April 2019 Vol. 74 No. 4


2019 MVP Osborn Helped Usher Modern Era of Rehab

Jeff Awalt  |  Executive Editor

The 2019 Most Valuable Professional winner Lynn Osborn (center) accepts his award from co-sponsors Robert Carpenter (left), of Underground Construction and Tim Peterie (right), UCTA.
The 2019 Most Valuable Professional winner Lynn Osborn (center) accepts his award from co-sponsors Robert Carpenter (left), of Underground Construction and Tim Peterie (right), UCTA.

When Lynn Osborn got involved in pipeline rehabilitation, the options were few and far between.

“Sliplining, grouting or dig it up and replace it. That was just about it in 1984 as far as pipeline rehabilitation was concerned,” Osborn said. “I don’t think the term ‘trenchless technology’ had even been coined at the time.”

Thirty-five years later, Osborn is renowned in the trenchless rehabilitation industry as one of the pioneers of cured-in-place design. His significant professional achievements and dedication to educational and organizational growth in the market were all key to his selection as 2019’s Most Valuable Professional by Underground Construction magazine and the Underground Construction Technology Association (UCTA).

His award was presented at the annual Underground Construction Technology (UCT) International Conference & Exhibition, in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We are extremely proud to honor such an outstanding recipient,” said Underground Construction Editor-in-Chief Robert Carpenter, adding: “Lynn Osborn truly personifies everything the MVP is all about.”

Midwest roots

A native of rural Kansas who worked through college cutting wheat during the summers from Oklahoma to Canada, Osborn was graduated from Kansas Wesleyan University, served a tour of Army duty in Vietnam, and resumed his studies at the University of Kansas after discharge in 1972. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering before joining the Kansas-based Wilson & Company in 1975.

During his nine years at the engineering and architecture firm, Osborn was involved in planning, design and construction of sewers, water lines, wastewater treatment plants and water treatment plants, advancing to project manager for environmental engineering. It was during his latter days at Wilson when Osborn first observed a CIPP project conducted by Insituform Mid-America. Excited by the technology and its potential, he joined Insituform in 1984 and launched an exceptional career of accomplishments and industry contributions.

“I was very fortunate to be involved during those formative years, to have the opportunity to help educate the industry, get other factions involved and spread the word,” Osborn told a near-record crowd at the MVP award luncheon, while joking that his work on the front lines of CIPP wasn’t always fun or easy.

“I wanted more hands-on experience. I wanted to get my hands dirty, to be in the field more,” he said of his attraction to the new job at Insituform. “A few months later I found myself standing on a large diameter CIPP jobsite in Maine, in January. And it was 3 o’clock in the morning—because it’s always 3 o’clock in the morning on large CIPP job sites—and I was freezing to death. And I thought, maybe I didn’t want to get this involved in the field work.

“But it worked out. When I look back on how lucky I was to be able to do the office
work and also get that field experience, I think that’s critical to this business that we’re in today,” he said.

He began his work at Insituform as associate technical director and eventually became director of engineering for the international construction company. Osborn’s last position with the company was senior applications manager, and he led the engineering efforts for Insituform globally, plus research and development activities for the CIPP product line.

After retiring from Insituform, Osborn formed LEO Consulting, an engineering consulting firm specializing in the trenchless rehabilitation of pipelines. He also became the technical director for the National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO).


Tim Peterie, business development manager at Insituform Technologies (Aegion) and a longtime associate, spoke of Osborn’s consistent good humor during their years together, but also noted his competitive spirit. Peterie was a former University of Tennessee-Knoxville cross-country standout, and Osborn had spotted him as a ringer.

“I had just started with Insituform in late 1999, and Lynn Osborn got ahold of me by early 2000 to ask if I would come to St. Louis and run in a marathon relay with him,” said Peterie, recalling they won their age group. “Lynn invited me over to his house. He and (his wife) Ivy fed me, entertained me—made me feel at home. I think that points to the kind of person Lynn is.”

That first impression proved itself over the past 20 years, said Peterie, who thanked Osborn for both his professional contributions and exemplary demeanor.

“Lynn impacted me not only with the help he’s given me on projects and all the questions he’s answered, but also with the patient way he’s always handled himself,” Peterie said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lynn raise his voice. He always keeps his composure and is willing to help anyone who needs it.”

Osborn has been a diligent participant in the many industry organizations that have shaped the marketplace for the past 40 years. In addition to serving on the board of directors of NASSCO, he is a past chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pipeline Division’s Executive Committee. When that committee along with the Survey Committee evolved into the Utility Engineering & Surveying Institute (UESI), he was elected to the board of governors and is currently the president-elect of that organization. He has served and been influential on several ASCE/UESI task committees, authoring and co-authoring many documents. Osborn has also been the technical program chair and co-chair for three separate Pipeline Conferences.

He has also been very active on various ASTM International standards committees as well. Osborn is a long-serving member of the industry advisory board for the Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University, a board member for the Center for Underground Infrastructure Research and Education (CUIRE) at the University of Texas-Arlington, and an active member of the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation. True to form, Osborn’s comments during the MVP event reflected his ongoing commitment to industry education.

“If I know anything about this industry, it’s largely been learned by my mistakes, and I’ve had a lot of practice over the years,” Osborn said.

“Hopefully, we learn from my mistakes—and especially survive our mistakes. That’s the key,” he said. “I think that’s why events like UCT are so important, because it’s an opportunity to learn from each other’s mistakes, and we should continue doing that.”

Osborn has received the ASCE Pipeline Division Award of Excellence, was named an ASCE Fellow, and is a Life Member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and ASCE. He also has received the Presidential Medallion from Louisiana Tech’s TTC.

Osborn and his wife have two daughters and four grandchildren. In addition to recognizing his professional colleagues in attendance at the MVP award ceremony, he also recognized his wife, Ivy, who worked as a registered nurse to support the family through Osborn’s graduate studies.

“I’d like to thank Ivy for her love and devotion over the years—51 years and counting.”

 MVP Lynn Osborn and wife of 51 years, Ivy.
MVP Lynn Osborn and wife of 51 years, Ivy.


Lynn Osborn chats with another MVP winner from 2000, Bob Affholder.
Lynn Osborn chats with another MVP winner from 2000, Bob Affholder.

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