Post-02. My remembrances of the early days of Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) continue:
Henry “Garon” Stutzman was the “inventor” and prime force behind the ideas and concepts that turned into Subsurface Utility Engineering. Garon was working as relocation engineer for Washington Gas Light (WGL) in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area in the 1970s. He became convinced that the traditional methods of dealing with utilities were wasting the money of the ratepayer and taxpayer. He was aware of the advantages of air/vacuum systems for safe excavation and the exposure of gas systems for anode emplacement. The spark of the idea that this safe excavation method could be used to gather data on the exact location of a utility during the design stage, coupled with his great energy, caused him to leave WGL in 1981 and form So-Deep, Inc.
I didn’t meet Garon until the 1991 and never got to know him well. He was an accomplished award-winning entrepreneur and businessman by that time and he was always very nice to me. Once after meeting him, he invited me to bring my family to his farm in The Plains on the coming Saturday to watch some mule races. He raised and raced mules for a hobby. He had invited other people as well, neighbors, co-workers, and friends, and it turned out to be a fabulous afternoon. There were two things I really liked about Garon: 1) He surrounded himself with very good people and allowed them to do their work without interference, and 2) he demanded excellence from all who worked for him regardless of the cost.
In my next post I will mention some of the things from the 1980’s I know about SUE, but most of what I post after that will be things I actually witnessed in the 1990’s while at the Federal Highway Administration.