Akkerman Celebrates 50 Years of Trenchless Construction Excellence

the company’s recent anniversary celebration in Brownsdale, Minnesota.
Akkerman Vice President and CRO Jason Holden speaks to guests during the company’s recent anniversary celebration in Brownsdale, Minnesota.

Akkerman Inc., a leading manufacturer and supplier of tunneling and trenchless construction equipment, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023. The company is headquartered in Brownsdale, Minnesota, and has been providing innovative solutions for underground infrastructure projects since 1973.

To mark its 50th anniversary, Akkerman hosted a series of events and activities throughout 2023. As part of this milestone, Akkerman unveiled the newly constructed “D.H. Akkerman Training and Development Grounds” allowing customers to receive equipment training under a controlled environment.

“It was important for us to create a site where we can educate the trenchless industry as well as perform research and testing under extreme conditions by manipulating the ground conditions,” said Akkerman’s Vice President and CRO, Jason Holden.

Celebratory events included an open house featuring factory tours that showcased the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, equipment displays, evening banquet, and golf outing.

The anniversary celebration held on Sept. 12 started out with a tour of the company’s new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Brownsdale. The company showed off their equipment, some of the best in the industry, including enormous milling equipment that manufactured the company’s high-quality cutters.

The big reception and dinner held that evening at the Austin Country Club had as a guest NUCA’s chief executive officer Doug Carlson, and more than 100 employees and friends of the company. Day two found Carlson and company executives enjoying a company golf outing at the club.

Akkerman’s 50th anniversary is not only a celebration of its past achievements, but also a commitment to its future goals. “Our 50th anniversary is very special for both our employees and to our patrons that have supported us through the years. It is important to focus on our core ideologies that allowed success for D.H. and Maynard, while navigating the future with Justin at the helm,” stated Holden.

Akkerman Inc. was established in 1973 by Don (D.H.) and Marlys Akkerman after serving nearly two decades as a civil contractor. It was through the D.H. Akkerman Construction Company that inspired D.H. to design and build his first tunnel boring machine (TBM) in the early 1960’s. With an increasing demand for trenchless installations across the nation, D.H. took the opportunity to expand his business into an equipment manufacturing company.

Akkerman open house featuring factory tours
Celebratory events included an open house featuring factory tours that showcased the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, equipment displays, evening banquet, and golf outing.

Akkerman’s relationship with contractors has been the backbone of its business, as contracting is near and dear to its heart. When Maynard Akkerman officially joined the family business in 1973, both D.H. Akkerman Construction as well as Akkerman Inc. were in operation.

In 1987, Maynard and Robin Akkerman purchased Akkerman Inc. extending the family business into the second generation with Maynard at the helm. To allow the time and dedication necessary to grow Akkerman Inc., Maynard knew future success required the sale of D.H. Akkerman Construction Company to another civil contractor in 1990.

Prior to his retirement, D.H. passed along some words of advice to Maynard, becoming well-practiced among employees:

“Treat the customer like you would like to be treated if you were the contractor.”

Much like the “Golden Rule” spoken by Jesus in Matthew 7:12, the words from his father became a testament for Maynard’s future decision-making and business strategy.

Over the next few years, Akkerman expanded its product offers to include microtunneling, guided boring, sliplining, and other trenchless technologies. The company also established a strong reputation for quality, reliability, and customer service. Akkerman has worked on some of the most challenging and complex projects in the industry, including classified government projects.

Today, Akkerman is led by Maynard’s son, Justin Akkerman, who serves as the president. Justin grew up around the trenchless industry spending his summers at the factory or working with contractors developing his knowledge in the industry.

“Justin Akkerman is not only an innovator like his father was before him, he is also a kind businessman and a great mentor,” stated Holden.

The company employs nearly 100 people and is located at the original 33-acre site just west of Brownsdale, Minnesota. Akkerman continues to innovate and improve its products and services, as well as to support the growth and development of the trenchless industry. To learn more about Akkerman, go to www.akkerman.com.

This article was written by National Utility Contractors Association Staff, and originally appeared in Utility Contractor magazine.

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