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TRIC Tools History of Innovation

A Company Born of Invention / Literally Groundbreaking


The term “lateral pipe bursting” is not yet a part of any contractor’s vocabulary. Repair or replacement of a home sewer means digging it up—in whole or in part—with results that are messy, disruptive, and often incomplete.


Ward Carter, foreman with an underground construction firm near San Francisco, assembles and tests the prototype of what will become the TRIC lateral pipe bursting system.


His father, engineer Robert (Bob) Carter, develops drawings and applies the manufacturing principles that turn Ward’s idea into a viable product. This whole process is not new to the Carters: Bob's father, Mitchell Carter, had invented the Coleman Stove, the Garbage Grinder, and foam rubber. Innovation just runs in the family.


TRIC begins pursuing patents at home and abroad, campaigning relentlessly for approval of HDPE plastic pipe in residential building codes. These combined efforts establish the lateral bursting industry, and set the TRIC method as the gold standard for trenchless lateral replacement across America.


TRIC receives IAPMO approval and a UPC listing for trenchless underground pipeline replacement using TRIC equipment and methods at the IAPMO meeting on August 31.


The new standard appears in the January publication of the Uniform Plumbing Code. The Installation standard for Trenchless Polyethylene (PE) Pipe for Sewer Laterals is IAPMO 26-99. Most US cities approve the TRIC Trenchless pipe replacement method soon thereafter.

2001 - 2004

TRIC registers both device and method patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and international patents for device and method in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and New Zealand. Patent applications are pending in Japan and Norway.

2005 - Present

The TRIC formula—tools that are simple, modular, compact and adaptable—is applied to other utilities, including larger pipes of various materials, in commercial and municipal projects around the world.


HDPE pipe becomes certified for use in hot and cold potable water applications, fully opening most replacement projects to the use of TRIC Tools and proven techniques.

Who We Are

Our Mission

To provide the best trenchless pipe bursting equipment and accessories, as well as information to empower the trenchless revolution in the replacement of failing underground pipelines—sewer, water, and gas—and to expand our technology and method from private homes to municipal projects, and ultimately to public policy across America and beyond.

Our Vision

TRIC Tools Inc. invented and marketed the first practical sewer lateral pipe bursting system, thus establishing the industry of trenchless home sewer replacement in America, as well as ensuring quality accessories for clients. Private sewer laterals have since been clearly identified as the primary contributor to sanitary sewer overflows in municipal sewer systems, leading to chronic pollution of open streams and waterways. 

Like all other underground pipelines—large and small, public and private—sewer laterals are just the tip of the iceberg of urgently needed repairs to wasteful and dangerous underground infrastructure all over the world. We foresee a viable and evolving green technology promoting the efficient, economical, and timely replacement of bad underground pipelines locally, nationally, and globally with our range of bursting heads and other materials.

Our Future

We intend to expand our methods and machinery to accommodate our vision of a growing trenchless industry. Sewer, water, and gas pipes come in all sizes and various materials, and each utility line has a particular set of conditions, be they mechanical, geographical, or political. TRIC is constantly exploring different ways to apply our tried and true technology towards new and untested challenges in the trenchless industry. There is still much to be done when it comes to trenchless technologies accessories. Crumbling underground infrastructure causes waste and environmental degradation in communities everywhere. Our goal is to build upon our success in trenchless sewer replacement, while we address other problem utilities with equally inventive solutions.

We’re proud that TRIC Tools help a wide array of utilities, municipalities, and contractors get the job done right the first time through speedy, accurate, and cost-conscious operation. We’re happy to send you a list of our selected clients on request. Our team of qualified and capable individuals specializes in pipe pulling equipment and other accessories.

Our Team

Dave Crafts

Technician, R&D Fabricator 510-865-8742

There’s a hang-gliding connection that historically permeates the TRIC staff. Dave and Ward have flown for years as members of the same hang-gliding club on the coast just south of San Francisco. It was there that “Super Dave,” as he became known, soon established himself as a top pilot. A relative newcomer to the TRIC team, Dave has already lived up to his reputation in the shop and in the field, and has become a great asset to the R&D fab department.

Duane Cromleigh

Technician 510-865-8742

Duane has been with TRIC intermittently since the early days. After spending his first years assisting with field operations and training, Duane now assists with day-to-day operations. Depending on his docket, Duane might cover three counties in his delivery vehicle, or three different production tasks in the machine shop.

Greg Lee

Head of Manufacturing 510-865-8742

A native of Alameda, Greg Lee has been invaluable in the initial setup and ongoing operation of our machine shop since we moved to our current location in 2012. In a sense Greg has grown up in a machine shop, since his parents run their own operation in Oakland and have been TRIC vendors for years. Greg is a Cal Berkeley graduate with a background in graphic design. He is also a specialist in locally crafted beer!

John Rafferty

Director of Marketing and Technical Support 510-629-4167

A Stanford graduate with over 16 years at TRIC, John has a keen understanding of the TRIC method and all its evolving applications in the underground industry. John first worked as a field trainer for TRIC, and is now responsible for corporate identity, advertising, print and web design, product support, and technical writing. He also holds a General Engineering Contractor’s license in the state of California.

Laura Servin

CFO 510-629-4168

Holding a degree in Business Accounting from Peralta Community College in Oakland, CA, Laura’s administrative and organizational skills are key factors in TRIC’s success. She keeps the office on track, and her native Spanish is invaluable to company operations and customer support. As a mother of three, Laura knows how to create order from chaos!

Meryam Brenner

International Sales Representative (865) 680-6115

When she first contacted TRIC back in 2007, Meryam Brenner was already a veteran of the underground construction industry. For her very first project with us, she facilitated a $400,000 sale of TRIC pipebursting equipment to Russia, in association with our Moscow-based distributors Z-Techno. Born in Latvia, Meryam speaks Russian, Hebrew, and English in addition to her native Latvian. She continues to promote TRIC products and offers invaluable customer support throughout Russia, the Baltic States, India, and Israel.

Steven Parfery

Director of Service 510-865-8742

No one can get a TRIC system up and running faster than Steven. Extremely knowledgeable and dependable, Steven ensures that customers can count on their equipment when it matters most. He takes the time to help customers fully understand what makes their equipment tick. And when something is amiss with any system component—especially hydraulic pumps—Steven will have a ready solution!

Ward Carter

President & CEO 510-865-8742

When not hang-gliding or salmon fishing, Ward is in the shop working on future practical inventions, as well as troubleshooting and refining existing products. Ward invented and field-tested the first TRIC trenchless system, and still leads the development of new products and accessories.

We’re proud that TRIC Tools help a wide array of utilities, municipalities and contractors get the job done right the first time, with speed, accuracy and cost-conscious operation. We’re happy to send you a list of our selected clients on request.

"I’ve financed my entire operation since 2007 with my first TRIC system, and it’s still going strong. I have jobs lined up for months!"

Rick Miller Owner, Berkshire Rooter, Pittsfield MA

"The TRIC system gives you instant payback. It is an easy-to-use, quality system with superb tech support. We looked hard and far and found nothing comparable"

Heiko Dzierzon Berkeley, CA, Pipe Spy

Careers/Distributor Opportunities

We’re always on the lookout for smart, motivated people with the desire to work with one of the best teams in the business to help our customers find innovative, cost-saving solutions to their underground pipe replacement challenges. If you enjoy thinking beyond the horizon and finding ways to say “yes,” we’d love to talk with you about coming on board here at TRIC. We would love to hear from you and how you can help us in meeting the needs of our clients looking for hydraulic pumps for pipe bursting equipment.

If you’re a pipe fusion equipment retailer who’s ready to step up to the best, we’re happy to discuss the possibility of you becoming the latest TRIC Tools Distributor. Contact us today to let us know how you share our vision, and we’ll see how we can help each other.

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