November 2021 Vol. 76 No. 11


HDD Legends Canon, Hair to be Inducted into Hall of Fame

Frank Canon 

When it came to understanding the impacts of proper drilling fluid use for HDD, Frank Canon’s name instantly springs to mind for thousands of veteran drillers. His homespun teaching style and humor, combined with years of practical experience, made Canon the renowned educator for drilling mud. 

Frank Canon

ut Canon’s industry involvement was not just limited to mud schools. He was heavily embedded in the trenchless industry, particularly with HDD. Canon was a regular at conferences and conventions, providing unique, informative and easy-to-understand training. He also was involved with various associations and groups, serving as an advisor and on board of directors, for which he has received numerous industry awards. 

Canon also frequented many job sites, providing guidance and answers to mud challenges and complications. 

He started working for Baroid in 1975 as an oilfield mud engineer, covering all parts of the U.S. In 1991, he returned to Houston and assisted with Baroid’s newly formed Industrial Drilling Products Division. In 1992, Canon led the team that helped educate the growing HDD industry, by giving mud schools around the country and the world. In 2000 alone, Canon helped train over 4,000 people on the best use of  
drilling fluids for non-oilfield applications. 

He retired from Baroid on April 1, 2015. But as Canon joked “being April Fools Day, it did not take long for industry people to realize I was still available for free phone consultations and advice.” 

That same year, which also marked the 20th anniversary of UCT, Canon observed: “In 1995, most of us had no idea where new underground technologies were going to go. UCT has become a focal point of the industry. While there is strong attendance of engineers and utility providers, UCT still is very much a ‘contractors’ show. 

“One thing I like about the educational sessions is they focus on new developments in technology and procedures – they are very focused on real advances, not papers based on a rehashing of old information.” 

Canon has been aptly described as one of the great influencers in HDD industry. 

John Hair 

John Hair’s career in the pipeline industry spans almost 50 years. His efforts were critical to making the fledgling HDD industry an integral part when planning any pipeline project. 

John Hair

He tirelessly educated energy companies in the 1980s and ‘90s about the huge benefits HDD supplied for pipelines, if properly designed and engineered. Today, thanks in no small part to Hair’s efforts, HDD opportunities are one of the first things considered with any pipeline project. 

Hair started his career by working as a draftsman on pipeline river crossing projects while a civil engineering student at Louisiana State University. His career became focused on horizontal directional drilling in 1980, when he joined Reading & Bates Horizontal Drilling Company, an early leader in HDD pipeline construction. 

In 1987 he founded J. D. Hair & Associates to provide specialized engineering services related to HDD projects. Under his leadership, the firm has consulted on more than 1,000 HDD crossings in locations ranging from Alaska to Australia. Clients have been based on every continent, except Antarctica ,and include Fortune 500 energy companies, major international design and construction firms, and HDD contractors. 

Hair retired in 2018 and facilitated an employee buyout of the company he had founded. He resides in Tulsa, Okla. In October 2021, J.D. Hair & Associates was acquired by Michels Trenchless, a wholly owned subsidiary of Michels Corp.


Industry Support 

To make this special HDD Reunion and Hall of Fame possible, leading HDD companies are stepping up to sponsor the event and support their friends and customers. 

To date, sponsors include: 

Bell Trenchless Consulting 

Brownline USA Inc. 

Century Products 

Derrick Corporation 

E&M Supply Group 

HardRock Directional Drilling 

Indumar ProductsInc. 

Inrock Drilling Systems 

J.T. Miller LLC 

LaValley Industries 

Mears Group Inc. 


TT Technologies Inc. 


Underground Construction / UCT 

To become an HDD Reunion Sponsor or exhibit at UCT, contact Jenna Rutan,, (713) 520-4413. 


HDD Reunion Schedule at UCT 

Tuesday, Jan. 25 

  • HDD Educational Program, 8:30 a.m. to noon
  • HDD Exhibition @ UCT, noon to 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 26 

  • HDD Educational Program, 8:30 a.m. – noon

° HDD Contractors Roundtable, 9:30–10:30 a.m. 

° HDD Hall of Fame Conversations with Frank Canon and John Hair, 11 a.m. to noon 

  • HDD Exhibition @ UCT, noon to 4:30 p.m.
  • HDD Reunion, 4:45–6:30 p.m. including introduction of 2022 HDD Hall of Fame Honorees Frank Canon and John Hair

Thursday, Jan. 27 

  • HDD Exhibition @ UCT, noon to 4:30 p.m.

For more information on registering to attend, go to 

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