Northeast Florida Pile Driving Industry Luncheon

NE Florida Chapter Initiative: February '20 Industry Luncheon in Jacksonville

February 7, 2020

Jacksonville, FL: Buoyed by a strong construction sector in a rapidly growing area, the Pile Driving Contractors Association continues efforts to re-establish a Chapter presence in Northeast Florida. Identified as a 'Chapter Initiative,' the organization hosted local contractors, affiliated engineers, industry manufacturers, suppliers and distributors for a buffet luncheon at Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park hotel on Jacksonville's southside on Friday, Febrary 7, 2020. Attendees spent time networking prior to listening to a short presentation from PDCA Executive Director Frank Peters who discussed the value to the pile driving industry that an active, local chapter can provide. He indicated that while the PDCA national office is available to provide chapter infrastructure and support, it is important that a leadership team consisting of local practitioners in the industry assumes the role of directing chapter activity. Peters announced that PDCA will host the second 'Chapter Initiative' luncheon at the World Golf Hall of Fame banquet facility on May 19, 2020 in St. Augustine, FL. Registration for this event can be completed when you click here

The February 7th event was made possible through sponsorships from Jacksonville pile hammer supplier and manufacturer PVE Equipment USA and industry supplier Equipment Corporation of America which maintains a large field operation in Green Cove Springs, FL. 

Posted in Chapter News.

A Pile of News - February 2020

A Pile of News: February 2020

A briefing on news and information from the pile driving contractors, associated manufacturers and suppliers and affiliated engineers who comprise the PDCA.
by Matt Bisbee, PDCA
From the Association & Chapters
PDCA gives you Moore Sure, it could be the new marketing slogan, but it also signifies the seating of PDCA's newest president, Jason Moore of Charleston, SC. He assumed the ceremonial gavel during PDCA's annual Strategic Planning Meeting in January and has begun a one-year term. In addition to a new president and executive committee, four new faces have joined the board. More on leadership changes.

Piles, not Ferns! A function of PDCA president is to write an editorial column in PileDriver magazine. We eagerly await Jason's first installment in February. That publication will also include a farewell from immediate past president Scott Callaway. This time, his column is part of a multimedia production; it will be the first in a video series from PDCA called Between 2 Piles.

Mark your calendars PDCA invites your participation in its 2020 events:
  • Design and Installation of Cost-Efficient Piles (DICEP), Sept. 2224, New Orleans, LA
PDCA of South Carolina has set four quarterly chapter dinner meetings, all to take place at the Town & Country Inn and Suites in Charleston, SC. Dates for the 6:00 p.m. meetings include: Feb. 13, May 14, Aug. 13 and Nov. 12. In addition, the chapter will host its biennial Driven Pile Technical Seminar on March 19 at The Citadel, Holiday Alumni Center in Charleston.   PDCA of the Gulf Coast Chapter released its event calendar. Three quarterly dinner meetings remain, each begins at 6:00 p.m.: April 16 at L'Auberge Casino & Hotel in Baton Rouge; Aug. 20 at the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi, MS; and Nov. 12 at Messina's Restaurant in Kenner, LA. Don't miss the 2020 Skeet Shoot, at Bridgeview Gun Club in Kenner on Oct. 30. 

Rep the industry
Remember, The PDCA Store features a variety of swag as well as educational resources. Watch for new items in 2020. Always include #PDCAdriven on your social media for a chance to win free merchandise.

Support the industry
By now, PDCA members should have received notice of the association's restructured member dues system, unanimously passed by the Board of Directors and strategically designed to ensure both improved member support and association fiscal solvency.If you haven't already, please click here to bring your member dues current. Non-members can enroll too.
Policy Matters
We are one month into a Presidential election year; local, state and federal campaigns are ablaze throughout the country. History and conventional wisdom tell us that Washington will avoid enacting legislation to address federal infrastructure shortcomings, but these are unpredictable times. Last week, a House proposal emerged but no funding details were included. Meanwhile a bipartisan chorus of infrastructure improvement proponents is growing.  New data is available showing job increases and higher wages in the construction and engineering sectors while manufacturing has experienced job loss, primarily in metals production Construction Business Owner quotes Irina Plumlee of Munsch Hardt in a legal analysis of federal issues, including the USMCA, I-9 employment eligibility, e-verify and infrastructure.

Turning to the states, many legislatures have begun their 2020 sessions. Numerous issues will be debated in multiple capitol cities, including election security, gun control, marijuana and the environment. Read "The Biggest Issues Facing State Legislators in 2020" from Fiscal Note.

Several states appear to be investing in infrastructure; see this story from the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal examines midwestern river traffic irregularities due to increased flooding, aging infrastructure; quotes Mike Blaske of Illinois Marine Towing, subsidiary of Canal Barge.
News about People
ECS Florida, LLC announces new operations manager Corey Dunlap, P.E. to lead new Gainesville office. Eustis Engineering announces leadership changes: past president Bill Gwyn has stepped down from the board, president Randy Eustis sets retirement for Dec. 31, 2020, Gwendolyn Sanders to succeed Eustis as first female president and Chad Held to become executive VP. St. Louis-based Geotechnology Inc. promotes Pat Donovan, P.E. to professional services president, Jim Howe to exploration president. Greeman -Pederson Inc. of NY names Angela Strevig as director of highways for the Columbia, MD branch. Catherine Maguire and Kent Wiken join Golder & Associates in Redmond, WA. Nucor announces new CEO Leon Topalian elected to board, John Walker is new non-executive chairman.

Geotechnology Inc. congratulates Ryan Farrar in Memphis for earning a P.E. license from Tennessee. Sarah Smith of Greeman Pederson, Inc. earns a P.E. license from Pennsylvania. GT Mid Atlantic recognizes Taylor Gundy in Mechanicsburg, PA for completing her B.S. in marketing.

Canal Barge VP Del Wilkins presented prestigious River Bell Award from the Seamen's Church Institute.

S&ME VP Thomas Davis named Outstanding Professional Engineer of the Year in Tennessee.

SeaLevel Construction, Inc. of Thibodaux, LA recognizes operations manager Travis Schonacher for service as president of PDCA Gulf Coast.
  • Chapter seats new officers for 2020, including president Kirt Jackson of Cajun Industries; VP Gerard Chenevert of GROUP Deep Foundations; secretary Dylan Andre of Patriot Deep Foundations and treasurer John Matthews of DeSoto Treated Materials, Inc.
Terracon technician Hachem Ahmed in D.C. was recognized for potentially saving a life after he aided a woman who had a serious trail biking accident. Also, environmental tech Von Capps in Houston performed the solemn ritual of placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

An impressive run: Bob Richardson and Tracy Brown are both recent retirees of Manson Construction Co. Richardson ended his 44-year career as a project manager with the Seattle-based contractor, a job that took him around the globe. Brown began what he believed was a two-week temp assignment as a deckhand, but it turned into 42 years for the now retired Captain.

Elsewhere, after more than 40 years in the industry, Dan Sciortino has retired as Boston-based VP/branch manager at Equipment Corporation of America. Branch Manager Gary Drew retires after 36 years with Ardaman & Associates in Ft. Myers, FL. Todd Edmunds retires from Keller

Not done yet: Earnest Ross of Canal Barge Company, Inc. just celebrated 40 years with the New Orleans transportation firm and is apparently taking on another decade.
News About Companies
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. of Boston strengthens its Midwestern presence through the January acquisition of Minnesota-based Vieau Associates, Inc., which will maintain its name. 

A major rebrand at Keller former subsidiaries Bencor, Case Atlantic, Case Foundation, Hayward Baker, HJ Foundation, Keller Canada, McKinney Drilling, Moretrench all take parent company name. 

Nucor acquires TrueCore Insulated Panels in South Carolina, adds coil paint line at Arkansas mill. 

S&ME, Inc. opens Wheeling, WV office

TRC Companies, Inc. announces two acquisitions Environmental Partners, Inc. (EPI) and Lockheed Martin Distributed Energy Solutions (LM-DES).
Holes Incorporated of Houston named Craft Training Champion from Construction Career Collaborative.

Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers of New York City dominates rec volleyball; they won the ZogSports Corporate League and completed a history-making three league championships in 2019.

TRC Companies earned recognition for the I-49 North Segment K Project in Shreveport, LA
  • Company is the latest Member Spotlight in  NY-Best
More Media Hits
  • Las Vegas Sun covers Kiewit winning Civil Project of the Year for Project Neon
  • Keller earns top ranking from ENR for 2019's Excavation and Foundation firm
  • ENR writes about Wadsworth Construction winning Utah design-build project
Company milestones: Tadano celebrates 100 years as a worldwide leader in crane manufacturing. Legacy New England pile driver H.B. Fleming Inc. has been on the job for 65 years in South Portland, ME and surrounding region. Olinpump of Huntington Beach, CA reaches 40 years supplying the driven pile industry.
Clark Construction tallied 2,700 total hours volunteering around the country during the National Week of Service, an annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.

Geotechnology Associates Inc. generously served Maryland families over the holidays by donating "Santa Sacks" and Toys for Tots.

Geotechnology Inc. donated cold weather gear for the Cincinnati area Salvation Army.

GT Mid Atlantic launched a pet supply drive to benefit The Humane Society in the Baltimore Region. 

S&ME in Chattanooga raced Big Wheels to raise money for community non-profits. 

Tectonic in New York raised more than $2,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Universal Engineering Services Florida offices participated in a donation drive to assist foster children.
Thanks for reading 2020's first installment of A Pile of News; please keep sending and posting your company announcements. And don't forget to include #PDCADriven on your social media, you might be randomly selected to win PDCA logo merchandise from The PDCA Store  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  IFCEE
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Posted in A Pile of News PDCA Monthly e-newsletter, Chapter News.

Annual SC Oyster Roast Draws Hundreds

The PDCA of South Carolina Chapter built it...and they came. Nearly 300 people attended the popular Oyster Roast, which featured bushels upon bushels of steamed oysters, on the welcoming grounds of Palmetto Pile Driving, Inc., on the far north side of Charleston, SC. The annual event, made possible by a robust showing of sponsors from the deep foundations industry, took place Friday night, January 17th. Falling temperatures had the opposite affect on crowd size; Chapter officials say event attendance in 2020 was its largest to date. For more information about the Oyster Roast, including photos and a full list of sponsors, click here.

Moore Begins PDCA Presidency; New Officers, Board Seated

Charleston, SC (January 16, 2020): At the annual Strategic Planning Meeting for the Board of Directors of the Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA), Jason Moore (pictured below, left) of Palmetto Pile Driving (Charleston, SC) began a one-year term as President of the Association. Immediate Past President Scott Callaway (pictured, right) of Cajun Industries (Baton Rouge, LA) ceremonially transferred the gavel to his successor as the PDCA leadership began its two-day workshop. Joining Moore and Callaway on the Executive Committee for 2020 are Vice President Kevin Gourgues of Patriot Construction and Industrial, LLC (Baton Rouge, LA), Secretary Brian Heck of Richard Goettle, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) and Treasurer Scott Webster of GRL Engineers, Inc. (Charlotte, NC). PDCA Executive Director Frank Peters rounds out the Executive Committee.

Continuing members of the Board of Directors are: Rich Anderson of Equipment Corporation of America (Aldan, PA), Rob Braden of Nucor Skyline (Springfield, VA), Doug Keller of Richard Goettle, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH), Kustaa Mansfield of Pacific Pile & Marine, L.P. (Seattle, WA) and Emmett Waggenspack of Coastal Contractors Co., LLC (Baton Rouge, LA)

Four new members of the Board of Directors were seated at the annual event: (pictured below, left to rightHerbert "Buck" Darling, III of Herbert F. Darling, Inc. (Tonawanda, NY), James Dempsey of Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman, Inc. (Bridgeport, CT), Greg Canivan of S&ME (Charleston, SC) and Diane Fisher of Pile Dynamics, Inc./GRL Engineers, Inc. (Cleveland, OH).

PDCA is a non-profit organization representing pile driving contractors, geotechnical and civil engineering affiliates and associated suppliers and manufactures. The international trade association advocates the increased use of driven piles for deep foundations and earth retention systems. PDCA serves its membership in these key areas:

  • promotion of driven pile solutions in all cases where effective
  • support for educational programs on the design and efficiency of driven piles and improvement of installation procedures
  • encouragement and coordination of research to improve the reliability, usefulness, and cost effectiveness of driven piles
  • establishment of a larger voice for contractors in the implementation of procedures and standards for all aspects and uses of driven piles

A Pile of News - January 2020

A Pile of News: January 2020

A briefing on news and information from the pile driving contractors, associated manufacturers and suppliers and affiliated engineers who comprise the PDCA.
by Matt Bisbee, PDCA
Happy New Year, PDCA! Welcome to the start of a new decade and PDCA's 25th year advocating for the driven pile. Let's take a moment to reflect on the generations and people who make this industry great... starting with an update from Paul Glankler of Patriot Construction & Industrial in Louisiana; the Army pilot deployed to Afghanistan last fall and is sacrificing a year away from his wife and young son. He spent the holidays flying a Blackhawk chopper on medical missions in the Middle East. He posted on social media a photo of his Unit proudly representing their pick for the NCAA Football Championship.
News for Boomers: World War II, the 1950s, accounting trends 
Don't forget where you came from: The U.S. military has significantly impacted the deep foundations industry. We recall the impressive, 70-year career of the late Frank Golemi from Canal Barge in New Orleans who started at the pile-transporting company in 1948 after piloting a C-47 behind enemy lines on D-Day. To this day, he's remembered with a vessel in his name. Also, legendary NOLA pile driver Robert Boh of Boh Bros. recorded an oral history before his passing in which he recalls the infrastructure boom in post-War America which led to an unparalleled opportunity for deep foundation construction. Hack Jordan saw that opening; shortly after WWII, he cashed in $300 in War Bonds his life savings to build his first wooden pile driver and start Jordan Pile Driving in Mobile, AL.

Be all you can be at the 'Bro: Kudos to Cianbro, which just released a new policy that guarantees U.S. Army veterans with job interviews at the Maine-based contracting company.

Buzz kill: A new year means a new Tax Day on the horizon. As you prepare for April 15, remember to take advantage of increased expensing limits and Bonus Depreciation on applicable 2019 purchases, as allowable through Sect. 179 of the Tax Code; thanks Hoffman Equipment for the info-graphic reminder!
For overlooked Gen-Xers, you get one chill news item
Serenity now! Amid talk of war and taxes, we pause for a few seconds of tranquility from O'Quinn Marine Construction's job site in South Carolina. If only they were playing a Pearl Jam CD...
News for Millennials: Craft beer, soccer, memes and Michael Scott 
What's next, drone service? Craft breweries are popping up everywhere. Seeing a need in the market, The Hose Company in Charlotte smartly diversified its sales and service line of hydraulic hoses to include the hose needs of the beer makers; it's complete with a mobile unit

Does the concession stand sell quinoa and lattes? Congrats Gate Precast of Jacksonville, FL, which provided many components to the new Audi Field, home of the D.C. United Major League Soccer team. The team's 2020 home opener in ENR's Best Sports/Entertainment Facility is February 29th. 

C'mon, just one more time? By now, you've surely seen the overexposed meme depicting an angry blonde woman in a heated exchange with a smug white cat. Yes, we know this is so 2019, but we only publish once a month. Company Wrench cleverly seized the moment on this meme trend last fall, so we share it to encourage you to stay current in your own marketing. 

Are they auditioning for a spinoff of The Office? The popular sitcom might be your first thought when you consider a Pennsylvania workplace. Koppers' corporate office in Pittsburgh generously participated in a successful United Way fundraiser. But like sausage-making, you don't always want to see how it's done. Video on social media shows employees engaging in various games and contests; look closely and you see some spittin' images of Dwight, Jim, Pam and Stanley in action. 
From the Association & Chapters (Events Calendar
"Free oysters, beer and friends": That's the pitch from PDCA of South Carolina, who invites the pile driving industry to the Annual Oyster Roast on January 17 at Palmetto Pile Driving in Charleston.

Snowbirds welcome too! The new Northeast Florida Chapter of PDCA hosts the first quarterly luncheon of 2020 on February 7 from 11:301:30 at the Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park.

PDCA and Pile Dynamics, Inc. present Deep Foundation Integrity Testing and Wave Equation Analysis(DFDTA), a three-day program on March 1113, 2020 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Airport.

Investing in the future: Congratulations Seth Myhre, Sam Follett PE, Eric Medina and Teddy Bruin, all 2019 winners of a $1,500 scholarship from PDCA of the Pacific Coast. Meet the latest winners.
Personnel & Member Recognitions 
An impressive 44-year career comes to a close for Michael McCormick of Pile Drivers, Inc. in Charleston, SC; the retiree has mentored generations in an important piling market. After 42 years in the industry, Jim Mocker retires as VP at Lally Pipe & Tube in Covington, KY. Resulting promotions include Jack Mocker to GM in Ohio and Bob Mraz to Northeast sales manager. Island Piling, Inc. of Naples, FL bids farewell to the tenured Pat Lancaster who has retired. At Pipe & Tube Supplies Inc. of Pearland, TX, Charley Jewett begins his first full year as company president, a role he assumed last fall. AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company names Micheline Parkey as new risk manager in Birmingham. Chicago-based Holland LP appoints Brian Chubb new regional sales manager in the Northeast. Link-Belt Cranes of Lexington, KY selected Greg George as district sales manager in the Rocky Mountain region.

Cajun Industries collects hardware at Louisiana construction awards gala.

Caldwell Marine snags "Most Challenging Project Award" for Boston Harbor installation.

Dissen & Juhn recognized with "Merit Award" for Baltimore marina overhaul.

Loftus Construction rehabilitates oldest bridge in America (ca. late 1600s) as part of the SR 13 Masonry Arch Project, wins ASHE Delaware Valley Section Project of the Year.

Kiewit Corp. congratulates three ENR Top Young Professionals: Chief estimator Jordan Henshaw in New York, VP Rick Dotson and EVP Megan Armstrong in the Midwest.

McCarthy Building project manager Anna Griffin also makes the ENR list.

Sealevel's Falgout Canal Flood Control Structure near Houma, LA wins Excellence in Construction.

Wadsworth Construction is twice, "Most Outstanding" during Utah Construction & Design Awards.

Business Anniversaries: Two more companies which celebrated significant anniversaries in 2019 were Hercules Machinery Corp. of Fort Wayne, IN at 55 years in business and Gregory Pile Driving in Stephenville, TX for 40 years. What a great run! Watch future editions of "A Pile of News" in your inbox on the first working day of each month in 2020; previewing the year, you'll see at least seven centenarians and at least four that reach the recognition threshold of 40 years in business.
Acquisitions & Growth 
Edgen Murray expands to West Texas. Eiffel Trading announces 2020 expansion plans. Foundation Technologies Inc. held a grand opening on a second Lawrenceville, GA warehouse. McHugh launches McHugh Concrete. Samuel Associated Tube Group to build new facility, adds jobs in Birmingham. Skanska adds new commercial development division in Los Angeles.
Shaping our Communities
Foundation Technologies participated in a north Georgia holiday donation drive to benefit local non-profits; Bearings Bike Shop, Streetwise Georgia, The Path Project, Operation Christmas Child.

The Great Lakes Construction Company donated equipment, labor and materials to an Eagle Scout overhauling the trail system at an Ohio campground, see story in the Fall 2019 Newsletter.

Nucor Tubular volunteered time cleaning up Railroad Park in Birmingham; the Louisville office conducted a winter coat drive to benefit The Healing Place.

Powell Foundations, Inc. displayed heavy machinery during a southern Ontario holiday parade.

Kiewit's Kansas City team presented more than $300K raised nationally to three charities; Braden's Hope Childhood Center, Sunflower House and Child Protection Center.

Sealevel Construction will be involved in the water flow improvement project of the highly sensitive Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District in Louisiana.

Shimmick Construction presents the 2019 graduating class from California's Shimmick University.

Sunroc, the Utah foundation construction giant, the Bubble Bath Car Wash and the St. George Day Spa share a common thread; they're all supporters of the Tonaquint H.S. Hawks PTA. Go Hawks!

Trinity Products, Inc. of St. Louis provided construction sector wisdom to a student delegation from the University of Missouri Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization.

Weeks Marine co-sponsored the 2019 Women & Wildlife Awards presented by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey; NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy keynoted the event.
Newsmakers (First, the latest PileDriver magazine)
Also Construction Business Owner magazine includes professionals from McCarthy Building in two features; Jessica Adame in Women in Construction and Dave Burns on integrating AI.

Construction Dive names Skanska president/CEO Richard Kennedy Executive of the Year.

Constructech Magazine's cover of the Women in Construction edition includes Rachel Dolecki and Shelby Griffin from McHugh Construction Co.

The Crude Life podcast series features interview with John Lisle of Williston, ND's S&B Drilling.

Dredging Today publishes story about the Weeks Marine dredging project in Virginia.

Modern Metals Magazine features article on Nucor Tubular.

Parking Today gives insights from McCarthy's Fernando Sanchez on evolving parking structures.

PC Today credits Weeks Marine for role in 30th Annual Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Pre-Construction Competition.

The Portland Press Herald covers Cianbro winning a Navy contract in Maine.
Thanks for reading 2020's first installment of A Pile of News; please keep sending and posting your company announcements. And don't forget to include #PDCADriven on your social media, you might be randomly selected to win PDCA logo merchandise from The PDCA Store  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  IFCEE

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Contracting for Faster and Less Expensive Dispute Resolution

A legal opinion published in PileDriver magazine, 2020 Issue #6
by: C. Ryan Maloney, Esq.
Jimerson Birr, P.A.

A person wearing a suit and tieDescription automatically generated      Disputes are a fact of life on construction projects.  There are just too many variables, unknowns and unpredictable things that can occur during the course of a project that can lead to disagreements and disputes, particularly when significant dollars are at stake.  However, as many in the construction industry know, or come to find out, engaging in litigation or arbitration over disputes can sometimes be so time consuming and expensive that, as the old saying goes, the cure can be worse than the disease. 
Even as a lawyer that specializes in construction litigation and arbitration, sometimes the best advice I can provide to a client is to help them resolve their dispute without having to resort to litigation or arbitration.  One of the ways to try to facilitate that type of resolution is through well-crafted contractual dispute resolution procedures that are required before the parties can engage in litigation or arbitration.  While there may still be certain disputes that just cannot be resolved without going to court or arbitration, effective pre-suit dispute resolution provisions in a construction contract make it more likely that there will be fewer such disputes by requiring the parties to engage in meaningful dispute resolution before resorting to litigation or arbitration.    
Stepped Dispute Resolution
One of the keys to an effective dispute resolution contract provision is to require the parties to meet and attempt to resolve the dispute before they can file a lawsuit or an arbitration.  Therefore, one of the key things that needs to be included in the contract language is that the dispute resolution process needs to be made a mandatory "condition precedent" to the ability of either party to institute legal action or arbitration.  This means that they must engage in the dispute resolution process before filing suit or commencing arbitration, and if they fail to do so, the court or arbitrator will either dismiss or stay the proceedings until the dispute resolution process is completed.  While the parties can mutually agree to dispense with the dispute resolution procedures if they each agree to do so, the contractual condition precedent language prevents one party from unilaterally ignoring the process and going straight to litigation or arbitration without engaging in the required dispute resolution procedures. 
 In order to have a better likelihood of success, the dispute resolution procedures should also be a stepped process, with at least two sets of meetings, with the first being at the project manager level.  The provision should require the respective project managers to meet in person to try to resolve the dispute within a certain number of days after the written submission of a claim or dispute.  Such a face to face meeting at the project level can sometimes leads to resolution of a dispute that emails or letter writing simply cannot. 
Second, if the project level meeting is not successful in resolving the dispute within a certain time frame, such as 30 days after submission of the claim or dispute for example, the next step should be a required in-person meeting at the executive level of the respective companies within another set time period.  The intent with this type of meeting is to move it from the project level participants, who may be very personally invested and whose emotions may run higher, to the executive level where the participants would be less likely to be day to day project participants and may be able to take a more holistic and potentially more objective view of the dispute. 
This should also be a face to face meeting, and generally should not have legal counsel in attendance at the meeting in order to try to facilitate practical negotiations less focused on adversarial legal positions.  Oftentimes, executives may be able to see the bigger picture and have more authority and flexibility to be able to come to a resolution that could not have been reached by the project level participants.
Mandatory Pre-Suit Mediation
If the project level and subsequent executive level meetings are not successful in resolving the dispute after an agreed time period, then the next required step should be mediation.  Mediation should be identified in the contract as a mandatory condition precedent to institution of legal action or arbitration so that mediation has to occur first, unless both parties agree to waive the requirement. 
Mediation is a structured settlement conference managed by a professional and trained mediator whose job it is to work with the parties to try to resolve their dispute.  While the mediator cannot make any rulings or force the parties to resolve their dispute, the mediator will often be an attorney with experience in construction law and special training in dispute resolution who should be able to provide the parties with an outside view on how a judge or arbitrator might view their dispute and can point out significant issues with the parties' respective claims and defenses.  This is particularly true where the parties provide in the contract for the mediation to be administered under the construction industry mediation rules of organizations like the American Arbitration Association ("AAA") or JAMS, which have large lists of mediators specializing in mediating construction industry disputes.  In addition, most states have laws that make what is said or presented during mediation by the parties or mediator completely confidential, and not admissible in court or arbitration, in order to try to encourage frank and open settlement discussions. 
It is recommended that the contract provision requiring mediation incorporate the mediation rules of an organization such as AAA or JAMS to facilitate the mediator selection and the procedures of the mediation.  If not, then the mediation contract provision should include a specific process for mediator selection to try to avoid disputes over who the mediator will be for the mediation.  It should also provide that mediation should be held in the same city or county where the project is located, and should provide that the parties will split evenly the mediator fees.  It is also important that the mediation contract provision provide that any agreements reached in mediation shall be enforceable as settlement agreements in any court of competent jurisdiction so that settlements reached in mediation are binding and enforceable.  In addition, it is recommended that the contract provision allow for suits to be filed prior to completion of mediation if necessary to perfect mechanic's lien or bond claims, but that the parties agree that such proceedings shall be stayed pending completion of the required mediation. 


If the project level meeting, the executive level meeting, and mediation are all unsuccessful in resolving a dispute, then the next step would appropriately be resort to litigation in court, or arbitration if the parties have agreed in the contract to require arbitration of disputes in lieu of litigation.  While the type of stepped dispute resolution process described in this article is likely to result in faster and less expensive resolution of many disputes without the need for litigation or arbitration, disputes that remain unresolved after going through such a process are likely to be the type of dispute that truly needs the involvement of a judge, jury or arbitrator, and for which the time, effort and expense of litigation or arbitration may be justified.  However, most disputes are not of that type, and requiring in the construction contract that the parties engage in a stepped dispute resolution process is likely to result in faster and less expensive resolution of many disputes, permitting the parties to focus their efforts on project completion and profitability rather than protracted and expensive litigation or arbitration.   

Posted in PileDriver Magazine.

Construction Career: John Peirce, Peirce Engineering, Inc.

A Unique Perspective from a Multi-faceted Career; John Peirce
by: Lisa Gordon, PileDriver magazine
This Construction Career profile originally appeared in PileDriver magazine, 2019 Issue #6

        John Peirce has learned a lot of valuable lessons over his 46 years in civil engineering.

During that time, he's completed a couple thousand projects, mostly designing and building temporary and permanent earth retaining walls to facilitate road and bridge building, cofferdam and foundation construction, and shoring and underpinning of all types.
While working on his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in geotechnical engineering at Drexel University earned in 1973 and 1978, respectively Peirce landed a co-op position at The Conduit & Foundation Corporation's corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.
"I worked out in the field and got involved in heavy construction," said Peirce, who says that suited him just fine. In the early days of his career, he never wanted to be cooped up in an office.
Following graduation, he was hired on with The Conduit & Foundation Corporation and specialized in highway construction with them for 15 years, before moving on to geotechnical specialty contractor Schnabel Foundation Company.
Peirce stayed with Schnabel a design/build specialty contractor focused on temporary and permanent earth support for 11 years, eight of which were served as branch manager of the Philadelphia office.
In 1992, Peirce co-founded Peirce Engineering with his wife, Beth, and daughter, Jennifer Peirce Brandt, who is also a professional engineer. Later, his son, John another professional engineer joined the company.
By 1997, Peirce was focusing on the family engineering firm full-time.  His diverse professional background and varied experience has served him well.
"I have a unique perspective," he said. "I've done highway work, plant work, utility work, estimating, project managing and I'm a retired surveyor. I was everything from a lowly rod man all the way up to a project manager."

Lessons learned

PileDriver recently caught up with Peirce to talk about his impressive career and some of the key lessons he's aiming to pass along to his children.
From three key mentors over the years, Peirce learned the importance of being familiar with every aspect of a job, staying quiet when he was unsure of his facts and dealing with people fairly...Read More in PileDriver

Posted in PileDriver Magazine.

Pacific Coast Chapter Awards Four Scholarships

December 2, 2019: The PDCA of the Pacific Coast Chapter awarded four $1,500 scholarships this year to the following students:

Seth Myhre  A project engineer at Shimmick for the past three years, Myhre is studying for a degree in mechanical engineering at California State Chico with a GPA of 3.2.
Sam Follett, P.E.  An engineer at Foundation Constructors Inc., Follet is returning to school to get his Masters in geotechnical engineering. In his essay, he says, "My experience working with a deep foundation contractor and my future graduate degree will allow me to design piles that are constructible. I understand the limitations that are presented by site conditions (soil, access, permitting) and necessary equipment to install various types of piles. I will be able to make sure that owners are able to pick foundation options that actually make sense. I will also be able to explain the benefits to owners that come with pile driving compared to other foundation options, such as increased material quality control, the ease of pile testing and ability to test increased amounts of piles at a time, and the schedule benefits compared to other foundation types."
Erick Medina  A full-time college student at Sacramento State University pursing a degree in Construction Management, Medina is in his first year at Sac State. He earned a GPA of 3.3. One of Medina's goals is to be the first person in his family to earn a four-year college degree. He is a hard worker and has learned that teamwork in the workplace is one of the keys to success.
Russell "Teddy" Bruin  One of the 2018 recipients of a PDCA scholarship, Bruin says he appreciated the support provided last year. He successfully completed his first year at Loyola University Chicago, where he is still pursuing a degree in environmental science. He was involved in several extracurricular collegiate activities along with having a solid academic year.

Sam Follett, P.E.

Seth Myhre 

Erick Medina 

Posted in Chapter News.

A Pile of News - December 2019

A Pile of News:
December 2019

A briefing on news and information from the pile driving contractors, associated manufacturers and suppliers and affiliated engineers who comprise the PDCA.
by Matt Bisbee, PDCA
Top Stories
Guess who's driving the piles? National news outlets covered the ceremony when officials in Charleston, SC broke ground on a new landmark with a high level of cultural and project significance. The International African American Museum is a $90-million, privately funded project in progress in the historical city. Local contractor Parker Marine promptly delivered the first of many piles to the jobsite where they will drive concrete and steel sheeting. The museum is scheduled to open in 2021.

An understanding of federal regulations impacting wetlands: Minnesota engineering firm Braun Intertec provides a unique resource on their blog. Review this OnDemand Webinar by Daniel DeJoode, Ph.D., who examines regulatory changes to federal environmental policy.

Precedent setting lawsuit? A group is suing a Florida city for imposing what it considers policy that forces contractors with municipal contracts to pay above minimum wage, among other cost prohibitive mandates. Read more. In other Florida regulatory news, Workers Comp rates appear to be headed down again, for the third year in a row.

There are better things they can do: It was encouraging to read this Congressman's commentary, saying a surface transportation reauthorization is the "most important work" for Congress this year; the high-ranking chairman adds "100 year-old bridges" will exacerbate transportation inefficiencies. 

Because puppies are proven click-bait:
A stated core value at Corman Kokosing is "Be a good member of the community." The Annapolis Junction, MD contractor dedicated a heartwarming Facebook post to staff member Karen Matassa-Countiss who lives by that motto. And, she appears to volunteer herself for a second 40-hour week on her expansive dog rescuing efforts. Great job, Karen!
Association and Chapters
The Pope, Santa and Ron Jeremy walked up to the bar at a PDCA event in California... Plan to attend the PDCA of the Pacific Coast Holiday Luncheon on December 6th at Hotel Mac in Richmond, CA. See more details and RSVP here. You are encouraged to bring a dirty joke!

Congratulations! Citadel Cadet Hunter Hutton wins the Mac Nigels Scholarship! PDCA of South Carolina Chapter recognized him at the November dinner meeting; Scott Nigels presented the plaque and $2,000. 

The PDCA of the Gulf Coast Chapter hosted the Engineers Conference; attendees heard seven presentations including one from Chad Held of Eustis Engineering, who gave a scientific study of driven pile set-up in soft clay.

Mark your 2020 calendars:
Coming Jan. 17, 2020, the PDCA of South Carolina Chapter will host the Annual Oyster Roast at Palmetto Pile Driving. On Feb. 7, the Northeast Florida Chapter will host an organizational luncheon. And on March 11-13, PDCA and Pile Dynamics, Inc. present DFDTA in Orlando. More details and events can be found on the PDCA Upcoming Events Page.

Avoid the malls! Shop The PDCA Store anytime for unique, logo merchandise to give at your next holiday gathering. In doing so, you are supporting the driven pile industry. Have a safe and happy season!
AET in St. Paul, MN promotes Patrick Barnhouse and Clint Grzywinski. Geo-Technology Associates, Inc. promotes Tim Fowler to associate in Frederick, MD. Golder Associates, Inc. names Dr. Jiun-Yih Chen senior geotechnical consultant in Houston, Hunter Sartain practice leader in Atlanta. Group Industries in Baton Rouge promotes Eric Fauveau to project estimator. Hardesty & Hanover announces Victor Minerva joins Rye, NY as director of planning. Infrastructure Consulting and Engineering, LLC in Columbia, SC names Jim Kupferer VP business development. GEOKON in Lebanon, NH announces Nolan Seles as regional sales engineer and Trevor Madden as sales associate. Charleston, SC-based Insight Group welcomes Nick Lacour as well as these unique, new mobile labs.

More: ECS Limited opens new Cincinnati office, names John Lindsey VP/branch manager and Mark Carlson chief engineer. McCarthy Houston welcomes new business development director Jonathan Schmaltz and general superintendent Condon Verble. PND Engineers adds accountant Sarah Boeckman, engineer Levi Overbeck in Anchorage and EIT Caitlan Richard in Seattle. Shannon & Wilson's Portland office names new staff: Christine Maher, Megan Worthington. Terracon reorganizes national leadership, elevates Bob Cords, David Lipka, Mohammed Nasim, R. Sean Williams. Minnesota's Veit & Company welcomes Stacy Finley to leadership in business development. Finally, congrats to Judy, who celebrates 45 years of keeping the trains moving at LG Barcus & Sons in Kansas City.
Dewberry news: firm named 2019 employer of the year by the Central Florida Women's Transportation Seminar and ENR Southeast Design Firm of the Year

GRL Engineers, Inc. husband and wife team Scott Webster, P.E. and Karen Webster, P.E. earn the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award for work on a North Carolina bridge; they'll be honored at a gala in D.C.

's Jay Womack  named Outstanding Citizen Volunteer of the Year by the Illinois Assn. of Park Districts!

's Mike Trettel named to Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 Under 40.

Charleston, SC VP Melvin C. Williams receives ACEC Community Service Award and he joins the   Furman University Riley Institute 14th class of Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI)

Acquisitions: Dewberry Engineers
acquires California-based engineering firm Drake Haglan and Associates. Southern Earth Sciences Inc. acquires Quality Engineering Services. Golder & Associates opens new office in York, Maine. GeoEngineers Inc. launches Boston-based, national Construction Design Group for heavy civil contractors; Franklin Grynkewicz and Steve Spencer will lead the team.

Anniversaries: Shannon & Wilson
of Seattle is 65, Continental Construction Co. in Memphis is 50!
Albany Times Union in NY profiles a C.D. Perry, LLC riverfront restoration project.

American Journal of Transportation
updates on a Weeks Marine dredging project in Virginia.

American Way 
(a magazine in airplane seat pockets) plugs i+iconUSA pier project in St. Pete, FL.

The Astorian
newspaper in Oregon reports on municipal contract awarded to Bergerson Construction.

Bisnow Boston
looks at a big downtown development; Haley & Aldrich was participating engineer.

Business in Edmonton's
November cover is Valard; CEO Barkley Adams and blue trucks prominent. 

CE Magazine
features the Hardesty & Hanover and Cianbro vehicle/rail bridge connecting ME and NH. 

Civil + Structural Engineer Media
talks with PND president Jim Campbell.  

Construction Executive
publishes column by McHugh VP Natalie Perdraza on recruiting strategies. 

Crain's New York Business List
includes Tectonic Engineering & Surveying Consultants.

Deep Foundations magazine
includes photo of Foundation Constructors' Sam Follett at the ballpark.

DJC Oregon
says Christine Miller, Lauren Sherman, Megan Worthington of Shannon & Wilson, Inc. are Women of Vision 2019.

ENR Midwest Top Specialty Contractors
list both Veit & Co. in Minnesota and Aldridge Electric in Chicago.

Fox2Now St. Louis
interviews McCarthy VP Jeff Boyer on building a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Groundbreak Carolinas
reports on Balfour Beatty's Jeannie Daleure for honoring 9/11 heroes.

Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal
profiles GZA VP Mary Kay Morelli LSRP, great press if you can get it!  

New Orleans 4WWL TV
highlights the Weeks Marine scholarship program, introduces student winner.
covers a ground-breaking; Linde Griffith strategically places crane for inclusion in cover photo. 

New York Yimby
writes about MRCE's geotechnical and foundation engineering work on NYC's new tallest building outside of Manhatten.

construction magazine features Saskatchewan's largest-ever highway project on which two PDCA engineering firms contributed; Golder as geotech lead and a supporting team from EXP.

The Weather Channel
discusses sustainable building with Elizabeth Heider of Skanska USA.

It's like a PDCA Bar Association!
 Crain's Chicago Business lists Dan Rosenberg of McHugh as a notable General Counsel; The Dallas Morning News list says Munsch Hardt is Top Place to Work; Florida Trend says Jimerson Birr is a Best Place to Work.
Shaping Our Communities
Balfour Beatty: Jeff Leahy in Raleigh raised $13,770 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Executive Challenge. The Atlanta team raises $82,000 for Make a Wish Georgia at annual golf tourney.

Cape Romain Contractors
in SC recognized for 20 consecutive years of giving to the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center in Mount Pleasant.

ECS Mid-Atlantic
sponsored the Children's National Hospital Race for Every Child run/walk in Washington, D.C.; it funds hospital programs, medical developments and services.

is sponsoring Downtown on the Go's Light Up Your Ride in Tacoma, WA, an annual event providing free bicycle lights to improve safety for riders during fall and winter months.

Geotechnology, Inc.
staff in St. Louis participated in trivia night for Paralyzed Veterans of America; also held an in-office bags tournament to support United Way.

's St. Louis office collected more than 1,200 food items for the Circle of Concern Food Pantry.

's John Moscati in Charlotte took on the XTreme Hike in The Iron Mountains of Virginia. Participants raised over $350,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Manson Construction news
: Seattle office participates in hunger relief; Beaumont office sponsored Touch a Truck at local children's museum.

MRCE News:
partnered with Grove City School of Engineering by presenting to nearly 100 students.  Also, Teresa Sandiford and Anthony DeVito guest lectured at Columbia University, delivering "Principles of Construction Techniques" for grad students.

Soil Consultants, Inc.,
in Charleston, SC sponsored Southern Soiree benefitting Blessed Sacrament School.
The Rest of the Story
They literally "took the show on the road": Crews from Key Constructors LLC starred in a "Facebook Live series" hosted by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. MDOT produced and Key shared regular live shots providing construction updates for area drivers to social media followers. Congrats to Key for the early completion of a major Interstate 20 improvement near Jackson.

A future archeological treasure?
Kudos to the creative, sustainable visionaries at American Engineering Testing, Inc. in St. Paul, MN. As part of a corporate office expansion, AET enlarged the parking lot, which required overhauling the stormwater system to comply with the NPDES permit. To achieve a suitable underground infiltration system and also support an above ground parking surface, they used bushels (correct unit of measurement?) of tire shreds as the aggregate. That's creative engineering!

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery:"
It's a famous quote and apparently a Halloween '19 theme for GA PDCA members. Nearly the entire staff at C.A. Murren & Sons in Grayson, GA dressed as Jan Heck from the front office; the Facebook post is a sweet message about the valued clerk. Down the road in Atlanta, Balfour Beatty staff chose Superintendent Chuck Howard as the preferred costume.
If your company has news to share with the pile driving industry, please email We look forward to distributing your unique stories, personnel changes, charitable efforts and recognitions. Remember to include the hashtag #PDCADriven on all of your driven pile-related social media posts se we can follow along and share.  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  IFCEE

Posted in A Pile of News PDCA Monthly e-newsletter.

PDCA of South Carolina Awards "Mac" Nigels Scholarship

Charleston, SC (November 14, 2019): The thirteenth recipient of the coveted "Mac" Nigels Scolarship is Cadet Hunter Hutton (pictured below), a sophomore at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. The annual award is presented to a civil engineering student from The Citadel who, according to his/her professors, demonstrates strong character, integrity and grade point average. Cadet Hutton currently maintains a 4.0 GPA and receives both a commemorative plaque and a $2000 monetary gift. He was presented his award by Scott Nigels (pictured, right), son of the late McLeod "Mac" Creighton Nigels during the PDCA of South Carolina Chapter's Quarterly Dinner Meeting at the Town & Country Inn in Charleston on November 14th. Nearly 60 practitioners in the pile driving industry attened the event. "Mac" Nigels was a highly respected civil engineer in Charleston following his 1955 graduation from The Citadel; the Chapter has honered him through the scholarship program every year since 2007.

In other business at the Dinner Meeting, Dr. Steven C. Jaume from the College of Charleston presented "Getting Under the Surface of the Charleston Peninsula to Predict Earthquake Ground Motion." Chapter members were updated on planning for the Annual Oyster Roast which will take place January 17th at Palmetto Pile Driving. Additionally, they received updates concerning the biennial PDCA of SC Driven Pile Technical Seminar to be held in March; it is that event which helps make the "Mac" Nigels Scholarship available each year.