May 2024 Vol. 79 No. 5


Business News


For more than 20 years, US Grout (Idaho) and Avanti International (Texas) have partnered to deliver Ultrafine cementitious grouts – a permanent, deeply penetrating, densely curing cementitious grout for sealing fractures in rock, controlling ground water, and stabilizing weak soils. Now, the two have formalized their longstanding partnership, solidifying their commitment to the industry. 

US Grout LLC was formed in 1998 with the primary purpose of producing a high-quality, durable, Ultrafine cementitious grout for sealing microfractures within the underground nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Eunice, New Mexico. In the fall of that same year, US Grout and Avanti joined forces for the distribution of this specialized grout into other markets. 

“Avanti has played a pivotal role in educating the industry on the safe and effective utilization of cementitious grouts for water control, soil, and rock stabilization" said Mike Hess, CEO, Hess Pumice. “Over the years, our partnership has deepened as we continually collaborate with Avanti in producing, researching, developing, and distributing Ultrafine cementitious grouts globally".  

"US Grout and the Hess family have been instrumental in the ongoing production and continued use of Ultrafine cement around the world, and the Avanti Team is honored to officially be brought into the fold,” said Britt N. Babcock, P.E., president of Avanti. 

“Our goal is to continue to provide exceptional technical support for the US Grout products and their applications.”  

US Grout produces the only American-made Ultrafine cementitious grout available in the world. There is a stable North American supply for your cementitious grouting projects. Avanti is the exclusive distributor of US Grout cementitious grout products around the world. 


PipeSense, the provider of advanced continuous pipeline monitoring technology, has officially opened the doors of two state-of-the-art testing facilities in Houston, and Clearbrook, Minnesota, to help strengthen its abilities to push industry boundaries.

With the aim of pursuing new research and development opportunities, the facilities provide PipeSense’s experienced engineering team the ability to pursue technological advancements by testing its pipeline monitoring and leak detection solutions in practical, real-world conditions.   

The Houston facility features a 4-inch Continuous Test Loop that offers options for diverse demonstrations, including the ability for clients to choose and actuate leak points.  Simultaneously, the Clearbrook test facility features a custom-built, 24-inch Pipeline Test Rig to test and demonstrate PipeSense's real-time pig-tracking technologies. Both facilities bolster each region's ability to develop at-home solutions and provide clients with first-class service and complete assurance.  

Established in 2023, PipeSense is the product of an experienced team that boasts over a century of vital industry experience. Developed to utilize the latest technological advancements, PipeSense aims to maximize the operational efficiency and service life of a pipeline asset, providing a fully integrated service with ground-breaking monitoring and leak detection.   

John Deere/Martin Equipment 

Fourth-generation, family-owned John Deere Construction & Forestry dealer Martin Equipment is expanding territory for its location in Springfield, Ill. Previously offering services and support in Sangamon, Morgan, Logan, Christian, Mason, Menard, Cass, Schuyler and Scott counties, and partial service to Montgomery, Macoupin and Greene counties, the location will now fully service all 12 counties, as well as two new additional counties: Jersey and Calhoun. 

“This is an incredible opportunity to serve more of our region and expand partnerships with customers and the community,” said DeLene Martin Bane, president of Martin Equipment. “For decades, our Springfield location has provided exceptional service, and we’re proud to continue that tradition for even more customers across these 14 counties.” 

The new coverage in Illinois joins the rest of Martin Equipment’s regional service area, which includes nine locations across three states.  

Martin Equipment is a fourth-generation, family- and woman-owned John Deere Construction & Forestry dealer. The company’s commitment to legendary service began in 1926 when it was founded by Samuel F. Martin in Roanoke, Illinois and has since expanded to nine locations across Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. 

In 2020, Martin Equipment secured certification as a Women's Business Enterprise by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), signifying a commitment in continuing to attract and retain a more diverse workforce.  


The Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) has published a new report that examines the required wall thickness for a fully fused high-density polyethylene (HDPE) water main to withstand the lateral spread from an earthquake or other seismic event.

LEFT: A formerly straight section of pipe was broken by shifting earth during a 7.1 Southern California earthquake in July 2019. Credit: Gene Blevins/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News/CENTER: The ductility of HDPE pipe provides high resistance to earthquakes and is also an important factor for ease of installation./RIGHT:Heat fusing HDPE pipe sections provides a leak-free joint plus heightened security and protection from seismic events.

Researched and authored by Michael O’Rourke, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI, M.ASCE, Professor Emeritus Civil Engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Design of HDPE Water Mains for the Lateral Spread Seismic Hazard is now available at the websites of the PPI Municipal Advisory Board and the 2023 Plastic Pipes Conference (PPCA). 

“This critically important document provides the criteria for the proper design of an HDPE water main system,” stated Camille George Rubeiz, P.E., F. ASCE, co-chair, HDPE Municipal Advisory Board, and senior director of engineering for the PPI Municipal & Industrial Division.   

“According to the latest United States Geological Survey, nearly 75 percent of the United States could experience an earthquake during the next 100 years that would cause significant damage, including underground water mains.  Professor O’Rourke’s analysis of possible seismic events, lateral spreads and wave propagation hazards, with formulas and charts, provides the much-needed data to help system designers.” 

The two primary seismic hazards to buried pipelines are wave propagation and permanent ground deformation. Because earthquakes are caused by movement at a fault, the resulting movement results in waves traveling away from the fault. These waves stretch and bend pipeline infrastructure at or near the ground surface and are referred to as the wave propagation (WP) hazard.   

“The WP hazard occurs in all earthquakes and is most commonly quantified by the resulting ground strain,” O’Rourke explained.  “The WP hazard is also transitory in that after the shaking ends, the ground returns to its original pre-quake position. If the earthquake is large, it can also result in permanent offsets at the surface or movements of the ground (lateral spread hazard), both referred to as permanent ground deformation (PGD).  

“The report addresses the lateral spread hazard and the strains due to PGD, which are larger, and hence, more important than those due to WP.” 

The paper and additional information can be found here, at the PPI website.  


Tri-County Equipment Sales & Service, located about 60 miles west of Knoxville, Tenn., is enhancing its legacy of exceptional service with the addition of DEVELON construction equipment.


Founded in 1977, the dealership works with a diverse range of customers, including farmers and contractors. It serves customers in 11 surrounding counties in east and middle Tennessee with sales, parts and service. The area has increased in population, generating residential developments in areas previously used for agriculture. 

“When a dealership has been in business for more than 45 years, you know they’re doing something right,” said Adam Howard, senior director of sales at DEVELON. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our company to partner with the dealership and expand our brand in parts of Tennessee where we haven’t been in the past.” 

Much of the company’s success is due to service and customer satisfaction. The dealership prides itself on retaining its loyal customers and employees, despite external pressures. For instance, the company retained 11 of 12 service technicians when a larger dealership moved into the area and began competing for workers. 

“Hiring the right people and creating a good environment for them to come to work is how we’ve been successful,” said Marshall Pugh, Tri-County Equipment Sales and Service. 

He’s confident about the future of DEVELON and the products the company is bringing to the market, particularly dozers and compact track loaders. He currently has a DD130 dozer in his rental fleet and says the visibility is the best of any dozer that he’s ever been in. 

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