Underground Construction - July 2022 - 19

HDD
HDD Hall of Famers Helped
Shape Modern Industry
Jeff Awalt | Executive Editor
John Hair and Frank Canon might have grown up on different
sides of the HDD track, but they both made pioneering contributions
to the future of the industry using specialized knowledge
as a primary tool.
Hair came to HDD and direct pipe installations by way of
a civil engineering path and experience with challenging river
crossings, both conventional and trenchless. Canon took his
oilfield experience as a mud engineer and became a renowned
educator on the use of drilling fluids in HDD.
Underground Construction met with both of these 2022 HDD
Hall of Fame recipients to discuss their unique careers and backgrounds
from the early days of an industry they helped design.
JOHN HAIR
Hair was born into a river-crossing family
in Baton Rouge, La. His father, Charles,
had graduated from Louisiana State
University (LSU) with a civil engineering
degree in 1942, just in time for World War
II. As an Army engineering officer, he commanded
a battalion that built pontoon
bridges across European rivers for General
George Patton's advance in Germany.
The younger Hair also enrolled in the civil engineering
program at LSU and got an early taste of the pipeline industry
when he took a summer job at his dad's employer, Baton
Rouge engineering firm Pyburn & Odom.
" I got a job in the drafting room and subsequently I worked
on a hydrographic survey party, " said Hair, who returned to
the company each summer as a student. " That really gave me a
foundation in what was involved in the pipeline industry, and
particularly river crossings. "
His experience didn't encourage him to work in the industry
- in fact, " I really didn't want to, " he said - but he ended
up going to work for Conoco's Continental Pipeline Company
after graduation as a management trainee. From there, he went
to work at Gulf Interstate Engineering in Alaska and worked
briefly in Philadelphia before moving to Texas.
Meanwhile, Hugh O'Donnell, a colleague of Hair's from
A special session at the Underground Construction Technology Conference
included HDD Hall of Fame awardees and co-moderators. Pictured are,
left to right: Grady Bell, Frank Canon, Robert Carpenter and John Hair.
Pyburn & Odom, had moved to Reading & Bates, after working
at Titan Contractors with 2020 Hall of Fame Inductee Martin
Cherrington, who helped pioneer HDD river crossings in
California. At a chance meeting in Houston, O'Donnell offered
Hair a job at Reading & Bates, one of the early adopters of HDD.
" And that's how I got involved in horizontal directional
drilling in construction, " Hair said.
Environmental benefits
HDD began to displace dredge crossings about 40 years ago,
Hair said, emphasizing the environmental benefits of the new
approach.
" I think a lot of people don't realize what it was like to put a
pipeline river crossing in before there was horizontal directional
drilling, " Hair said, recalling that a Mississippi River crossing
in those days had to be 25 feet below the bed.
" That would involve the dredging of well over a million cubic
yards just to put the pipe in. The environmental impact was
massive, " he said. " The bank work was - well, you just wouldn't
believe it - and there were only a few pieces of equipment that
could actually dredge a Mississippi River crossing.
" Even at its worst, the environmental impact of an HDD
crossing is not anywhere near what the best dredge crossing
would be, and that goes for smaller waterways, too, " he added.
Hair set out on his own in 1987, as Reading and Bates was
shedding some divisions, and founded J.D. Hair & Associates
(JDHA). His company would become a leader in the design
of HDD pipeline crossings and a go-to firm for significant and
challenging pipeline projects. But at the start, it consisted of
UCONonline.com | JULY 2022 19
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Underground Construction - July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Underground Construction - July 2022

Contents
Underground Construction - July 2022 - Cover1
Underground Construction - July 2022 - Cover2
Underground Construction - July 2022 - Contents
Underground Construction - July 2022 - 4
Underground Construction - July 2022 - 5
Underground Construction - July 2022 - 6
Underground Construction - July 2022 - 7
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Underground Construction - July 2022 - Cover3
Underground Construction - July 2022 - Cover4
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