Charleston Engineer Kolwalkar to Represent SC Chapter on PDCA Board

With a resume that includes an early civil engineering career in India and the Middle East, a completed masters degree and PhD in the U.S., and an impressive list of high profile projects in the Charleston, S.C. region, Susheel Kolwalkar of Insight Group confesses that active engagement in recreational table tennis provides him necessary relaxation and enjoyment when he needs a break from the demands of his career. He clarifies that it is known as 'ping pong' in the U.S.

Dr. Kolwalkar recently earned appointment to the PDCA Board of Directors from his peers in his local Chapter; he now serves as the PDCA South Carolina Chapter Representative. "I've been with the local PDCA chapter for five years; four as an elected board member and now Chapter Vice President," he explained. "I attend all quarterly meetings and technical seminars. And I never miss an oyster roast! It's a great industry gathering where we talk shop in a relaxed setting."

"When I attend chapter events, it provides a good networking platform where I can share and acquire knowledge from other like-minded individuals who strive to advance the pile driving industry," he said.

Noting Charleston contains a geological composition that favors driven pile foundations, his six years there have brought many welcome, professional challenges and numerous, satisfying final products. A notable example; "Insight Group recently completed deep foundation testing services at the new Hugh Leatherman Terminal and the connecting Port Access Road and Tidewater Road bridges. This is a $1B project and the most important infrastructure project that the South Carolina Ports Authority has ever constructed and the only new terminal under construction in the United States."

With more than 20 years experience as a professional engineer, Dr. Kolwalkar has also helped shape the future of the industry through academia. He conducted research at Cleveland State University and taught a variety of civil engineering courses at Ohio's Youngstown State University. "Teaching at YSU was useful while training and mentoring several interested deep foundation testing professionals."

By day, the Senior Geotechnical Consultant at Insight Group is part of a highly-skilled, collaborative team of engineers and scientists which provides consulting services to contractors, designers and owners. But he does enjoy time away from the grind. "I like spending time with family and friends...listening to different music and playing table tennis, or 'ping pong' as it's known in the U.S. Also, I've voluntarily served on the Executive Committee of the India Association of Greater Charleston (IAGC) between 2017 and 2019." Oh, and we've already established, he doesn't miss an Oyster Roast (pictured).

In his newest, voluntary role with the PDCA Board of Directors, Susheel Kolwalkar joins Association leadership which oversees all administrative, educational, advocacy and event activity for the pile driving contractors, equipment manufacturers, industry suppliers and affiliated engineers.

Posted in Chapter News.

Can a Chapter Host Successful, Virtual Event? 85+ say 'Yes,' attend PDCA SC

Virtual Quarterly Meeting Draws Big Crowd

The PDCA of South Carolina Chapter has been able to get an answer to a question shared by many in the construction association world; "can a Chapter that has a strong tradition of regular, live meetings host an event that is 100% virtual?" The question was answered with a resounding "yes" after the February 4th Quarterly Meeting of the Chapter.

Based on a widespread, positive response to the initial meeting announcement, then more than 85 participants accessing the two-hour meeting and technical presentation through the Zoom platform, it was clear that the paramount function of a Chapter executing meaningful engagement with its members is possible through a web-based format. While a live, in-person event which brings important networking and social interaction in addition to general meeting components and a presentation, is a preference for many who participate in Chapter functions, ongoing health concerns have forced the pivot. And South Carolina's PDCA Chapter has successfully pivoted.

The event took place from 3:00-5:00 PM EST on February 4, 2021. Using technical and organizational resources from the PDCA national office, Chapter President Jason Moore convened more than 85 Chapter members and other friends from the Southeastern U.S. region for a business meeting followed by a popular technical program (which provided PDH credit). Presenter Mohamad Hussein (pictured), EVP and Principal Engineer with GRL Engineers, gave a 90 minute program entitled Dynamic Pile Testing: Basic Principle, Capabilities and Effective Applications. Thanks to generous sponsorship, this program was offered to participants at no cost.

If you are involved in a PDCA Chapter and are interested in learning more about resources available to you to host a virtual program, please contact the PDCA offices.

Posted in Chapter News.

Three Students Earn PDCA Pacific Coast Chapter Scholarships

Oakley, CA: PDCA Pacific Coast Chapter President Dermot Fallon announces that three students in California who are pursuing higher education in a construction field and have demonstrated an interest in the pile driving industry have each received a $1500 scholarship. The 2020 awardees are:

Erick Medina (pictured, left)

Erick is a first generation college student attending his third year at California State -Sacramento. He is pursuing a bachelors degree in Construction Management with a minor in Business Administration. During the summer of 2020, Erick completed an internship at Foundation Constructors Inc. in Oakley where learned to assist Project Managers with takeoffs, track jobsite materials and production. He says that the experience has provided him valuable perspective on the role of Project Managers in the pile driving industry and has prepared him for a future in deep foundation construction. As an intern, Erick visited several Foundation Constructors Inc. jobsites where he learned about the different pile types such as pipe piles. He also observed their safe installation. Erick says of his time at Foundation " I have found great interest in pile driving through this opportunity and I hope that with my degree in construction management and continued experience, I can continue to become a larger asset in the pile driving industry"

Connor Free (pictured, right)

Connor Free, first learned about the pile driving industry during a tour of the Balfour Beatty Transbay project in downtown San Francisco. This was a major, heavy civil project with dewatering, CIDH pile installation, excavation and shoring. Connor became genuinely interested in the complexities he observed at this jobsite and the experience ultimately lead him to study Engineering at California State University - Chico; he is currently a third year student at the school. In anticipation of an engineering degree, Connor aspires to influence the pile driving industry. Based on some of the ideas he shared in his scholarship application, he exhibits a vision that challenges the status quo; he suggests innovative pursuits toward new and faster means to drive piles. Also, he embraces the idea of joining with developers in constructing a machine that could drive two piles at once. An environmentally conscious student, Connor indicated support for cranes to burn greener fuels such as hydrogen, electricity or even plant based oils.
Zander Kuthe (pictured, left)
Zander Kuthe is a first year student at California State University - Fresno. In his application, Zander indicates that as a biology major he can "influence the pile driving industry by helping to find new ways to power pile driving rigs and other heavy civil machinery so they don't burn fossil fuel like diesel." Zander believes that reducing carbon emissions from pile driving equipment as well as expanding the use of natural resources, the construction industry can contribute to a necessary reduction in pollution. He is aspirational to become involved with equipment innovators who strive for cleaner, safer and more efficient construction equipment which will benefit future generations.


Posted in Chapter News.

She's the First Female to Win South Carolina's 'Nigels Scholarship'

Emma Larsen Earns Coveted Award; Thanks Members at South Carolina Chapter Event

Charleston, SC (November 12, 2020): The recipient of the the coveted "Mac" Nigels Scholarship is, for the first time in the history of the award, a female Cadet from The Citadel. Attendees at the PDCA of South Carolina Chapter's fourth quarter dinner meeting on November 12th heard an inspiring acceptance speech from Cadet Emma Larsen (pictured, center), who graciously thanked the Chapter for the honor. Each year, the Chapter presents this scholarship to a civil engineering student from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina who, according to his/her professors, demonstrates "strong character, integrity and exemplary grade point average."

Ms. Larsen, accompanied by Professor Simon Ghanat and others from Civil Engineering at The Citadel, is in her Junior year at the school where she is both a Dean's List qualifier and Regimental Leader. She stood alongside Chapter President Jason Moore (pictured, left) while Scott Nigels (pictured, right), son of the late McLeod "Mac" Creighton Nigels, presented the award consisting of a commemorative plaque and a $2000 monetary gift. The socially distanced and face-masked audience of PDCA members and others in the pile driving industry heartily applauded Ms. Larsen for this notable accomplishment.

The annual scholarship dates back to 2007 and is presented in the name of "Mac" Nigels who was a highly respected civil engineer in Charleston following his 1955 graduation from The Citadel.

Also from the PDCA of South Carolina Chapter's quarterly dinner meeting on November 11th, Dr. Guoming Lin, VP of Terracon Consultants in Savannah delivered a presentation on pile testing for the Kinder Morgan Elba Liquefaction Project. The event was limited to 60 attendees to comply with social distancing recommendations; the popular program reached capacity as contractors, engineers and suppliers from South Carolina and beyond arrived at the Town & Country Inn and Suites in North Charleston. See photos of attendees below, including the slide thanking the event sponsors:

Posted in Chapter News.

Gulf Coast Chapter Hosts Skeet Shoot

Port Allen, LA (October 30, 2020): Members and friends of the Gulf Coast Chapter of PDCA gathered on October 30th at Bridgeview Gun Club for a competitive skeet shooting event, followed by the Fourth Quarter Chapter Meeting. This was the Chapter's lone, live event of 2020 due in large part to the health pandemic. Officials with the organization implemented COVID-19 safety protocols for the shoot and meeting.

The morning skeet shoot involved grouped teams of four which competed against one another. An awards ceremony and luncheon were available at the conclusion of the competition. Gulf Coast Chapter of PDCA members then met to discuss organizational matters. 

The Chapter thanks meeting sponsors Scott Equipment, American Piledriving Equipment (APE), Samuel, Juntaan and Madere & Sons Marine Rental, LLC.

Scenes from the event:

Group Industries readies for the course

Premier Geotech and Testing preps for competition [Photo from Facebook]

No clays will be spared.

A Eustis Engineering shooter takes aim [Photo from LinkedIn]

Cajun Industries shooters focus on clays
PDCA of the Gulf Coast held a Chapter meeting after lunch

Ardaman & Associates on the course
Get your PDCA camo hat at The PDCA Store!

Posted in Chapter News.

Pacific Coast Chapter "Annual Schloarship Shoot," April 17

The Pile Driving Contractors Association, PDCA Pacific Coast Chapter's  "10th Annual Scholarship Shoot" will be held   Friday April 17, 2020at Birds Landing Hunting Preserve, 2099 Collinsville Rd Birds Landing, CA.

Any companies and sponsors who would like to provide raffle prizes are appreciated.

We will have Spectacular Raffle Prizes including;
-         Winchester SXP Max
-         Beretta A300 12 Gauge Shotgun
-         CZ 457 American 22 wmr Rifle
-    Browning Buck Mark Camper 22 lr Pistol

Please bring with you:
-         A Shot Gun
-         A Bag or Vest to Carry Ammo

What We Provide:
-100 Targets and 100 Rounds of Ammo
- Ear and Eye Protection
- BBQ Tri Tip Lunch

To RVSP, contact Sarah McDaniel at Foundation Constructors, Inc. Office number (925) 754--6633, Fax (925) 625-5783 or email

If you would like to be station sponsor please have your logo emailed to Sarah by March 20, 2020.
Registration starts at 8am and Shotgun start at 9am.
We look forward to seeing you all there.  


Posted in Chapter News.

New Chapter Officers in South Carolina

Charleson, SC (February 13, 2020): A busy start to 2020 for the South Carolina Chapter of PDCA which recently hosted its largest Oyster Roast to date and is presently finalizing details for the March 19th Driven Pile Technical Seminar. Chapter members and guests gathered February 13th at the Town and Country Inn & Suites, Charleston for the first quartly dinner meeting of the year. The meeting began as voting members ratified the new slate of Chapter officers and directors. That list follows:

Executive Committee
  • John King (Pile Drivers, Inc.) - Immediate Past President
  • Jason Moore (Palmetto Pile Driving) - President
  • Susheel Kolwalkar (The Insight Group) - Vice President
  • Andrea Edwards (Koppers) - Secretary/Treasurer
  • Kyle Jackson (Palmetto Pile Driving) - Asst. Secretary/Treasurer
  • Jim Challenger (Nucor Skyline)
  • Clif Hough (Cape Romain Contractors)
  • Derrick Bellamy (HDR)
  • Greg Canivan (S&ME)
  • Scott Nigels (Palmetto Pile Driving)
  • John Skinner (Parker Marine)
  • Simon Ghanat (The Citadel)
The evening consisted of networking and fellowship followed by a buffet dinner. New Chapter President Jason Moore (who also serves as the President of the national PDCA organization), gave a thorough and inspiring history on PDCA and discussed in detail the significant value it has brought both to the individual contracting companies in South Carolina and the driven pile as a preferred deep foundation method thoughout the region. The program began with a surprise presentation by President Moore and Kay Shealy to John King for his years of dedication to the organization (pictured below). 

Posted in Chapter News.

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.

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.