2006 Trenchless Technology Person of the Year: Mark Bruce. Rewards Through Risks and Relationships
Jun 16, 2006
Leaders are not often described as servants, but that may be the best way to describe this year’s Trenchless Technology Person of the Year: Mark Bruce. For more than a decade, he has served the trenchless industry and worked to educate and build better relationships among its professionals. Bruce's roots in the trenchless industry is much like that of the industry itself: His foundation is in pipe manufacturing.
From then on, Bruce says, he became "enamored" with the industry. "It’s intellectually challenging, and there's a strong willingness in the industry of sharing knowledge and a sincere camaraderie amongst the people," he says.
"It's surprising how we take for granted the water that comes from the spigot and leaves down the drain, but without these utilities, some of which have been around for hundreds of years, our quality of life would be much different. Some might think all this business of pipes and conduits is somewhat mundane, but in reality," Bruce says, "their care, maintenance and replacement through trenchless methods require innovative approaches, changing concepts, new tools and methodologies that are constantly evolving."
Bruce says he enjoys seeing how new technologies mesh with the old, such as the clay pipe business, which dates back to before the Roman Empire. Can Clay’s operations have been around since 1906.
This enthusiasm for the industry led Bruce to the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) after serving an instrumental role in establishing the Midwest Society for Trenchless Technology (MSTT) in 1996 with some distinguished colleagues. Bruce became an NASTT board member in 2002 and recently finished his term as the chairman of the association.
What makes Bruce such a good leader in the industry is his willingness to put his service to industry above himself, says Mark Wallbom, senior vice president of Miller Pipeline and a former Trenchless Technology Person of the Year winner. Bruce succeeded Wallbom as NASTT chairman in 2005.
For Bruce, success is measured less in terms of money than it is in terms of overcoming challenges and accomplishing tasks. He believes hard work and dedication are what are required of anyone to achieve goals, but it also takes learning from experience.
"Hard work and numerous hours are required," Bruce says of this ethic. "I was brought up in family owned construction and coal mining businesses where that was normal. I think it takes a willingness to step out and take some challenges, take some risks. And from that you grow and become a better, stronger person."
"To stay in a comfort zone without challenges precludes a lot of the learning curve."
He graduated as a civil engineer from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, but says, "The real education begins on the job." His list of experiences is extensive. He has worked as a heavy equipment operator, licensed river pilot, built river and ocean ports, mine processing plants, bridges, operated surface coal mines and other construction projects.
"I have never had a job interview and always worked in companies as an owner," he says. He continues to follow this philosophy through a recently acquired equity position in Hydromax USA, a provider of trenchless inspection and SSES data collection services.
"He is a doer, not a talker," Wallbom says. "He had a real calm confidence about him that was sprinkled with just the right amount of levity, the right amount of humor, but just a calm sense of confidence."
The lesson that Wallbom says can be learned from Bruce is that you should have a dogged commitment to following through on your word and put the good of the service of the industry above the good of the self.
Bruce credits his success to the people who have given him the chance to learn and grow in the industry.
"During my early years, when I was just a young teenager working construction, those people didn’t chase off a wet-nose kid, but allowed me to learn and make mistakes," Bruce says. "I look back in respect for and appreciation of all those people who have helped me become what I am."
In addition to taking and learning from risks, Bruce emphasizes relationships as a crucial aspect of success. One of the ways Bruce has managed to build so many strong relationships in the trenchless industry is by participating in professional organizations, such as NASTT and MSTT.
Bruce served as program chairman for the 2003 International No-Dig Conference. From there, he became the chairman of NASTT itself. Bruce emphasizes the society’s goals of education and industry promotion as one of the best means for building relationships and achieving personal development goals.
"NASTT has created several forums to meet people, discuss and exchange ideas, and build social and business contacts, which are essential in the trenchless industry," Bruce says. "In the case of NASTT, those broad-based constituents are representative of the board and of the membership.
"That broad base results in a very distinctive successful organization that serves the trenchless industry."
Fostering the relationships among the professionals in the trenchless industry requires active participation. The trenchless industry is blessed with numerous individuals having a genuine willingness to share knowledge for the advancement of the industry, he says.
Returning the Favor
Bruce wants to continue to give back to the industry that he says has given him so much. In so doing,Bruce promotes trenchless technology by continuing to be an active participant in NASTT and making the attempt to speak at numerous seminars each year — in a word, education.
"Without education we all will just keep making the same mistakes." One of the challenges Bruce sees in the industry is continuing to move forward and make improvements. The industry cannot lose ground or become complacent.
Bruce stresses that education of younger people in the trenchless industry is a necessary component of improving technologies and moving forward in the business.
Through his commitment to education and as chairman of NASTT,Bruce has been instrumental in furthering the forward momentum of the industry, says Wallbom, attributing Bruce as one of the people who has helped make NASTT and the industry what it is today.
"Mark was just the right person at the right time to step into a major leadership role," he says. "His steady, unassuming and visionary nature was just what we needed."
Wallbom likens Bruce's leadership to a second-stage rocket, helping lift NASTT out of what Wallbom calls its "epiphany" in 2001-2002 with selfless leadership and commitment to education.
Bruce says none of his success would be possible without the example of and help from those who went before him."I have had and continue to have the opportunity to work with some of the most wonderful people imaginable in and out of the trenchless industry.
In turn, Bruce plans to use his experiences and knowledge to continue serving the trenchless industry by being willing to contribute to the industry.
[Bradley Kramer is assistant editor of Trenchless Technology.]
For further information, please visit: http://www.benjaminmedia.com
Source: Trenchless Technology,http://www.trenchlessonline.com, Volume March 2006.
More News and Articles
May 30, 2023
Trenchless contractor puts maintenance hole relining system through its paces
Civil and trenchless specialists M Tucker & Sons showcases its expertise through a UV lining project.
May 26, 2023
City of Toronto launches tunnel boring machine for stormwater tunnel and largest basement flooding prevention project
Today, the City of Toronto marked a major milestone for the Fairbank Silverthorn Storm Trunk Sewer System project, launching a tunnel boring machine that will work to construct a new storm sewer that will collect, store and move stormwater from …
May 24, 2023
Global Water and Wastewater Utilities Take Aim at Climate Change
New Survey of 100 Utilities Tracks Net-Zero Progress: 75% of Respondents to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2040
May 22, 2023
Regional San’s monumental wastewater treatment plant expansion project delivered ON schedule and UNDER budget
The EchoWater Project, one of the largest public works projects in the Sacramento region’s history, takes wastewater treatment to a whole new level
May 19, 2023
Haliotis 2: Wastewater recovery and treatment complex
In April the future, next-generation wastewater recovery and treatment complex for the Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur “Haliotis 2” was presented. Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice, President of the Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur and Deputy President of the Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur …
May 17, 2023
Wrapping up the challenges in SA
In December 2022, Denso Australia completed the supply of a project involving the protection of 400 lineal metres of DN250 mild steel pipeline in Bolivar, South Australia.
May 15, 2023
New South Wales university receives network upgrade using SAERTEX-LINER® MULTI Type S+
Australian Pipeline Management (APM) has successfully relined three separate pipelines running under a university in Sydney with UV cured-in-place technology from SAERTEX multiCom® GmbH.
May 12, 2023
IMPREG continues to invest in Australian and NZ market
With increasing demand of IMPREG’s unique UV pipe solution, the German company continues to invest in the Australian and New Zealand market.
May 10, 2023
Yonge Street Project Combines Trenchless Rehab and New Install Practices
In the fall 2020, the Regional Municipality of York initiated a project to rehabilitate a 127 m long concrete box culvert under Yonge Street. The Region retained Jacobs Engineering to provide design and construction support services.
May 08, 2023
Climate adaption solutions for the water sector in the German-Danish border area
More than 60 participants met in Kolding, Denmark, from March 23 to 24 for the final conference of the INTERREG-Project NEPTUN. In the frame of this project, more than 40 partners elaborated 15 specific climate adaption solutions for the water …
May 05, 2023
Primus Line® flies the flag for trenchless solutions in sensitive locations
Primus Line has illustrated the benefits of trenchless technology for pipeline rehabilitation in culturally sensitive areas during two installations for one of the world’s leading mining companies.
May 03, 2023
Optimising chemical dosing in a challenging operating climate
Rising operating costs and tightening regulations are presenting major challenges for wastewater treatment plant operators, but better optimisation of chemical dosing can drive efficiencies, says Adeel Hassan, product manager at Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions.
Trenchless Technology Benjamin Media Inc.
44264 Peninsula, OHUSA