August 2019 Vol. 74 No. 8


HDD Reunion To Unite Past, Present and Future

When horizontal directional drilling began to spread like wildfire in the late 1980s and 1990s, it was obvious that this disruptive technology was forever changing the face of utility and pipeline construction. From the Wild West atmosphere in the early days to the sophisticated digital technologies of today, HDD has become an established, essential technology for all underground utility and pipeline markets. 

Though its history is relatively brief, HDD players quickly became a fraternity of visionaries. Many remain in the market today while others have since moved on or retired. Second- and even third-generation family members are now serving the surging HDD market. Big rigs are more active than ever while mid-sized rigs have established a powerful and diversified niche. Small rigs continue to become more refined and still represent the greatest market volume with work, as in the 90s, driven by the explosive telecom market.

To honor this unique, tight-knit community, a special HDD Reunion will be held at the annual Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition. Established, older or retired drillers will be able to converse with current operators to swap stories, compare and contrast early equipment with modern tools, share experiences and renew and sustain old friendships. Those new to the industry will find the information and knowledge they gain extremely useful in their current jobs. The event is for all those who have participated in the industry throughout the years including contractors, owners, engineers and manufacturers no matter the rig size, from jumbo to mini units. In short, the purpose of the reunion is to celebrate the comradery that is HDD.

UCT/HDD partnership

It’s fitting that the event will be held in partnership with the 25th anniversary year celebration of UCT. As HDD caught fire and exploded onto the utility and pipeline marketplace in the 90s, UCT was the primary event that embraced HDD and continues to do so today. Contractors and related personnel still flock to UCT to learn from the industry’s most extensive HDD educational program, “kick the tires” on new equipment and network with their peers.

Plans also include creation of the first HDD Hall of Fame. A special industry committee is currently considering the long list of HDD activists for the first class to be inducted. The Hall of Fame will be maintained annually in conjunction with UCT and Underground Construction magazine.

Other reunion activities currently scheduled are a special networking reception on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Beginning shortly after the UCT exhibit hall closes, the reception will run from 4:30–8 p.m. During the party, the 2020 Hall of Fame Class will be formally introduced.

Founding Sponsors are making this historic event possible with their exclusive support of the HDD Reunion. Participants will be able to find these stand-out companies on the exhibit hall floor and at the reunion reception.


While there will be a $25 charge to attend the reunion, attendees get their money back and much more by contacting any of the founding sponsors for a special registration code. That code will provide free exhibit hall passes and discounts for the primary HDD Educational program at UCT. Attendees will also be treated to complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvre at the HDD Hall of Fame Reception and a custom-designed HDD Reunion T-Shirt. In all, registered attendees will receive values up to $500.

No one could have anticipated the eventual impact to follow when in the 1960s Dick Melsheimer patented a small, directional boring concept for electric line installations, followed by Martin Cherrington’s game-changing developments with large rig applications. Those efforts yielded the remarkable status of advancing HDD into its current role as an essential, efficient and productive technology.

The HDD Reunion will be a rare opportunity for the HDD to unite and celebrate its success.  


HDD Reunion Schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 28–Thursday, Jan. 30

  • HDD Educational Program @ UCT including the annual HDD Contractors Roundtable
  • HDD Exhibition

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 4:30–8 p.m.

  • HDD Reunion Networking Reception
  • Introduction of 2020 HDD Hall of Fame Class

For more information, go to, hddreunion2020 or send an email to

Industry Support

To make this special HDD Reunion possible, leading HDD companies are stepping up to become the Founding Sponsors and support their friends and customers.

To date, founding sponsors include:

  • JT Miller
  • Tulsa Rig Iron
  • Derrick Corporation
  • LaValley Industries
  • Century Products
  • American Augers
  • INROCK Drilling Systems, Inc.
  • TT Technologies
  • Underground Construction Magazine \ UCT

To become an exhibitor and HDD Reunion Founding Sponsor, contact Jenna Rutan,, (713) 520-4413.

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