Longtime Industry Servant Recognized By UCTA, Underground Construction
Gerhard (Gerry) Muenchmeyer, P.E., was honored as the underground construction and rehabilitation industry’s Most Valuable Professional. The award is jointly presented annually by the Underground Construction Technology Association and Underground Construction magazine.
Muenchmeyer received the award at a sold-out luncheon on the opening day of the Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) at the Fort Worth, TX, Convention Center.
Muenchmeyer is principal of the consulting engineers Muenchmeyer Associates LLC, located in Merritt, NC, and a NASSCO Master Trainer.
Muenchmeyer was instrumental in introducing the cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) technology in New England. Since then, his professional career has been dedicated to the development, support and promotion of trenchless pipeline rehabilitation technologies including the launching of folded pipe and UV cured technologies, in addition to CIPP.
He continues to teach, train and certify trenchless professionals; provides expert technical opinions for legal disputes; and has written numerous industry training manuals and certification programs, articles, papers and specifications for use by the rehabilitation industry.
In accepting the award, he said that “I am proud to have been a part of this industry for 50-plus years,” he said. “I appreciate the MVP award and consider it also a tribute to my wife, Patti, who has been with me the entire time. She is here today, along with my son, Clayton, and son-in-law, Will Markey, [both employed by the Michels Corp.]. We are truly a trenchless family.
Born in Austria, Muenchmeyer and his family moved to Germany, then emigrated to the United States when he was a child. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and while working full-time, attended the City College of New York in the evenings to obtain his degree in civil engineering.
Muenchmeyer began his career with the New York City Department of Public Works. Throughout his professional life, he has been involved in designing, constructing and rehabilitating underground pipeline systems. Over his career, he has been a consulting engineer, assistant commissioner of a municipal public works department, a contractor, industry lecturer, trainer, writer and mentor of young professionals.
“Ten years ago,” Muenchmeyer said, “I ‘retired’ but, realized I still had the opportunity to contribute to the industry in education and training – that’s been my focus ever since. I became technical director of NASSCO while remaining active in industry organizations and their educational programs.
“The message I want to leave with you all is the importance of educating the young professionals moving up in the industry. For too long, ‘training’ consisted of information passed along by word of mouth from one person to another, then to another. But as we’ve grown to a multi-billion-dollar industry, that’s not enough.”
Muenchmeyer is co-founder of NASSCO’s RehabZone, the educational “show-within-a-show” and “no-sell zone” at UCT for the past 16 years.
“I recommend you go through the RehabZone. It’s a great way to learn what’s happening in the industry, and you don’t have to listen to sales presentations. It provides diverse information from industry professionals,” he pointed out.
He also praised training programs being conducted by NASSCO and other organizations.
“But it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “We haven’t reached the point where we train applicators and installers and contractors. I was an instructor at a course last year, and one of the guys in the class told me he’d been a CIPP inspector for 25 years and no one had ever taught him anything. He really appreciated hearing good information at an organized training program.
In addition to engineering, Muenchmeyer’s resume reflects expertise in marketing and sales.
“The engineering obviously is important,” he said, “but it’s good for an engineer to be able to focus on marketing concepts and not be limited to engineering only. When presenting to municipal groups, there are usually management people and others who don’t have a lot of technical knowledge, and it is important to be able to relate to them. On the other hand, in the private sector a meeting about a project may be exclusively with other engineers. A technical marketing person or marketing engineer is a major plus.”
Muenchmeyer credits much of the success in his career to the diversity of his experience.
“I am an engineer,” he said. “I’ve worked for municipalities so I know what it’s like to be a city engineer. I’ve been a contractor and understand that point of view and those concerns. And I’m a consulting engineer who knows how to design a project. Understanding marketing and sales helps when presenting the details of a project design.”
He also appreciates that underground construction has truly been a family business. Few wives could be more interested, supportive and involved in her husband’s business life than Patti Muenchmeyer.
“At the first trade show we attended 34 years ago, she was in the booth with me selling,” he said. “She was still working at the 2017 UCT show passing out commemorative t-shirts to those who went through the RehabZone.”
Sharing his knowledge and insights is an important factor in his continuing enjoyment and success, and a strong recommendation to other industry leaders − especially those nearing retirement.
“Make sure you give back to the industry,” he said. “Even if it’s part time, stay involved, mentor someone, share what you know. It’s a good way to still be a part of a great industry and stay connected with a lot of good people. That’s what makes it difficult to leave and retire; I have so many good friends.”
His final comments focused on an even bigger picture of his life and career. “I want to applaud America as the land of opportunity. I am an immigrant. I worked hard, went to night school, and I am an example of the possibilities of achieving your goals. I don’t ever take America for granted and appreciate everything this country has afforded me and my family,” Muenchmeyer stressed
Still Going Strong
After more than 50 years in underground construction, Gerry Muenchmeyer remains busy lecturing, leading training forums, and writing technical articles about underground construction, trenchless methods and safety. His career accomplishments include:
- Developed, launched and teaches the NASSCO Inspector Training and Certification Programs for Cured-In-Place-Pipe and Manhole Rehabilitation
- Co-founded the RehabZone, an international display of historical and new pipe rehabilitation technologies presented at the annual UCT convention
- Co-founder of the NASSCO/WRc Pipe Assessment Certification Program (PACP)
- Development of the NASSCO Performance Specification Guidelines
- Co-developer of the NASSCO Manhole Assessment Certification Program (MACP)
- Developed the NASSCO Lateral Assessment & Certification Program (LACP)
- Co-founder of the Pipe Rehabilitation Council (PRC);
- Co-founder and past chairperson of the International Pipe Bursting Association (IPBA).
Registrations and affiliations include:
- Registered Professional Engineer active in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona; retired in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York
- Inducted into the ASCE Order of the Engineer, June 1989
- Inducted into the NASSCO Select Society of Sanitary Sewer Sleuths in 2012 by industry peers
- 2014 Trenchless Technology Person of the Year
- NSPE past member, past chapter president, and state officer
- Member of ASCE since 1977; WEF since 1977; and NASTT, NASSCO, SAME, NSPE and IPBA.