Pipe View Featured on Cover of Cleaner Magazine

Pipe View Featured on Cover of Cleaner Magazine

A View From Above

By Marian Bond

When licensed civil engineer Nick Mathey first heard about televising sanitary and storm sewer lines he had just completed designing a subdivision, complete with roads, retention ponds, and sanitary and storm sewer lines. The reviewing engineer said the plan looked great, but noted in the specifications that the contractor should have sewers televised before acceptance by the municipality.

“My thought was, ‘What does this mean?’” Mathey says. “I didn’t know about this, but I went and found out, thinking what a cool thing the technology was — somebody playing with a robot collecting data. I knew this was something I would enjoy doing. I thought I would be able to add an engineering flair, and perhaps give clients more value. As an engineer I would be able to talk with people at a different level and hopefully provide an edge to the process.”

Pipe View was born. The young entrepreneur already had a full-time job, so his new endeavor was often overwhelming in those first years as he gathered clients and subcontracted televising jobs in his off hours.

In the beginning, Mathey televised storm drains and worked on pre-construction projects where he inspected lines under roadways to document conditions. Although he initially targeted contractors, opportunities soon opened up with municipalities, and he eventually expanded his services to include sanitary lines. In 2013, the company branched out into gas and power line inspections for several utility companies, which became a major part of the business.

Mathey initially designed and used his own camera and transport systems, which performed satisfactorily, and he ran the business on his own. However, he soon realized that for Pipe View to succeed, he would have to focus solely on the business. The comfort of a full-time job had to go, and the equipment would have to come from established CCTV manufacturers.

By 2010, Mathey had partnered with Gary Rabine, whose group of companies offered complimentary services. Pipe View subcontracted for those operations, and Mathey secured office space with Rabine and shared supporting services in their Schaumburg, Ill., facility.

The transformation was in full swing, and by the end of 2013, Mathey had four NASSCO certified technicians and five Aries Industries CCTV vans on the road traveling as far away as Colorado, Mississippi and Illinois to provide TV inspections. Staff also included three team techs, and office assistant Grace McCafferty. Mathey’s father, Jim Mathey, works for Pipe View, and initially, his grandfather, Paul Goralka, went on some of those early service calls.

Mathey also credits his supervisor, Bill McCafferty, who oversees his own CCTV van and two others.

Mathey’s many long hours doing nighttime inspections and running the operation were paying off, and he was able to turn his attention to estimating, servicing existing clients, setting goals, promoting Pipe View and, most important, pushing his team to a high standard of excellence. He also began exploring new avenues for advancement in pipeline inspection technology.

Circle of catalysts

The winning team includes Mathey and his employees, Rabine and the Rabine Group, and Aries because Mathey considers the manufacturer an essential part of the circle. He continually consults with Aries engineers on equipment performance and innovation. He also depends on family support, even down to his little daughter, Hannah, who named the Aries camera “Buddy.”

When Mathey committed to investing in the camera system in 2010, he invited several top manufacturers to visit his facility, and after careful evaluation, he settled on Aries.

“My plan was to bring a new level of expertise using these neat tools in verifying the conditions of pipes and finding obstacles,” Mathey says. “But I wanted the tool to be chiseled out of engineering basics or standards, explaining why we do things, such as by providing summaries at the end of a project. That is kind of what engineers do in determining a goal. You look at something, and put together a conclusion or summary as to what you found with the data. This is why we send our technicians to become NASSCO certified.”

In 2011, Mathey realized lateral launching was an opportunity to expand service for his customers. The company had primarily televised mainlines before that point, but the technology has been a boon for Pipe View and now represents up to 95 percent of the business.

“When we offered this, I wasn’t that surprised that it took off so quickly,” he says. “But I did see it as a risk in the beginning. This has proven to be profitable for us, and gives us an area where we can use our expertise and our ability to document — to give that engineering flair I looked for, to use all of our tools. It has been a great fit for us.”

The NASSCO training and standards offer more than just guidelines for inspecting pipe; they provide parameters for proper documentation.

“We want to document, diagnose — and if requested — design the solution,” Mathey says. “We don’t just say what is going on, but why it is going on. We offer to design solutions. To simply document is like a flat soda.”

World of pipes

Pipe View has inspected miles and miles of storm and sanitary sewer lines in the past few years. In Colorado, the company is televising lines running under roadways scheduled for surface improvements.

“Wherever you have hard surfaces, there will usually be sewers underneath. If a company is improving the surface, why not know what lies beneath?” Mathey says.

Mathey says they have televised 4- to 72-inch lines, but pipes are typically 8 to 18 inches. They find everything from collapsed and broken pipe to roots, cracks and even animals that have moved in. Some pipes are no longer round, some are underwater and some have dips that hold water. For the team in the field, his goal is to share the vision and show the big picture.

“I want them to have instant connectivity and transparency for the work of the day. That is what is important,” Mathey says. “Our customers do not want to know this week what was done last week. They want real time. We want real-time activities, real-time connectivity.

“Part of that is listening to the ideas of the technicians,” he says. “We are always changing our standard operation or procedure. Not big changes. Little changes. Somebody comes up with how to do something differently. We implement it. That is a big deal to us. These are the guys doing the work. This is like a suggestion box. My guys are always sending a text or an email to make a suggestion. They have ownership. Part of our quality control process is giving rewards. When we are looking for something in a pipe, and they find it, we give a bonus. Something like a utility that crosses the pipe, that’s an instant bonus. We don’t reward for the number of units televised, but for the quality of what they find and accomplish. The last thing our clients want is the numbers. They want results.”

Motivational management

Because Mathey sends his technicians away on one- or two-week assignments, he describes his management style as that of a leader with a vision who inspires his employees to follow. As a manager, he sees that his job is creating strategies and implementing goals. Basically, he wants to have the right people in place, people he can depend on during these assignments.

“Typically, we will have one box truck with a two-man crew on a site to service a job to inspect 12,000 lineal feet of pipe in a week,” he says. “A two-man crew will consist of the lead man and a technician. Each position is important, but the truck belongs to the lead. It is his truck. The goal for each technician is to achieve a lead position. We want our people to have a sense of wanting advancement, and this becomes a ladder they can climb to their full potential. This helps us achieve a good cohesive team. Furthermore, when we add a new truck we will have a lead in waiting.”

Mathey visits remote job sites if there’s a new job or client, or as the project demands, but he has complete confidence in his team. Additionally, daily report cards for each truck show the quantity of work done or the footage in lineal feet – whatever the project requires.

“With these reports I know in an instant how a job is going,” he says. “We work in harsh conditions, and maintenance of equipment is always on our minds. When we have a problem with our equipment, there is always a backup camera, and Aries also has plants in Atlanta, California and Wisconsin should such a need arise. But this is where our training comes in. Every van has a toolbox, and our crews are trained to handle the most critical issues that can come up on this equipment. There is not much our guys have not seen, and they know how to adapt. There is a lot about our business that is not cut and dried. You have to have adaptability to be successful.”

All comforts on the road

Pipe View utilizes three dedicated inspection vans with climate-controlled control rooms. Cameras include the Aries Pathfinder Zoom, used for mainline inspections, and two Aries Lateral Evaluation Television Systems (LETS). They also use two Aries Seeker Portable Pipeline Video Inspection Systems, and a RIDGID SeekTech SR20 for locating.

A significant portion of Pipe View’s work comes through the Rabine Group, which handles maintenance, asphalt and paving. Pipe View also gets referrals from Rabine for other contractors.

While providing a solution in each situation is one of Mathey’s goals, it’s not always part of the project. He says they do suggest options and strategies, and generally consult with clients right in the field.

“We don’t bring data back to the office because most often we are on site to discuss the job. For us, it is all about timing. Real time. Real-time connectivity in the field. Providing the information our clients need. That sums up our goals.”


A View from Above was originally published as the cover story in Cleaner Magazine’s April 2014 issue. For more information on Pipe View, visit www.pipeviewamerica.com

Rabine Group to Host St. Baldrick’s Event

Rabine Group to Host St. Baldrick’s Event

Rabine Group Employees Shave Their Heads for Charity

Rabine Group Foundation is hosting a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event on April 29th, 2014 at the Rabine Group headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois.

175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. St. Baldrick’s is a charity which holds head-shaving events with the goal of raising money to fund research to help find cures for childhood cancer. St. Baldrick’s is dedicated to research, prevention, and early detection of childhood cancer.

Rabine Group employees have participated participated in past St. Baldrick’s events, shaving their heads in the name of charity. The Rabine Group Foundation is proud to continue supporting such an amazing cause.

To sign up to shave your head or to donate to the cause, visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/rabinegroupfoundation.

Chicago Fills Over 240,000 Potholes & Counting

Chicago Fills Over 240,000 Potholes & Counting

The snow is finally melting, revealing thousands of potholes left behind by the worst winter we’ve seen in years.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced that as of March 2014, over 240,000 potholes have already been filled, with at least 25,000 potholes still tormenting drivers and pedestrians alike.

CDOT filled 625,000 potholes across Chicago in 2013, and it looks like they’ll have their work cut out for them this year. CDOT currently has 36 crews working to finish filling the currently reported potholes.

Potholes damage cars, present trip hazards and cause further deterioration to your pavement. For the safety of your patrons and to extend the life of your lot, it is vital to fill potholes and seal cracks immediately to prevent further pavement damage and to keep moisture out of the pavement. For more information on how you can extend the life of your pavement, contact us at (888) 722-4633.

UltraLot Whitetopping: The Future In Parking Lot Pavement Is Here

UltraLot Whitetopping: The Future In Parking Lot Pavement Is Here

Concrete’s Rock Solid Prices are Winning the Battle for Millions of Square Feet in Parking Lots.

By: Gary Rabine

Asphalt prices increased by 400% between 2006 and 2009 and have continued to rise since. Asphalt prices will continue to rise because the material is dependent on oil. Asphalt requires annual maintenance and has a relatively short life span—usually about 12-16 years assuming the lot is maintained each year.

Commercial property managers and building owners have known that asphalt prices rise and that asphalt parking lots require maintenance for years. So why have asphalt parking lots dominated the capital paving projects for so long?

The first reason is data. As more data about the true cost of maintaining an asphalt parking lot has become available over the last ten years, property managers and building owners are becoming more sophisticated in the way they evaluate capital spend and it’s impact on the ensuing maintenance of the lot. Second, the construction industry has made critical improvements to the equipment used in the placement of concrete. Finally, The Rabine Group invented UltraLot® Whitetopping giving property managers and building owners the option to convert an asphalt lot to a concrete lot at a lower cost than a full concrete replacement.

Pavement companies with national scale are relatively new and organizations like the Rabine Group have dramatically improved the industry’s ability to use data to forecast price increases and measure the cost of maintenance for asphalt lots. The standard methods of crack sealing, seal coating, striping, patching (removal and replacement), and asphalt overlays (resurfacing) will extend the life of an asphalt lot for an additional 5-10 years. However, these maintenance methods are subject to the same price increases as the initial asphalt parking lot! To make matters worse, the equipment required to maintain the asphalt consumes large amounts of oil and gas making the process even more sensitive to persistent oil price inflation. If any money is saved during the initial installation of an asphalt lot, those savings are undoubtedly lost during the maintenance phase of the asphalt parking lot’s life.

Unlike the oil dependent asphalt, the price of concrete placement has fallen due to advances in technology and the construction process. Concrete material by volume is less expensive than asphalt, but until recently, the process of pouring concrete has been much more costly. Equipment used to place asphalt has made dramatic improvements in accuracy, efficiency and accessibility—not to mention the implicit cost savings that a parking lot that lasts more than 40 years delivers to the bottom line. Concrete, on it’s own, has become more price competitive, sustainable and easier to work with while maintaining it’s integrity as a material that will last more than four decades.

It wasn’t until recently that concrete started replacing asphalt overlays in parking lots around the country. The catalyst for this shift is Rabine’s UltraLot® Whitetopping.

The UltraLot® Whitetopping process is similar to an asphalt overlay. The existing asphalt or concrete pavement must be ground down (milled) to the minimum thickness of the overlay application at all the areas of transition between existing asphalt and concrete pavements as well as drainage critical locations. The remaining existing pavement is ground to a minimum thickness, typically 1⁄4-inches to create a rough grooved surface for the concrete to bond when placed. If existing curb and gutter is not present, the perimeter edges must be framed and supported to define the limits of the whitetopping application. At this point, the parking lot is properly prepared and ready for concrete placement.

In years past, concrete parking lots would be poured using non-productive hand tools and truss screeds. While commercial concrete paving equipment has been on the market for over ten years, it is not until recently that technological advances in the form of 3D Laser Screeds have allowed it to be productively used on parking lots. 3D Laser Screeds allow for concrete to be placed quickly, accurately and at precise elevations to ensure proper drainage and construction. Upon completion of the UltraLot® Whitetopping, early-entry saws are utilized to cut control joints in a tight, controlled spacing pattern. By cutting joints in this configuration we provide the necessary flexibility in the completed surface for proper expansion and optimal pavement life over time. These advances in technology, combined with rising asphalt prices have made concrete paving and whitetopping a great option for parking lots.

For the first time, newly constructed concrete parking lots and whitetopping of existing lots are competing with new or overlayed asphalt parking lots. The real savings and value for concrete paving and whitetopping begins after the work is completed. The average lifecycle for a properly constructed asphalt parking lot is 12 to 16 years with normal annual parking lot maintenance. The average lifecycle for a newly constructed concrete parking lot is 30 to 50 years and a whitetopped concrete parking lot is 25 to 35 years. That is an average lifecycle increase of over 100%, not considering the reduced cost of maintenance overtime (no seal coating required) compared to a typical asphalt parking lot. Now that concrete and asphalt parking lot construction are comparably priced, serious consideration is being given to concrete options for any new parking lot construction or resurfacing project.

Engineers and architects very seldom design parking lots with concrete options for new construction and even less often for reconstruction and overlays. Make a practice of asking for concrete options when building or repaving a parking lot. If you struggle to get clear specifications feel free to call me, Gary Rabine, on my cell phone at (815) 693-9706. In the battle between concrete and asphalt, we only care that the customer wins.