The Louisiana Tech University Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) honored Leo Barbera and James Barbera with lifetime achievement awards for their contributions to the trenchless industry.

TTC presented the awards to the Barbera brothers at a ceremony on Nov. 13 in Ruston, Louisiana, where the center also unveiled the Barbera Underground Infrastructure Research and Training (BUIRT) Facility. Named in honor of the Barbera family, this state-of-the-art facility will offer research, training and development for the trenchless technology industry.

“We’re so grateful to Louisiana Tech and the TTC for honoring us with this award. It’s humbling to have our work recognized in this way,” said James Barbera. “This was an opportunity for us to pay homage to the past, while looking toward the future. We’re excited to be involved with the BUIRT Facility, as it trains the next generation of workers in the trenchless industry.”

Leo Barbera founded American Augers in 1971. He built the company from the ground up, while securing patents along the way to advance the industry in terms of technology and safety. After selling the company in 1989, he has remained an icon in the industry.

After the sale of American Auger, James Barbera founded Barbco Inc. in 1989. Today, the company leads the auger-boring industry with equipment that promotes safety and efficiency, such as the TriBor, Flexbor and Pathfinder.

Associate Director of TTC International Operations Tom Iseley, Ph.D., presented the lifetime achievement awards. Louisiana Tech University President, Leslie Guice, Ph.D., awarded each Barbera brother with medallions for their leadership.

“[The Tenants of Tech] are the values and traditions and principles we all hold dear here at Louisiana Tech,” said Guice. “Students learn those from the time they’re on campus. I created this special medallion for some of those tenants. One of those tenants is leadership, and I can’t think of a better pair to give this medallion to.”

For more information on trenchless technology training and the BUIRT Facility, visit the Louisiana Tech University TTC website.

Early August 2018, Barbco Inc. of East Canton Ohio had their second product showcasing event titled, Barbco Demo Days. This two-day event surrounding the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game featured Barbco’s top of the line, innovative equipment. Barbco Demo Days not only showcased their equipment and educated contractors, but also gave contractors the opportunity to obtain hands on experience under the attention and care of Barbco’s trained professionals. Also featured were some of Barbco’s top dealers, U.S. Shoring of Texas and Trenchless Rental Solutions of Ohio. In addition to these dealers, some of Barbco’s most reliable vendors such as Herc Rentals, Kraft, Trenchless Technology and GMElectric were in attendance. Barbco Demo days was not only another successful event for the trenchless authority, but it also proved to be a great way for Barbco to show its customers some warm Ohio hospitality. For more photographs & videos from this event please visit Barbco on Facebook!

Each month, Barbco will highlight an employee who has contributed to our success. We will share their role and how long they have been with us. As a company, we are very proud of our employees and have a strong belief that it’s people who make a company successful! They provide the workforce that leads to your satisfaction of our equipment and the service and expertise you seek. With this being the debut of our new website and newsletter, we wanted to focus on our founder, Jim and Fran Barbera. We have chosen them because they had the leap of faith to venture down this road of manufacturing. I want to take us back to the beginning. Jim and Fran were married on November 9th 1963 in Canton, Ohio. Jim was on the Canton City Police Department and Fran worked at a rubber glove manufacturing company. Jim’s experience in home remodeling was a way to bring additional income into the family. During those early years they would purchase homes in the city, fix them up and rent them out. Over the first 5-10 years, they amassed 7 homes and were doing well for themselves. Their hard work was paying off. In 1968, their first son Jim was born, followed a year and a half later by their daughter Chris and then almost a year to the day later by Tony and Dave. At the time, parents were unaware of the sex of their child as well as if they were having twins, so it was quite a surprise when the doctor told Fran that there were two! So, the stage was set, four children under the age of three. Jim was working multiple jobs to pay the bills and Fran stayed home taking care of the Homefront.

In 1975, Jim retired from the police department and went into business for himself. He continued his work in construction and got into the pool solar heating business. Then, in 1979, Jim started working at American Auger for his brother Leo. During his 10 years at American, Jim oversaw the sales department and had direct oversight of several initiatives including the reconditioning of a 19’ Robbins tunnel boring machine and being an active organizer in the auger boring schools that were held in Arizona. 1989 was a pivotal year. Leo Barbera sold American Auger and Jim was in a bit of a quandary as to what his future would be in the industry. With much thought and multiple factors to consider, Jim, with the support of his wife Fran, started Barbco. The company ran out of a shop in Twinsburg, Ohio for the first 6 months.

The first of Jim and Frans children to work for the company was Tony Barbera, who had just graduated from high school. His twin brother, Dave Barbera, started in 1992 and worked primarily in the office. The other children, Chrissy and Jim, worked intermittently during the early years of the company. Barbco continued to expand its product line as Jim saw opportunities in the trenchless industry. He brought into the fray of Barbco’s manufacturing capabilities, products such as directional drills and pilot tube machines. With this growth, Jim continually looked for facilities that would give him the space he needed to build the equipment customers were looking for. In 2003, Jim moved the company to its present location in East Canton, Ohio. At this location, Barbco had the space to build and the land to expand his manufacturing when needed. To date, the company has undergone two additions. Today, Jim and Fran live in Florida but frequently return to Ohio. Jim continues to talk with his three sons, all who work at the company, about business matters. In the inaugural “Face of Barbco” write up, let it be known that Jim and Fran Barbera persevere through the many difficult times to make this company a reality. Their legacy will always be remembered in the industry and in our family