Mr Henneveld arrived in Australia in 1952 as the son of a Dutch emigrant, and grew up in country Western Australia. He graduated from the University of Western Australia with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1968 and started his career with the Public Works Department of Western Australia.
After a career path that had a strong focus on the operations and maintenance of water supplies, wastewater schemes and irrigation and drainage schemes, as well as program and project delivery in water infrastructure, he became heavily involved in Trenchless Technology in 1987. As a senior manager for the Water Authority of Western Australia, he was responsible for the purchase and deployment of microtunnelling equipment, a responsibility that later increased to cover the application of Trenchless Technology on all of the State’s water and wastewater programs.
This interest in Trenchless Technology led to an involvement with other trenchless professionals in the emerging industry that saw Mr Henneveld become the inaugural chairman of the Australian (later Australasian) Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT), which started in early 1991 and was subsequently affiliated with the ISTT, also in 1991.
After some 38 years in the water industry in Western Australia, Mr Henneveld was appointed to the position of Commissioner for Main Roads, Western Australia in December 2002. Mr Henneveld said at the time that “There have been many interesting opportunities to introduce Trenchless Technology to the transport industry and I am confident we will see a closer interest in the technology from this sector.”Article continues below…
Trenchless Technology surfaces in Australasia
Mr Henneveld was involved with early applications of horizontal thrust boring in the 1970s, but his real interest in Trenchless Technology was sparked by an extremely challenging deep sewer project in the Perth suburb of Huntingdale in 1987. The solution involved a form of slurry shield microtunnelling, guidance from international experts was essential.
As the benefits of the new technologies became more widely known, their use increased across Australasia. In October 1989, a technical sub-committee of the Water Resources Council conducted a two-day seminar on Trenchless Technology in Perth, Western Australia. Despite a national air strike at the time, the seminar attracted some 160 delegates from across Australia. At a panel discussion with delegates at the conclusion of the seminar, it was agreed that an Australian Society should be formed.
Mr Henneveld met Jeff Pace, Secretary of the ASTT, in 1972 at Mandurah, Western Australia. Both men were working for the Public Works Department (now the Water Corporation of Western Australia) on a series of projects of supplying the town with reticulated sewerage and water supply. The formidable trenchless duo became reacquainted when Mr Pace joined Mr Henneveld’s Major Projects Branch in 1991 as Project Co-ordinator.
Mr Pace remembers “It was here that Menno asked me to form a Society for Trenchless Technology, which I did – even though I had no idea of what the term ‘Trenchless Technology’ meant.”
Mr Henneveld said “Throughout the development of ASTT and its ongoing involvement with ISTT, Jeff Pace – secretary and treasurer of ASTT over the past 20 years – has been of an enormous help, assistance and support and ASTT would not be in its current sound position without the generous amount of time he has put in.”
On 11 March 1991, the Australian Society for Trenchless Technology was incorporated under Mr Henneveld’s direction. Membership consisted of 13 Corporate and 20 Individuals.
In October 1991, ASTT conducted its first council meeting that was held in Brisbane with 20 attendees. This meeting was also attended by a delegation of members of the JSTT, led by Dr Toyama. This provided encouragement for the ASTT, and the first business planning session was conducted at this workshop.
The first National Conference and Exhibition was held in Melbourne in September 1992. In 1994, at the second Conference and Exhibition, the name of the Society was changed from Australia to Australasian to include the rapidly developing New Zealand trenchless industry.
Mr Henneveld identified that for, the future of the ASTT, the association needed to consider the following:
* Uniform standards and guidelines to the trenchless industry; * Promotion of Trenchless Technology to the tertiary institutions; * Developing a register of services available in Australia and New Zealand; and * Linking ASTT with similar groups of interest.
Mr Henneveld said in 1996 that “Trenchless technologies offer alternatives to other ways of working on utilities underground and we need to force environmental and social cost considerations onto the decision page of every project study. I have found it rewarding to speak to decision makers in environmental regulatory agencies, advising them of the availability of trenchless technologies.
“They now ask utilities and contractors when submitting Environmental Management Plans whether trenchless options have been considered. If trenchless is not an option, then it is not chosen, but the right questions have been asked.”
Since 1991, the ASTT has held seven national and two International Conference and Exhibitions in Australia. In October 2000, ASTT conducted the successful No-Dig 2000 in Perth, Western Australia. This was the first No-Dig to be held in the southern hemisphere.
Memories of Menno
Mr Pace said “Menno will be missed from my perspective as I have had an extremely close involvement with him since 1991. Perhaps what I will miss the most is his extraordinary ability to come up with strategic and sometimes out-of-box ideas that most mortals would never consider when posed with an idea or concept. Menno has the ability to visualise the big picture and for this he will be missed.”
As for the future of the industry, Mr Henneveld said “In the longer term I hope, but cannot guarantee, that the environmental and social benefits of using trenchless techniques will become increasingly in demand and that government practices will dictate that open cut will slowly become the exception rather than the rule. It is the responsibility of trenchless technologists themselves to make this happen.
“It is nonetheless encouraging to see that most larger civil contracting organisations have ready access to the range of no-dig technologies, and this growth is occurring in parallel with an ever growing number of specialist trenchless contracting firms. If there is a trenchless solution then any utility, anywhere in the world can conceivably have access to it.”
On a personal note, Mr Henneveld said “None of this interest or involvement in both my career and Trenchless Technology would have been possible without the loving support of my wife, Monika.”