The Australasian trenchless industry is in mourning following the loss for former ASTT Victorian Councillor, Chris Geehman.
Chris, who graduated from Monash University in 1973 with qualifications in civil engineering, was a passionate member of the industry and had an immense impact on the Australasian no-dig sector. He was involved in the design and construction of parts of Melbourne’s water supply and sewerage systems for more than 35 years.
Until his retirement in 2007, Chris worked for six government departments and water boards, the last of which was South East Water which he joined when the utility was formed in 1995. In 2010, his efforts to promote trenchless solutions, dedication to the ASTT and his contributions to the sector culminated into him earning the ASTT Person of the Year Award.
ASTT Secretary Jeff Pace says Chris was a complete gentleman. The two first crossed paths in the mid-90s when Mr Pace, working for Water Corporation at the time, was collecting information on South East Water’s quality, occupational health and safety, and environmental management systems.
“Chris provided me with more information on these items than I had ever imagined I would receive,” says Mr Pace. “The way he provided the information was in his usual way: delivered in a very polite manner. Later, when he became the Victorian Councillor in 2006, I was not surprised to see that his approach to helping others had not changed.
“He was genuine and went out of his way to provide added value to others in the industry.”
Some of Chris’ significant contributions to the industry include the development of the first Schedule of Rates contract to deliver sewer relining by a major Australian water authority, facilitating the introduction of new trenchless technologies in collaboration with Australian Underground Technologies, as well as his involvement in various no-dig training courses.
During his time with ASTT and South East Water, where he managed major projects and renewals, Chris made numerous presentations on the benefits of no-dig methods, including ‘Trenchless technology – the unseen solution’ at a trenchless seminar in July 2006.
Another memorable paper was on the Hallam Valley Main Sewer Extension Project, which he presented at the International Society for Trenchless Technology’s 24th International No-Dig Conference and Exhibition in Brisbane, Queensland.
In 2006, he took over from John DeGrazia as the ASTT Victorian Councillor, serving in the role until retired in January 2007, passing the baton to current President Chris Frangos.
Mr Frangos says Chris was one of his mentors who was always happy to offer guidance and support.
“He encouraged me to take on the role of Victorian Councillor – if I remember correctly, he would not take no for an answer – as he prepared for retirement but remained active in the industry for a number of the years that followed,” he says.
“Chris was a prominent figure in promoting trenchless technology and was instrumental in introducing UV, cured-in-pipe place to the Australian market in the early 2000s. He has left an indelible influence on Australasia’s trenchless industry.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and former colleagues. May he rest in peace.”