When it comes to the promotion of rehabilitation technology, the tireless efforts of Joseph G. Majdalani have earned him the honor of Most Valuable Professional for 2009 from the Gulf Coast Trenchless Association and Underground Construction magazine.
Majdalani was presented the award at a special luncheon held at the Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio on Jan. 20, in San Antonio, TX.
As the former senior assistant director of Wastewater Operations, a division of the Public Works & Engineering Department for the city of Houston, Majdalani directed the operation of 660 employees, 40 wastewater treatment plants, 420 pump stations, three wet weather facilities, 33,500,000 linear feet of gravity collection system and 1,500,000 linear feet of force main. He administered an annual operating budget of $115 million and a capital improvement projects budget of $156 million.
Majdalani has had a varied career in both the private and public sectors over the past 24 years. He has risen through the ranks of structural engineer, civil engineer, chief engineer and water utilities engineer to his role as senior assistant director. Along the way, he completed both a bachelor’s and a master’s of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas, Louisiana and California.
Majdalani is a strong proponent for considering trenchless construction and rehabilitation technologies when planning a city’s projects. He has earned a reputation among contractors for taking a practical approach in seeking realistic solutions for complex solutions.
“Joe has been a huge proponent of trenchless technology his entire career,” commented Russell C. Ford, business development manager for LAN and past president of GCTA. “While Joe was with the Public Works Department for the city of Beaumont, he championed the use of pipe bursting and trenchless rehabilitation, making Beaumont the first city in the United States to use trenchless methods that were installed by city crews.
“Then, when he began working for the city of Houston, Joe maintained a professional relationship with the contractors. He worked to streamline the city’s processes to make his department friendlier to the trenchless industry and help get projects underway more quickly and make sure contractors were paid promptly for work completed,” Ford said.
In his acceptance speech, Majdalani acknowledged the unique working relationship between the city and the contractor. “It takes both a qualified city staff and the contractor community to complete jobs on time and on budget; otherwise we couldn’t do what we do on our own. We must work together and not reinvent the wheel – together we can accomplish more.”
Reflecting on his past achievements, Majdalani says he hit his stride professionally while working for the city of Beaumont. His 12-year tenure and position as water utilities manager provided Majdalani with the experience to develop, manage and implement the capital improvements program for the city’s Water Utilities Department.
“The results of the capital improvements program proved to be rewarding to the citizens of Beaumont and to myself,” said Majdalani. “This achievement paved the road for me in developing the Houston Public Works & Engineering Department’s Pipe Renewal Program.”
Majdalani is an advocate for trenchless rehabilitation technologies and believes in using them whenever possible to their fullest potential.
“Trenchless technologies save time, money and inconvenience to home owners and businesses, while at the same time minimizing the impact on traffic and the environment,” stressed Majdalani.
“One of the largest rehabilitation projects I have been involved with was replacing the sanitary sewer lines in the city of Beaumont,” said Majdalani. “The project required everything from the purchase of equipment to training and educating staff to the final phase of implementing trenchless technology. We formed separate city crews to oversee each task that included a pipe bursting team, a sliplining team and a directional drilling team. The project proved to be very successful.”
When asked where he thinks trenchless technology is headed, Majdalani had this to say: “The focus in the past has been on the gravity systems (non-pressure pipe). The industry should be focusing on the pressure systems, specifically sanitary sewer force mains and water mains. In addition, city municipalities can do more to understand these technologies and their economical benefits by educating their staff and making them a part of the process. They also can implement a pilot project to feel more comfortable with the outcome. Education is the key.”