Irv Gemora: Taking NASSCO To New Heights

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | January 2011 Vol. 66 No. 1
: Irv and Paula Gemora as the 2009 NASSCO Convention golf tournament in Miami Lakes, FL.

For the first time in decades, Irv Gemora doesn’t have a “regular” job to go to each day.

After retiring as executive director of NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies) last August, Gemora helped with the transition of the association’s new executive director, Ted DeBoda, and he remains on the payroll as a consultant until February.

“I’m available if needed, but I don’t go to the office much,” said Gemora. “Ted is just the right man to take on NASSCO, and he doesn’t need me looking over his shoulder. I’ve worked since I was 11 years old when I had a paper route, so it’s time to slow down. I will continue to conduct Pipeline Assessment and Certification Program (PACP) training and help on several projects. That will keep me as busy as I want to be.”

Gemora is using his new-found leisure time to work on his golf game and learn Spanish.

“Leaning to play the piano is another goal,” he said, “but I’ve decided to defer that for the present.”

Gemora was named NASSCO executive director in 2002, but he had several years experience with the association prior to that. As one of the former owners of Danby North America, a company specializing in the rehabilitation of large-diameter pipes, Gemora was an associate member of NASSCO and served in various capacities, including the board of directors.

“When I first joined NASSCO, associate members could not vote,” Gemora said. “That’s changed, and now they can vote and two associate members sit on the board. In the early days, some perceived NASSCO as a ‘good-old-boy club’ and I’m proud that view has changed. We have a mission -- NASSCO develops standards, best practices, certification programs and specifications. Because the need of a standard was widely recognized, PACP was almost immediately accepted and has become an international standard.

“I could not have had such a successful term as executive director without the help of Operations Manager Heather Myers. She started at NASSCO while a senior in college and has grown into a very competent manager. I am sure that when he arrived at NASSCO, Ted DeBoda immediately recognized Heather’s vital role in the organization.”

Accomplishments and praise
Many noteworthy accomplishments occurred during Gemora’s tenure; perhaps most significant is making the PACP a national standard, leading to the development of additional standards and best practices.