Michel’s Vandaelle Named 2024 Trenchless Technology Person of the Year


Trenchless Technology magazine announced that Craig Vandaelle of Michels Corp. is the recipient its 2024 Trenchless Technology Person of the Year award.

For more than 20 years, Vandaelle has cultivated widely respected leadership roles in the trenchless industry as a contractor and a thought-leader, through his relentless pursuit to drive the industry forward through his work on record-breaking projects, as well as his advocacy to make the industry he loves better, stronger and well positioned for the future.

“On behalf of the entire team here at Trenchless Technology magazine, I’d like to congratulate Craig on this prestigious honor,” says Mike Kezdi, managing editor Trenchless Technology and Trenchless Technology Person of the Year Selection Committee Chair. “Craig has spent the bulk of his career in the construction industry focused on trenchless technologies. The contributions he’s made to the industry both in his ‘day job’ and volunteering with organizations like NASTT are an example to trenchless technologists across the globe and are sure to have a lasting impact for generations to come.”

The Trenchless Technology Person of the Year award – established in 1993 – is considered the most prestigious annual trenchless industry award.

When notified of his Person of the Year selection, Vandaelle was overwhelmed, appreciative and humbled. “When I received the news that I had been selected as the Trenchless Technology Person of the Year, I was completely caught off guard,” Vandaelle says. “This is such a prestigious award; it took me a couple minutes to really grasp the gravity of the announcement. I can’t think of a greater honor within the trenchless industry than to have been selected for the award by my industry peers. This is an incredible acknowledgement, and I am truly honored, appreciative, and humbled by this news.”

As vice president of preconstruction services for the Micon Group (a Michels Company), Vandaelle is directly involved with many projects, leading the evolution of the trenchless industry to include solutions for traditional and transitioning energy, as well as transportation, water and wastewater markets.

Vandaelle is a construction veteran with 25 years of experience in the trenchless industry, more than half with Michels. During those years, he has excelled as a project leader, problem solver, innovator, business developer, connection maker and advocate for the trenchless industry in North America and around the world.

Above all, Vandaelle is a proponent of inclusion and collaboration, bringing the entire project team (owners, engineers and contractors) together to function as one. At Michels, he guides an environment where all members of the trenchless team openly share ideas, questions and concerns, regardless of experience or job title, to achieve the goal of developing safe, innovative and cost-effective solutions for customers. As a proponent of Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) and Alternative Delivery methods (Design/Build), Vandaelle has guided many successes through early, active and open collaboration between customers, engineering firms and contractors.

Vandaelle is actively involved in the Northern American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) at the national and chapter levels, serving in volunteer and leadership positions since 2010 when he got involved with the Northwest Chapter for NASTT. He went on to chair the NW Chapter in 2014 and 2015 and served as past chair during 2016 and 2017. He was elected to the NASTT Board of Directors in 2016. In 2018, Vandaelle became an executive officer and served as Chairman of the Board in 2019 and 2020. Serving as Chair during the height of COVID-19, Vandaelle showed exemplary leadership by developing a plan to keep the NASTT society strong and with continued growth during a time of economic instability.

Vandaelle will be formally recognized for this honor Monday, April 15, at NASTT’s 2024 No-Dig Show Kick-Off Breakfast at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Trenchless Technology Person of the Year has been awarded annually since 1993 to individuals representing significant recent achievement and lifetime achievement, and who have exhibited outstanding leadership in the advancement of trenchless technology. It is determined by a selection committee comprised of industry professionals.

To learn more about past recipients and to nominate a trenchless professional for the award, visit trenchlesstechnology.com/trenchless-technology-person-of-the-year-nominations.


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