January 2011 Vol. 66 No. 1


Irv Gemora: Taking NASSCO To New Heights

Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor

For the first time in decades, Irv Gemora doesn’t have a “regular” job to go to each day.

After retiring as executive director of NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies) last August, Gemora helped with the transition of the association’s new executive director, Ted DeBoda, and he remains on the payroll as a consultant until February.

“I’m available if needed, but I don’t go to the office much,” said Gemora. “Ted is just the right man to take on NASSCO, and he doesn’t need me looking over his shoulder. I’ve worked since I was 11 years old when I had a paper route, so it’s time to slow down. I will continue to conduct Pipeline Assessment and Certification Program (PACP) training and help on several projects. That will keep me as busy as I want to be.”

Gemora is using his new-found leisure time to work on his golf game and learn Spanish.

“Leaning to play the piano is another goal,” he said, “but I’ve decided to defer that for the present.”

Gemora was named NASSCO executive director in 2002, but he had several years experience with the association prior to that. As one of the former owners of Danby North America, a company specializing in the rehabilitation of large-diameter pipes, Gemora was an associate member of NASSCO and served in various capacities, including the board of directors.

“When I first joined NASSCO, associate members could not vote,” Gemora said. “That’s changed, and now they can vote and two associate members sit on the board. In the early days, some perceived NASSCO as a ‘good-old-boy club’ and I’m proud that view has changed. We have a mission — NASSCO develops standards, best practices, certification programs and specifications. Because the need of a standard was widely recognized, PACP was almost immediately accepted and has become an international standard.

“I could not have had such a successful term as executive director without the help of Operations Manager Heather Myers. She started at NASSCO while a senior in college and has grown into a very competent manager. I am sure that when he arrived at NASSCO, Ted DeBoda immediately recognized Heather’s vital role in the organization.”

Accomplishments and praise
Many noteworthy accomplishments occurred during Gemora’s tenure; perhaps most significant is making the PACP a national standard, leading to the development of additional standards and best practices.

“Irv Gemora served as executive director of NASSCO for eight years under the direction of nine different presidents and boards of directors,” said Brad Dutruch, whose term as NASSCO president ends in February. “Under his leadership, NASSCO membership has grown by more than 45 percent and gross revenues more than doubled. Irv has successfully cultivated, trained and provided motivational leadership to the staff in the office. NASSCO’s accomplishments continue to benefit association members and the industry.”

Reflecting on his years working with Gemora, NASSCO Technical Director Gerry Muenchmeyer, P.E., said: “During his tenure at NASSCO, Irv and I have enjoyed a great working and personal relationship.

“We shared similar goals to grow the NASSCO membership and develop it into a premier organization for supporting the membership and the pipeline industry. I have had the pleasure of supporting Irv on technical matters throughout this time and to help make the goal a reality.

“During my year as president of NASSCO, I communicated with Irv almost daily. Irv and I agreed on most issues, throughout that year and subsequent years, which created a great working relationship. His support, knowledge and guidance made my year as president rewarding and successful.

“Irv’s goals and successes have laid the foundation for the future of NASSCO and I will seek his guidance as the organization continues to grow in the future.”

Muenchmeyer is president of Muenchmeyer Associates, LLC.

Behind The Scenes: Paula Gemora
The supportive role of spouses can be an important factor in their partner’s professional success, but most often it is behind the scenes.

That hasn’t been the case with Irv Germora’s wife, Paula, who has been a highly visible and valued presence throughout her husband’s time with NASSCO as an unpaid assistant to Heather Myers, operations manager. Paula has been a hostess at meetings and other functions while assisting in a wide range of association activities, including spouse tours which have become a major attraction for the wives of many members.

“Paula never was an employee,” said Gemora, “but has shared in my work at NASSCO just as we have shared everything in our 54 years of marriage. I love NASSCO and my time there, and Paula enjoys seeing me happy and satisfied in my work.”

Paula said she remembers attending her first NASSCO meeting and how warmly she was received.

“I’ve come to know most everyone in the organization,” she said. “I love NASSCO, the members of NASSCO, and being able to be help to Heather.”

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