2023 Microtunneling Short Course Preview





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NWP’s Trevor Gonterman Shares Insights on Latest Advancements in Microtunneling at This Year’s Event

The 29th annual Microtunneling Short Course returns to Scottsdale, Arizona, on April 11-13. Northwest Pipe Company is a main sponsor for this year’s event, which unites members of the global trenchless construction industry for three days of networking and learning. Course content includes in-depth presentations from leading experts in microtunneling project planning and design, product manufacturing, and installation. NWP Director of Trenchless, Trevor Gonterman, will be presenting on one of Northwest Pipe’s latest advancements: the patent-pending Permalok® Radial Bending Joint for microtunneling steel pipe along a curved radius.

With two decades of experience in the steel industry and nine years at NWP, Trevor’s proficiency in product development draws on his background in laser fabrication, manufacturing, product distribution, and steel production mills. In his current role as Director of Trenchless, Trevor develops new market channels and works with clients to advance product design to meet specific project and industry challenges. In this interview, Trevor gives a sneak peek of the topics he’ll cover in his presentation and insights on what to expect from this year’s Microtunneling Short Course (MTSC).

Trevor Gonterman – Director of Trenchless, Northwest Pipe Company
How long have you been attending the Microtunneling Short Course, and what topics have you presented on in past years?

This will be my eighth year attending the MTSC. When I first presented, the focus was on steel pipe manufacturing practices and the benefits of a mechanical press fit connection. Since then, the focus within the industry has shifted multiple times and I’ve covered topics ranging from utilizing steel pipe to manage tunnel risks, to quality pipe design considerations for multiple microtunneling pipe options.  As the industry has grown, so has NWP, which has provided me the opportunity to showcase new technologies that we’ve developed to push the industry forward from a materials standpoint, while keeping up with advancing installation technology and new challenges.

What are the benefits you see for attendees of the MTSC?

The MTSC is an unparalleled event within the trenchless industry. This three-day, high-level event provides valuable insights from true industry experts and an open forum to not only learn about new products, means, and methods, but also to collaborate with others to push the market forward. No other event that I have ever been a part of comes close to sharing the same volume of information at the pace of the MTSC. I recommend that all new professionals entering the field take part in the MTSC to ensure that tunneling industry knowledge is shared and continues to have a solid foundation for years to come.

What is the biggest challenge facing trenchless contractors today?

Like most industries, one of the biggest challenges to the trenchless industry is labor issues. A shortage of crew members and qualified field welders can stretch project timelines and budgets. Improving installation efficiency can be a major help for contractors to overcome this challenge. Our Permalok® interlocking joint pipe products serve as a bridge to mitigate labor shortages, allowing for more rapid installation without the need for field welding, so that the same project can be completed on time and within budget, but with a reduced installation crew.

This year, you’re presenting on the newly developed Permalok® Radial Bending Joint for Steel Pipe Microtunneling. Can you give us a preview of what you’ll be discussing?

Contractors and engineers alike have been looking for a solution that provides added steerability to install longer trenchless drives at a lower cost by utilizing fewer shafts and taking advantage of alignments that may not have been previously possible. As a result, curved tunnels have been a growing trend within the industry. My presentation sheds light on the many potential solutions that NWP offers, with the most exciting development being our new Permalok® Radial Bending Joint (RBJ), the first product of its kind to allow for the intentional curvature of steel pipe in trenchless applications. Developing the technology behind the RBJ involved pushing the boundaries of the material limitations of steel pipe as we know them, and resulted in a verified, high-quality product that will take microtunneling in a new direction.

Rendering of Permlaok RBJ trenchless pipe installation under a busy city intersection. The pipe path bends between existing utility lines and around a building foundation.

Catch Trevor’s presentation at the Microtunneling Short Course on Tuesday, April 11 at 2:15 PM. For more information on the event visit https://microtunnelingshortcourse.com/

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Trevor Gonterman
Director of Trenchless