Dr. Samuel Ariaratnam was recently elected to serve a three-year term as the new chairman of the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT). Dr. Ariaratnam previously served as vice chairman of ISTT having been elected to the position in 2007.
He has been an active member of both the ISTT and NASTT (North American Society for Trenchless Technology), having served on both society boards.
Dr. Ariaratnam became involved with trenchless construction methods in 1996 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. While serving on the faculty, he was instrumental in building a research and educational program in trenchless. He continues to develop research and education at Arizona State University where he currently serves as professor of Construction Management & Engineering Management in the Del E. Webb School of Construction in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering since 2001.
“I believe having served for so many years on the boards of both NASTT and ISTT has positioned me to work more effectively as the chairman for ISTT,” said Dr. Ariaratnam. “That was my proving ground, and now I’m looking forward to the challenges in ISTT’s next chapter as we take the society to the next level.”
Future of ISTT
Bringing the diverse range of trenchless technologies to the various countries and educating them in their use is paramount to reaching the goals Dr. Ariaratnam has set for himself and the ISTT over the next three years. “As we grow the trenchless industry, and I do believe trenchless methods are the future, it’s critical we focus on tailoring training to the different countries at the same time that ISTT stretches its reach into other countries,” said Dr. Ariaratnam. “I’ve targeted particular regions where ISTT needs to invest its resources to foster new societies. Argentina and Chile would be a complement to the South American societies and we need to look at Asia. The Singaporean and Chinese societies are ISTT Affiliates, but Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka are parts of Asia where there are opportunities for growth. These countries need a voice.”
Dr. Ariaratnam explained that in some of the less developed countries where water and sewer are critical elements, being able to bring trenchless technologies and the expertise of leaders in their field to them can help boost their economy and livelihood. “What we take for granted, simply turning on a tap and expecting clean water to come out or flushing a toilet and expecting it to work, are lacking in many regions of the world. From a societal perspective, I think it is important to build capacity in these countries and help train their people how best to do that using trenchless technologies.
“Of course, changing governments will always be a hurdle we have to overcome. For example, as ISTT begins to foster relationships in new areas, a favorable government may have a change in leaders and then we have to start the process all over again. We have a finite amount of time to move into some of these areas on the international scene. Working within the ISTT gives me a good link to governments and their agencies since I’m representing the international society to advance trenchless technology.”
When asked how he plans to achieve these goals, Dr. Ariaratnam says, “I want to work more closely with the ISTT’s Executive Sub-Committee to bring these technologies to the communities in the Affiliated Societies to reach our goals. Collaborating with groups like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the International Water Association will help us leverage our reach in communities that are in the most need.”
ISTT NO DIG
Attending the 29th International NO DIG is an ideal place for people to learn about new trenchless products and technologies, all in a new cultural arena, according to Dr. Ariaratnam. The world congress and exhibition on trenchless technology will be held in Berlin, Germany on May 2-5, 2011. “One of my mandates as chairman will be a more global vision for ISTT. By taking the venue out of a strictly European market and moving the convention to different countries, we will be able to reach more people worldwide,” explains Dr. Ariaratnam. “This past year, ISTT NO DIG was held in the Asia Pacific region; this year we’ll be in Europe, and then we travel to the Americas in Sao Paulo, Brazil before returning to the Asia Pacific in Sidney, Australia. The international show is a great way to be a part of the global arena.”
ISTT was established in 1986 with the following objectives:
• To advance the science and practice of trenchless technology for the public benefit, and
• To promote education, training, study and research in that science and practice.
ISTT encourages the formation and affiliation of societies sharing its objectives worldwide through its international and regional conferences, seminars and affiliates. Today, there are 26 Affiliated Societies representing 32 countries. Each is entitled to nominate a director on the ISTT board. For efficient day-to-day running, an Executive Sub-Committee is empowered to act for the full board.
Serving on the board with Dr. Ariaratnam are Derek Choi, vice chairman; John Hemphill, executive director; and Kyoko Kondo, membership secretary.