March 2022 Vol. 77 No. 3


Convention Preview: NASSCO Thrives in Virtual World; ‘Live’ Annual Convention in Scottsdale

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor

In spite of the COVID-19 epidemic, NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies) stayed true to its mission of setting standards for the assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure, and assuring the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies, said its President Joe Schotthoefer. 

“We began the new year strong and poised for progress as the source of information and support for our members and the entire industry,” he added. 

Actually, COVID presented an opportunity to study the “why” of NASSCO’s mission and adapt to make a stronger operation, Schotthoefer continued. 

“We quickly pivoted to virtual and online learning for our Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) and Inspector Training Certification Program (ITCP),” he explained. “We also were able to meet as a Board monthly, which enabled us to make swift decisions. 

“Our staff acclimated quickly to new ways of doing business and were more productive than ever before, while Committee members, through the necessity to meet via Zoom and other webinar tools, became more connected and efficient.” 


Schotthoefer highlighted several NASSCO accomplishments in 2021: 

  • Its second virtually presented annual conference kicked off the momentum for the year.
  • Successful continued virtual training and implemented Training Source, an online learning management system that simplifies delivery of PACP and ITCP training.
  • Welcomed more new members than ever before, in a year when a dip was expected due to Covid
  • Added staff, with a focus on stellar customer care.
  • Record-breaking attendance at an in-person, semi-annual meeting.
  • Successfully presented virtually at WWETT and an in-person technical track at UCT, with a well-attended meet-and-greet event for NASSCO members
  • Hosted a truly “inspiring” meeting of 12 past-presidents spanning 25-plus years of board-level dedication, as part of its past, present and future planning.
  • Held another successful virtual government (D.C.) fly-in with 29 meetings representing 15 states, and one follow-up, job-site visit  by a senator.
  • Guided by association accountants, implemented efficiencies that make operations more member- and student-friendly.
  • Planned the first “live” conference after two years, scheduled for April 6–8, in Scottsdale, AZ.

Reflecting on these accomplishments, Schotthoefer credits the committees’ hard work to deliver the Board’s specific, objective-based goals. 

“Through committee participation and hard work,” he continued, “NASSCO has released several new specification guidelines, including those for grouting, spiral wound pipe and bypass pumping. 

“We have also hosted highly successful industry-wide webinars which attract hundreds of participants. NASSCO’s representation at industry events – both live and virtual – is only made possible by the members who prepare the presentations, travel to the events, and make the commitment to educate and inform.” 


With worker safety always a top priority, NASSCO continues to fund third-party research, such as styrene emissions used in the CIPP process. 

“We are currently in Phase 3 of research with the Trenchless Technology Center at Louisiana Tech University,” he said, “with the goal to measure breakthrough times of emissions.” 

Another area is expanding investment in the new Training Source, beyond PACP and ITCP. 

“We are now poised to provide other certification and training programs. Currently our Operations and Maintenance Committee is working on curriculum for a drain cleaning certification program to provide proper education and guidance to plumbers and small contractors. 

“We are also exploring ways to use the new learning platform to provide curriculum for workforce development.” 

Schotthoefer also said great strides were made in Washington, D.C. through the arduous work of the Government Relations Committee. Plans are in development to meet with elected representatives in-person this year for the Fly-In. 

“The face-to-face communication allows for real connection over state initiatives, and creates better connection and relationship development,” he said. 

“In addition to the traditional scheduled activities.” said Schotthoefer, “we will be celebrating 20 years of PACP. We also have started a new tradition by hosting past presidents for a special reception in appreciation for their many years of commitment and contributions.” 

Schotthoefer is vice president of Doetsch Environmental Services Inc. His term as NASSCO president ends at the April meeting. The new president will be Max Gowdy, Canadian manager of Granite Inliner. 

NASSCO headquarters is in Frederick, Md. Sheila Joy is executive director. 

Details about all NASSCO programs and services are on its website,, or by calling (301) 624-2400.

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