January 2021 Vol. 76 No. 1


Better with Age

75th Anniversary

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

After 75 years, Underground Construction has experienced its fair share of history through our constant industry involvement and countless close market partnerships. We’ve seen the best of times and the worst of times and covered it in detail throughout the magazine’s pages. 

From humble beginnings as a monthly newsletter for pipeline construction, to the primary news and information source for all sectors of the underground infrastructure market, Underground Construction magazine has been the constant force covering and supporting the industry. 

As Underground Construction celebrates its 75th anniversary, we will look back with wonder and awe, re-experience fantastic technological developments, and be amazed – again – at the incredible infrastructure our industry has developed. 

The beginning 

Seventy-five years ago, Ellis Dunn and Red Collier of Dunn Brothers Pipeline Stringing in Dallas, made a historic decision to evolve their fledgling company newsletter, the Bullplug, into a full-scale magazine covering the booming pipeline industry. Thus, in 1946 Pipeliner magazine was born, the predecessor to today’s Underground Construction. 

Ownership changed in 1949 as veteran energy industry publisher Oliver Klinger purchased the publication, elevating the magazine to another level of professionalism and growth. The magazine continued for the next 68 years under the guidance of first Oliver Klinger, then Oliver Klinger Jr. took over from his father in the 1950s and finally, Oliver Klinger III became company president and publisher. In 2017, the family-owned business was sold to Gulf Energy Information which has continued to support and boost Underground Construction to new levels of excellence. 

Underground Construction has never stopped growing, evolving and leading the industry. As the post-World War II pipeline construction boom settled down to a stable and steady industry, other utilities began to comprehend the advantages of placing their services underground. The magazine changed with industry, as its own name evolution indicates: Pipeliner became Pipeline Construction, then Pipeline & Underground Utilities Construction, shortened to Pipeline & Utilities Construction. And finally, in January 1997, we became simply Underground Construction. 

The name changes reflect the magazine’s additional emphasis as utility personnel activities and stories steadily grew to assume a prominent role in underground construction. That trend continues today with sewer, water, gas distribution, telecommunications and electric market personnel comprising the bulk of modern underground infrastructure. 

Since the early 1990s, Underground Construction has fully embraced owners and consulting engineers as vital components of its circulation and distribution. It is the bringing together of all four key elements of our markets (contractors, owners, engineers and manufacturers/vendors) that make Underground Construction the leading infrastructure publication it is today. 

75th coverage 

Starting with our January issue and continuing through our broad digital suite of products, Underground Construction will examine the major historical trends and technological developments that have shaped the industry since our birth in 1946. Additionally, each issue will feature historical contributions from the outstanding contractors, owners, engineers and manufacturers who were pivotal in the advancement of underground infrastructure. The July issue will be the special celebratory issue with letters and/comments from industry personnel. In that issue, we’ll conclude our look back and focus on peering forward. 

For 75 years, Underground Construction has delivered the greatest printed products for the market. Certainly, our goals continue, highlighted by producing the best magazine available. But our aspirations and dreams go much further. In this digital age, we have become the elite, comprehensive provider of data to our markets through a variety of digital formats. 

Our print circulation is simply the best as it has been since our birth in 1946. In the underground infrastructure market, we deliver the greatest number of highly qualified subscribers available. 

Beyond print, we’ve created a new website, which has steadily been gaining traction. Rather than filling the site with press releases and other types of gratuitous content, our seasoned editors uncover and develop unique, important and breaking news that impacts all segments of the underground. On our website, you’ll find relevant, impactful news that you won’t find anywhere else. It was created for the serious connoisseur of underground infrastructure information. 

We’ve also launched a weekly newsletter to further keep the industry in the know. The newsletter, like the website, includes fresh, important news and not just old content regurgitated from past magazine articles or puffy press releases. 

We’ve become very active with our Social Network presence and you’ll witness that phenomenal growth continuing in 2021. We’re active players and reporters of industry activity. 

In addition to the regularly weekly newsletter, we’re fully prepared to cover breaking news as it develops and distribute that data through all our channels. As the adage states, news waits for no one. Through our newsletters, website and social networks, we are now able to distribute headline news immediately. The industry needs serious, relevant news and information in a timely fashion, and our future includes making sure that happens. 

History can be a unique teacher. Like a river, it has twisted and turned through time, continuously uncovering change, progress and even hard times. But there are always lessons to be learned that hopefully lead us into a bright and prosperous future. It’s been an amazing 75 years and we are excited about what lies ahead. 

For those old and new to our markets, it is clear that the future is underground.

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