ASCE has honored Samuel T. Ariaratnam, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, NAC, with the 2021 Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award for his contributions to advancements in pipeline engineering through service to industry, educational initiatives, and outstanding research accomplishments in the area of horizontal directional drilling. 

Ariaratnam has been an educator of engineers his entire career. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo and his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. His educational and research interests lie in the area of trenchless construction methods with an emphasis on horizontal directional drilling and pipe bursting. He began teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he helped build the construction engineering and management curriculum. He then moved to the University of Alberta in Canada to teach in the civil and environmental engineering department. It was there, in the hub of oil and natural gas production in North America, that he began the research that would become a decades-long pursuit in trenchless technologies, expanding his knowledge, learning, and teaching to include water/wastewater facilities.

He moved to Arizona State University to build a research area in underground infrastructure construction, where he currently continues his research and teaching of trenchless construction and rehabilitation, becoming the chair of the Construction Engineering program and, most recently, the Beavers-Ames Chair of Heavy Construction.

Ariaratnam has taught countless engineering students, practicing engineers, and contractors. He continues to serve the construction industry in educating future professionals, conducting cutting-edge research, and consulting on important infrastructure projects. His career has been dedicated to underground infrastructure engineering with a focus on trenchless technologies such as horizontal directional drilling, for which he is globally recognized.

The Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award recognizes outstanding achievements by a member of ASCE who, through research, planning, design, or construction, has advanced the art, science, and technology of pipeline engineering.