May 2021 Vol. 76 No.5


HDD Hall of Fame Honors Ron Halderman, Bob Westphal

In the span of two months in 2020, the HDD industry almost incomprehensibly lost two of its most respected members in Ron Halderman of Mears and Robert Westphal of Michels. The HDD Hall of Fame committee and Underground Construction magazine are pleased to announce that these two industry innovators will be posthumously inducted into the HDD Hall of Fame at a special reception on Wednesday, July 14. 

The reception will include a formal induction ceremony held in conjunction with the Underground Construction Technology (UCT) International Conference & Exhibition, at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn. Also, a multitude of HDD sessions are scheduled for July 13-14 as part of the UCT program and activities. 

The HDD Hall of Fame Reception, organized by industry personnel, will allow HDD personnel owning or operating equipment of all sizes to converse with their peers as they honor the 2021 Hall of Fame class. 

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. 

Robert H. Westphal 

Industry icon Robert H. Westphal passed away in April 2020. Westphal devoted 55 years of his life to Michels, tirelessly pushing the company’s performance, and the pipeline and trenchless construction industries’ potential to higher levels. Hired by Dale Michels in April 1965 as a pipeline laborer, he quickly established himself as a great leader, generous mentor and valued friend to those he worked with, including the Michels family. 

Robert H. Westphal

“It is our belief that the strength of his successors defines a leader’s true success,” said Pat Michels, president and CEO, Michels Corporation. “In that regard, Bob was the best. He was selflessly devoted to improving the abilities and skills of those who worked with him.” 

In his career, Westphal filled many roles, including laborer, operator, foreman, superintendent, general superintendent, vice president, senior vice president and, at the time of his death, senior construction advisor. He helped guide Michels’ development and execution of strategic business initiatives domestically and internationally. 

A statesman in the construction industry, he was a valued member of many organizations. This included being an active member of the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA), where he served on the Board of Directors for 13 years and as president in 2005. In 2018, he was named an Honorary Member. 

Ron Halderman 

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is almost synonymous with Ron Halderman. Throughout his career, he was a key innovator who paved the way for the advancement of HDD. 

With 36 years of HDD design and project management experience, including design-build and EPC delivery methods, Halderman never ceased to find a better way to serve his clients in the industry. A registered professional engineer, he held a degree in Geological Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and graduate studies from the University of Idaho. 

Ron Halderman

Over the years, he published many articles and presented numerous papers. He was involved in many “firsts” in the HDD industry – first mile-long drill, first drill under an airport runway, first mile-long drill in rock – and managed numerous award-winning projects across the globe. 

He held two HDD-related patents entitled “Apparatus and Method for Recirculating Mud when Drilling under an Obstacle” and “Drilling Fluid Recovery when Drilling under an Obstacle or Water Body.” He was the co-creator of thixotropic thermal grout (No-Set) for high-voltage electrical transmission systems (patent pending). 

For Mears Group, he served as Director of Special Projects for Mears Group. He was a pillar of integrity and accomplishments, which was well-earned over his 36-year career in the industry.

From Archive


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}