March 2015, Vol. 70, No. 3


NASSCO Standard Bearers – Joan Stone

EDITOR’S NOTE: In 2016, NASSCO will celebrate its 40th year of setting standards for the assessment and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure. As we look forward, we also look back to those who have made significant contributions and have impacted the continued acceptance and use of trenchless technologies.

This installment in the series features Joan Stone. It is the sixth installment in a series of articles exploring the history of NASSCO through the eyes of industry leaders.

I became involved in the world of underground infrastructure more than 20-years ago. If you think there aren’t many women involved in the industry now, the lack of women was even more pronounced then. I am honored to represent this growing and important population segment of our industry.

The path to my career was a traditional one. Originally from Northeast Ohio, I was married very young, just one year out of high school. My husband and I started our family early, so by the time our two girls were old enough for me to go back to work I was still young enough to focus on a career in sales. First working in retail, I then moved on to a packaging company in the Cleveland area where I transitioned to inside sales.

In 1991, my husband Tom had a job opportunity in California. Our extended family had already migrated there, so even though it was difficult to leave our grown daughters behind, it seemed like the next best step for us. Unfortunately, I quickly learned inside sales jobs were not plentiful in Palm Springs. I settled for a position with a clothing manufacturer, but kept my options open for more fulfilling work. In 1993 I saw an ad for an inside sales position at Pearpoint Inc., a company that manufactures video pipeline inspection equipment. At the time I had no idea about infrastructure and honestly never thought twice about sewer pipes or what’s beneath us. But the job location and the fact that the position was for inside sales made it seem ideal – and it was – I ended up working for Pearpoint for 13 years.

As my knowledge of underground infrastructure grew, so did my desire to learn more. I heard about NASSCO and first attended the NASSCO Annual Conference in Naples, FL, in 1999. I was super impressed by the potency of the knowledge and exchanging of ideas by NASSCO members from all areas of the industry. These industry experts came together with one common goal – to help the industry grow. With technology moving at such a rapid pace, some issues were not fully understood and sometimes controversial; however, I quickly learned to have a voice and was supported by NASSCO members. Specifically, Mike Burkhard and Grant Whittle stood by and supported me to help navigate NASSCO and communicate my opinion. The flow of support and common desire to get things done at NASSCO made me want to have a larger part in this organization. I have attended every NASSCO annual conference since and continue to do whatever I can to get involved and help the organization.


Over the years I have participated in various NASSCO Committees, including the Infrastructure and Software Vendor Committees, where I eventually became the Software Vendor Chairperson. Involvement in NASSCO Committees is a wonderful way to contribute ideas and make a difference. In 2008 I was encouraged by former NASSCO director Irv Gemora and his wife Paula to join the NASSCO Board of Directors. Irv and Paula continue to be valued ambassadors of NASSCO, and through their encouragement and support I served on the board for many years, eventually serving as President in 2013.

The beauty of NASSCO is that everyone can contribute. With a wide spectrum of industry technologies and services represented, my primary contribution has been software validation. Pearpoint developed software for use with camera systems, and I became the product manager of that software. Around the same time, NASSCO was considering the development of coding standards. The original programmer of our product was from the UK, so he developed our software to the WRc (Water Research Centre) standard, upon which NASSCO has built the standards for PACP (Pipeline Assessment Certification Program). Our experience with the product, which had the WRc standards built in, was instrumental in helping us support NASSCO in the development of coding standards for PACP.

In 2004 Pearpoint’s Alan Sefton was exhausting himself. He was running a company in both England and the U.S., flying back and forth, and made the decision to sell Pearpoint which was eventually sold to SPX Corporation. In 2004 Jeremy Wagner, a Pearpoint developer, and I were approached about buying it out. In 2004 we incorporated as PipeLogix, where I currently head up sales and marketing and Jeremy heads up programming. Since purchasing the product, we have expanded it to serve the changing needs and growing demands of the market.


Jeremy and I have done everything we can to help NASSCO set standards, particularly as they pertain to software. It has taken some time, and there is still work to be done, but the standards continue to get tighter and more improved. Initially, NASSCO trained people to use PACP with no time limit on their license, but the NASSCO Board’s concern was they weren’t getting any refresher courses. As parts of PACP were evolving, changing and growing, the initial users were not being informed of the updates. That’s when NASSCO developed the PACP recertification program to include an expiration date to match the structure of any other professional license. With the new PACP recertification program in full swing, users have their initial training reinforced, keep up with changes and renew their knowledge. PACP recertification requirements ensure standards are being met and work is done right.

As a software vendor, it helps to have a validation standard to exchange data between programs. Before, you would have to write custom interfaces which would take away time from growing a program. Having the standard interface available in PACP export has been a huge advantage and continually tightening up that export is critical. When it was first created, it was open to interpretation. What would be a clear limitation to one programmer could be viewed differently by another. For example, surveys have always started with the water level in the pipe, as well as the manhole number. What wasn’t stated was that the water level has to be at zero feet. With the support of NASSCO’s Software Vendor Committee, these types of corrections and updates are continually being noted, and improvements made year-after-year have closed the interpretation gap. With the new PACP Version 7 update (to be released in spring, 2015), we hope to have it tightened up even further.

NASSCO has done a wonderful job making PACP a standard throughout the United States, Canada and into South America. It has led NASSCO into a leadership role in promoting education and training in our industry. I am proud to be part of an organization that, while 98 percent of its population is male, is not afraid to put women in leadership roles. Kathy Romans was the first female President of the NASSCO Board, followed by myself, with Kay Doheny next in line. My hope is that more women will realize that NASSCO offers women a chance to contribute and give back to our industry and will join in greater numbers. There are a lot of women in our industry – both in private and public sector jobs – that can contribute a great deal of knowledge to NASSCO.

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