The North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) announced its 2020 Hall of Fame class: James S. Barbera (1940-2019), founder of NUCA member company Barbco Inc.; Tom Marti, Vice President, Engineering & Technology, for Underground Solutions Inc., part of Aegion Corp.; and Lynn Osborn, retired, Insituform Technologies.
The NASTT Hall of Fame honors society members who have made outstanding accomplishments and exceptional contributions to the advancement of the North American trenchless industry and the organization.
In 2010, the NASTT Board of Directors began the Hall of Fame in order to ensure that the society’s most outstanding and praiseworthy members received due recognition. The inductees are nominated by their peers and a volunteer committee of industry leaders chooses the class.
The 2020 NASTT Hall of Fame Class will be inducted and recognized during the NASTT 2020 No-Dig Show being held in Denver, Colorado, April 5-9. The induction ceremony takes place during the NASTT Gala Awards Dinner on Tuesday, April 7 at the Colorado Convention Center.
James “Jim” S. Barbera (March 1940 – July 2019) founded Barbco, a family-run manufacturing company, in 1989. And while his career didn’t start in manufacturing, his family was always front and center.
After graduating high school, Jim served his country in the U.S. Army. Jim and his wife Fran were married in 1963. Jim was employed by the Canton City Police Department and Fran worked at a rubber glove manufacturing company. Jim’s experience in home remodeling brought additional income once their family expanded to include four children under the age of three, including twins. The original fixer-uppers, they would purchase homes, fix them up and rent them out. They amassed 7 homes and were doing well for themselves. Their hard work was paying off.
In 1975, Jim retired from the police department and went into business for himself. He continued his work in construction and got into the pool solar heating business. Jim started working at American Augers for his brother Leo in 1979. During his 10 years at American Augers, Jim oversaw the sales department and had direct oversight of several initiatives including the reconditioning of a 19-ft Robbins tunnel boring machine and being an active organizer in the auger boring schools that were held in Arizona. In 1989 Leo sold American Augers leaving Jim in a bit of a quandary. With Fran’s support, Jim continued in the industry and started Barbco, a NUCA (National Utility Contractors Association) Sustaining National Partner. The company ran out of a shop in Twinsburg, Ohio, for the first 6 months.
The first of Jim and Fran’s children to work for the company was Tony Barbera, who had just graduated from high school. His twin brother, Dave Barbera, started in 1992 and worked primarily in the office. The other children, Chrissy and Jim, worked intermittently during the early years of the company. Barbco continued to expand its product line as Jim saw opportunities in the trenchless industry. He was brought into the fray of Barbco’s manufacturing capabilities with products such as directional drills and pilot tube machines. With this growth, Jim continually looked for facilities that would give him the space he needed to build the equipment customers were looking for. In 2003, Jim moved the company to its present location in East Canton, Ohio. Here, Barbco had the space to build and the land to expand his manufacturing when needed. He officially retired 10 years ago and moved south to Englewood, Florida.
Both Jim and his brother Leo were well known with the trenchless industry. In fact, they were both recently honored by the Trenchless Technology Center at Louisiana Tech University. Both were presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards by Dr. Tom Iseley for their contributions to the trenchless industry. Additionally, a new training and educational facility being built on campus is being named in honor of the brothers. The formal name is the Barbera Education, Research & Training facility (BERT).
Jim and Barbco, Inc. have been honored by numerous professional associations. Nonetheless, his greatest honor has and always will be a large loving family and his loyal employees and customers. Barbco Inc. will carry on his legacy with his three sons leading the company and with his many grandchildren hard at work in the family business.
Tom is Vice President, Engineering & Technology, for Underground Solutions, Inc., part of Aegion Corporation, Chesterfield, Missouri. He has been working for Underground Solutions since August 2002, more than 17 years.
Tom is a patent holder for the fusion and formulation patents for Fusible PVC. He also led the development of the installation guidelines for the use of Fusible PVC for trenchless installation including HDD, and also pipe bursting and sliplining. Fusible PVC was developed at Underground Solutions in 2003 and went commercial with the first fused PVC horizontal directional drill installation in 2004. Since then Fusible PVC has grown into a mainstay trenchless pressure pipe material used in municipal water systems, waste water systems, and for the undergrounding of high voltage electrical power cables in PVC conduit and casings.
Tom has authored multiple peer reviewed papers regarding Fusible PVC and its use in trenchless installations. Tom has been a member of NASTT since 2010 and also supports the industry through other associations. Tom participates with the American Water Works Association, having served on their C900, C605, and M23 subcommittees, as well as ASTM International’s F17 plastic pipe subcommittees dealing with PVC and trenchless installations.
Tom holds a BS in civil engineer degree from Lehigh University and resides in Marshall Township, Pennsylvania, with his son, Mike, and daughter, Laura.
Lynn Osborn has spent his entire professional career working in the water and wastewater industries, with 35 of those years in the trenchless technology industry. He joined what is now known as Aegion (Insituform Technologies) in 1984 when few public works officials had ever heard of the term trenchless technology, let alone dared to try it on their aging pipes. Today, cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) is the preferred method of pipe rehabilitation across North America, as well as the world.
Lynn grew up in a small town on the Kansas plains working his way through college part of a wheat harvest crew. He graduated from Kansas Wesleyan University in 1969 with a double major in chemistry and biology. Osborn was drafted in the Army three months after graduation and served a tour in Vietnam. After his discharge, he went back to school, enrolling at the University of Kansas. He graduated in 1974 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering.
His first professional job was with Wilson & Co., Engineers and Architects, in Salina and Wichita, Kansas, where he planned, designed and constructed sewers, water lines and water and wastewater treatment plants from 1975-1984. Lynn’s first look at trenchless technology occurred when the firm took on some pipe rehabilitation projects, mostly sliplining. The trenchless terminology wasn’t exactly mainstream at that point.
In fall 1982, Lynn got a better look at trenchless technology when he attended a St. Louis tradeshow that later became known as WEFTEC. There, he met trenchless industry trailblazer Bob Affholder, who built both Affholder Inc. and Insituform Mid-America into leaders in the pipeline rehabilitation and tunneling markets. Two years later he joined Insituform of North America (later known as Insituform Technologies) as its associate technical director, working with Tom Driver, the technical director and helping the trenchless industry and the CIPP innovator grow from relative obscurity to global giants.
After 31 years and spending more recent years concentrating on Engineering and R&D, Lynn retired from Aegion in 2014. He decided to take on a part-time industry role as the technical director of the National Association Of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO), an organization he had long participated in over the years. He spent his time there reviewing and writing for magazine articles, specifications and manuals, presenting papers at conferences, organizing technical sessions and workshops, teaching training courses and rewriting the Inspector Training and Certification Program CIPP Manual and training aids.
Lynn recently stepped down as technical director; however, he continues his NASSCO involvement. In addition, on October 1, 2019, Osborn became President of the American Society of Civil Engineer’s Utility Engineering & Surveying Institute.
Beyond the trenchless walls, Osborn enjoys spending time with his wife of 52 years, Ivy, as well as his daughters’ families, Julee and husband Dennis and Valerie and husband Ryan. He also enjoys being grandpa to two granddaughters and two grandsons, ranging in age from seventh grade to a mid-twenties.
Lynn and his wife enjoy church activities and summer trips to the mountains. They were avid bicyclists, having ridden across the state of Missouri on the Katy Trail 13 times for fund raisers, raising money for Habitat for Humanity. Osborn is also a lifelong runner.
For more information on the 2020 Class, visit nastt.org/no-dig-show/hall-of-fame where you can read full biographies of each inductee along with all recipients over the last 10 years.