Polar opposite

By Robert Carpenter, Editor | June 2009 Vol. 64 No. 6

Dr. Raymond Sterling officially retired in May as the director of the Trenchless Technology Center at Louisiana Tech University. He has managed the center since 1995. He plans on still being involved with research projects on a limited basis.

When the center’s founder, Dr. Tom Iseley, left the university in 1994, the center, despite the university’s best efforts, fell upon hard times. Typical of Ray, he carefully planned his retirement so that the center would be left in good hands. Former associate director Dr. Rob McKim is returning as administrative director and Dr. Erez Allouche, who had served as associate director, was appointed technical director.

For most people, the status of the TTC as a leading trenchless research institute will be how Ray’s tenure is remembered. But to me, Ray’s legacy will always be connected to how he led the center from obscurity and near-death to the prosperous status it enjoys today. When he took over as director, Ray quickly perceived the industry’s needs and politics while recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the TTC. Then, as was his quiet and efficient manner, he set about establishing a course for the center to become all-inclusive, fundamentally sound and financially secure in its research efforts. Ray’s leadership was not one of a cheerleader; rather, he led by listening, becoming actively involved in the market and then implementing wise policy.

Senior Editor Jeff Griffin profiles the accomplishments at the Trenchless Technology Center under Dr. Sterling’s tenure.

Stay in touch Ray, you’re still needed.