September 2015 Vol. 70 No. 9


NASSCO Standard Bearer: Gerhard “Gerry” Muenchmeyer

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 is the ninth installment in a series of articles exploring the history of NASSCO through the eyes of industry leaders.

Gerry Muenchmeyer served as NASSCO’s Technical Director from 2006-2015 and was instrumental in the development of the Pipeline Assessment and Certification Program and the Inspector Training and Certification Program. Currently an ITCP Master Trainer, Gerry was awarded the 2012 NASSCO Select Society of Sanitary Sewer Sleuths Award, 2014 NASSCO Trainer of the year and was selected as Trenchless Person of the year in 2014. He continues to play a consulting role for NASSCO to set standards that benefit us all. We are extremely grateful for Gerry, whom we call colleague and friend.

Gerry Muenchmeyer, NASSCOI was born in Austria during the war (World War II) and subsequently lived in a small town just outside of Munich, Germany, until I was seven-years old. After traveling to Italy where my parents, sister Sigrid and I lived for about a year, we finally got passage on a ship and came to America in 1951. My older sister Evelyn, who was 14-years older, was already in the United States when we arrived.

Like many immigrants, we stayed in the New York City area and originally lived in Queens. Seeking the American dream, our family arrived with very little money and very big hopes. My father worked extremely hard to build a new life for us and became a house painter. He then started buying homes and on weekends he would paint and fix them up, then flip them. As a result, we moved around quite a bit, ultimately landing in Long Island.

My father’s work ethic was strong and set a great example for me. I was interested in engineering so I took the test to attend the Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City. I was accepted and studied there for four years before attending the City College of New York where I studied civil engineering at night so I could work during the day.

Early years
After 12 years of night school, I applied for my professional engineering license in New Jersey where I was working at the time. With night school completed and full-time working experience under professional engineers at the city of New York Sewer Department and Bowe Walsh & Associates, Engineers in Huntington, NY, I passed a 16-hour, two-day test, earned my profession engineering license and subsequently became registered in seven other states.

After receiving my P.E. license, I was promoted and became program/project manager for Bowe Walsh & Associates where I was responsible for the construction of new pipeline projects across the east coast for 12 years. I them assumed the position of Chief Engineer and Senior Associate at Baldwin & Cornelius Engineers and Surveyors in Freeport, Long Island, NY, where I prepared contract documents that specified a new, revolutionary trenchless sewer technology called (at the time) the Insituform Process.

I left the engineering business in 1982 and partnered with a joint venture contractor group to start and build Insituform of New England Inc., ultimately selling my interest in the company to my partners. From there, I served as vice president of Bethel Duncan & Associates, a civil engineering firm in Burlington, MA, and ultimately worked as assistant commissioner of public works and city engineer for the Department of Public Works in Worcester, MA. I was later recruited back to Insituform of New England which subsequently was purchased by and became part of Insituform Technologies.

Over the years I worked with numerous other industry leaders, developing products and launching new technologies for the sewer industry, including Miller Pipeline Corporation, Raven Lining Systems and Reline America. In 2005, I started Muenchmeyer Associates, LLC, a consulting firm providing trenchless pipeline rehabilitation technology support to municipalities, engineering firms, contractors and utility agencies.

NASSCO involvement

Over the course of my career I have been deeply involved with professional engineering societies, including The Order of the Engineer, into which I was inducted in 1989. Over the years, my membership in NASSCO has been an integral part of my professional career. At the urging of Mike Burkhard, I became more actively involved with NASSCO in the mid- to late-1990s and helped develop the International Pipe Bursting Association as a division of NASSCO, which is still active today in supporting the pipe bursting industry.

In early 2000 I worked with NASSCO and the WRc in England to help develop the NASSCO Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP). NASSCO subsequently introduced the Americanized version of the WRc program to the U.S market. I will never forget working on the final program with others in Atlanta, GA, on Sept. 11, 2001, the day the Twin Towers in New York City were destroyed by terrorists. The PACP program was launched later in 2002.

For a number of years I held several positions on the NASSCO Board of Directors and eventually became president in 2005. That year we developed a business strategy that led to the development of the Inspector Training Certification Program (ITCP). I have had the privilege of helping in the development of PACP and ITCP and seeing firsthand how their acceptance by the industry has significantly improved the level of quality in pipeline rehabilitation technologies. These programs have been instrumental in the growth of NASSCO.

NASSCO has been a major force in making positive change for this industry in many ways. Early on, the trenchless industry was pretty much dominated by manufacturers. NASSCO was instrumental in setting standards and, because of this, we were able to modify and add customer requirements into the technology mix. We developed specifications guidelines and standards that reflected the customer’s needs as well as the manufacturer’s requirements. Currently there are dozens of Performance Specification Guidelines and Manufacturers Specifications available from NASSCO for industry use.

While the industry really started taking off about 25 years ago, within the past 10 years we have seen explosive growth and change, and I believe it is because of the shift from quantity to quality. NASSCO has been steadfast in its mission to set industry standards for the assessment and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure and to assure the continued acceptance and use of trenchless technologies. The organization has not wavered, and the results are standards with high levels of integrity and acceptance.

In my opinion, the challenge, as it pertains to maintaining quality in the pipeline rehabilitation industry in the future, relies on developing standard specifications that contractors can effectively bid and work with, and that cities and utility owners have the ability to verify that they are getting the quality product specified using trained inspectors on site. Unfortunately, the challenge is always going to be change, particularly the acceptance of additions and changes that result in improvements. This will require training and more research and contributions of information to continually improve specifications. Only quality based, measurable specifications will improve the quality of the work we do as an industry.

My hope is that NASSCO will continue to grow at a steady level to continue providing information and standards for the industry. I hope to continue working with NASSCO to do everything I can to make sure that happens.

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