM professional development portfolio offering.

Staff Highlight

Todd Otterbein came to us as a night machinist on March 5, 2018. His machining department peers nominated Todd as deserving of the Employee of the Month award.

Nominated Because:

  • “Willing to learn multiple CNC machines to help work flow.”
  • “Knowledgeable and shows up with a can-do attitude.”
  • “Consistently achieves production rates.”
  • “Takes care of company property and machines.”
  • “Possesses a can-do attitude.”
  • “Always willing to help with questions. He’s predictable, punctual, always smiling, and laughing.”
  • “Gives guidance and new ideas for better production.”

Admirable Qualities

  • Productive
  • On-time
  • Cheerful
  • Dependable
  • Predictable
  • Industrious