October 2019 Vol. 74 No. 10

Rehab Technology

NASSCO Standard Bearers: Jerry Botts

NASSCO, now in its 45th year, continues to set standards for the assessment and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure. A vast array of individuals has contributed to the success of the association, both in the past and present, that has driven NASSCO’s industry mission. This series of articles recognizes those who have not only been critical to the success of NASSCO, but the industry as well.

This month, industry rehabilitation veteran Jerry Botts is profiled. A well-known and successful contractor and businessman, as NASSCO president, Botts was instrumental in guiding the association through a critical stage in its evolution. Through Botts’ leadership, the association was reinvented into the industry leader that it remains today. Botts continues to be instrumental in promoting new technologies for the rehabilitation market.



Growing up in Livonia, Mich. – a suburb of the Motor City – I was part of the culture that understood first-hand how hard work can really pay off. After high school I attended Schoolcraft Community College, but really wanted to roll up my sleeves and get at it, so in 1980 I partnered with my brother-in-law to start Metro Sewer Cleaners Inc. 

Jerry Botts
Jerry Botts

Located in close proximity to Jack Doheny Supplies in Northville, Mich., we got our start through my business partner’s father, who was employed by the city of Northville Public Works and, as part of his job, purchased equipment from Doheny. Jack Doheny offered to sell a 300-gallon capacity O’Brien jet cleaner on consignment to us, and that’s how Metro Sewer Cleaners got its start. I have been hooked on underground infrastructure assessment and rehabilitation ever since.

I continued attending classes while running the operations side of the company until 1984 when I was offered an opportunity to work for Orange Environmental in Florida. Jack Doheny, Marty Coe and another partner owned the company. It was my first introduction to Florida and – at the time, even though I now consider Florida home – it wasn’t for me.

After a few months I trekked back to Michigan and Metro Sewer Cleaners. With a focus on expansion, my brother-in-law and I opened the Florida division of Metro Sewer Cleaners. The company is still in business today in Michigan. The full-service company provided CCTV and grouting services, eventually expanding to the lining business. In fact, our company was one of the first to do cured-in-place point repairs. Once we had a handle on those technologies, we expanded our service offerings to include manhole to manhole lining.

Success and hurricanes

The Florida division of Metro Sewer Cleaners did very well. We had major municipal contracts with Seminole County, Orange County, the city of Orlando and others. Then, in 2004, four hurricanes hit the state of Florida, and as a result, our company also took a major hit. We found it very difficult to recover.

I got a fresh start as an independent consultant, starting my own business, collaborating with representatives from around the country and importing technology from Canada. Sekisui, the manufacturer of spiral wound pipe lining, was also one of my first clients. Initially I helped with sales and overall management, but then I was faced with a personal tragedy when my infant daughter needed significant medical care. I took a salaried position with Sekisui which provided the health insurance we desperately needed. Sadly, in 2009 we lost sweet Brianna at just 28 months old.

Ten years have passed, and while it doesn’t get any easier, life does go on. I moved up in Sekisui, first as national sales manager, then VP of national sales, and finally, in 2010, I accepted the role of president.

In 2012 I took a break and embarked on mission work for six months, after which I returned to the United States refreshed and ready for my next adventure. I teamed up with Clint Llewellyn to start Michigan-based Echo Liner, which was eventually sold to Corby Energy Services.

Next, my career path led me to accept an offer to run a start-up called Polston Applied Technologies in Winter Park, Florida, which later became U.S. Submergent Technologies. After two years as Polston’s COO, I ran into Christian Noll from Reline Europe at the 2017 WWETT Conference. I had seen Reline Europe’s spiral wound technology back in 2001 and was very impressed, but didn’t explore it further because at that time it wasn’t available in the diameter ranges we were using in Florida.

That chance meeting lead to my running Reline Europe for North America, and in January of this year, Reline Europe purchased a portion of Reline America, making Reline America part of the Reline UV Group. Today I serve as the organization’s Vice President in charge of sales and marketing, working to advance UV cured glass fiber reinforced pipe lining systems (GRP), UV light curing equipment and rehabilitation robots used in the wastewater, stormwater, and pressure markets.

NASSCO advancements

Looking back at my career, from the early days of purchasing a simple jet cleaner to the advanced technologies I now promote at Reline America, I can’t help but think about the way NASSCO has advanced, as well.

NASSCO’s mission is to set standards for the assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure, and to assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies. That was why NASSCO was founded: to promote the benefits of trenchless technologies – all trenchless technologies. My hope for the future of this organization, of which I have been involved for many, many years, is to expand awareness of both proven and emerging technologies, objectively educating on the benefits to all.

Some people may be unaware, but in the early beginnings of NASSCO, the association was located in Altamonte, Florida. All of the local contractors were involved, and I wanted to network with these industry leaders. Bob Rothenberg, in particular, actively encouraged me to sit on NASSCO’s Board, as he believed it was time for some fresh blood and revitalization. I sat on the board for many years, eventually serving as president from 1999-2000.

One of the best moves I made during my tenure as NASSCO president was hiring Mike Burkhard as executive director. The Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) was getting ready to launch, and the board knew we needed a more solid foundation to support the future growth of NASSCO. This was a pivotal time for NASSCO, and the fact that the PACP program now boasts more than 30,000 certified individuals is a true testimony to how the organization has progressed.

NASSCO is much more than PACP, however. Today it has nearly 650 member organizations, representing tens of thousands of industry professionals. NASSCO committees are more inclusive and dynamic than ever; the organization is making great progress in communicating the need to fund underground infrastructure; workforce development initiatives and sponsorships are firmly in place; and the mission to set standards and to assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies is still relevant after all these years. Our ability to achieve these goals, however, relies on people and companies from every corner of our industry having a voice and being actively involved to make sure all technologies are equally represented to provide system owners with the best possible solutions for their unique needs.

I could have never reached this point in my career without the many people who aided my journey; who were willing to mentor and help me advance within the industry. I owe a tremendous debt of thanks to those people. •


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