A Pile of News - April 2022

A Pile of News: April 2022
A briefing on news and information from the pile driving contractors, associated manufacturers, construction suppliers and affiliated engineers who comprise the PDCA.
by Matt Bisbee, PDCA
Originally sent April 1, 2022
If you haven't secured your spot, it's too late to attend the sold-out 2022 PDCA Contractors Foundation Institute: The Driven Pile Academy opening Monday (4/4) in Duson, LA. The four-day program features industry-leading equipment professionals providing classroom and practical instruction on equipment use. See progress photos of site prep and set-up. If you missed the 2022 event, watch for future event announcements...then register early! Non-members should join PDCA for discounted registrations.
From the Association & Chapters
Welcome to new and returning members that joined in the first quarter of 2022!
Contractors: Blue Iron Foundation & Shoring, Bowen Engineering Corporation, Coastal Construction & Engineering, Mohawk Northeast and RJ Gorman Contracting
Associates: Bottom Line Equipment, Clydesdale Steel, Contractor's Steel Co., Hercules Machinery Corporation and OMS Vibro Ozkanlar Grup Makina AS
Engineering Affiliates: Soil and Materials Engineering, Terracon VA and Thomas & Hutton

Mark your calendars!
See photos and coverage of recent events:
The geo-congressional record:
  • Proud to be a cooperating organization with the Geo-Institute, PDCA participated in the 2022 Geo-Congress event in Charlotte, NC. Several PDCA members attended; see who we spotted.
  • Van Komurka, PE., D.GE, F.ASCE is a senior engineer at GRL Engineers who has a long record of guiding PDCA technical activity through his committee work, technical writings and live presentations. As we announced in an earlier edition, Komurka earned the 2022 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award, which was presented at Geo-Congress. Another technical leader at PDCA, William M. Camp, III, P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE of S&ME, Inc. served as the congress chair.

News items of interest:
  • Site Selection Magazine shares new data depicting top U.S. cities' construction investment. Measured growth reveals a surging Rust Belt/Middle America, reversing recent trends.
Timothy Dutton of Junttan USA Inc., you are this month's winner!
Send an email to marian@piledrivers.org before the end of April to claim your prize!
News from PDCA Companies
Acquisitions & expansions:
Governmental relations:
  • The Nucor steel mills in Utah, Texas, Florida and Missouri were destinations for elected officials in March; U.S. Sen. Romney, U.S. Reps. Sessions and Foxx and Lt. Gov. Kehoe met with Nucor personnel and toured facilities in those states.

Giving back:
People on the Move
  • Leonard Braud retires as project superintendent at GROUP Contractors after 20 years with the Baton Rouge-based company, and more than 40 in the industry.
  • Jim Frias to retire in June as CFO/EVP at NucorSteve Laxton  named successor in March. 
  • Blake Burley joins the team at APC Construction, LLC as senior project manager.
  • Tyler Scott has begun as a Denver-based senior engineering recruiter for Kiewit.
  • Jacob Chaparro joins Weeks Marine in the rotational accelerated development program.
  • Kelsey Gunter departs her marketing post serving Bauer/ECA; best of luck on new challenges!
  • Nick Darlage named new director of projects at Engineered Rigging.
  • Sarah Marshman elevates to service manager at Equipment Corporation of America in Boston.
  • Chris Barberi, Noel Gibbings move into sales roles at Flexicore of Texas following industry departure of long-time sales rep Cary Hazard.
  • Stephen Geraci, P.E., CHMM elevates to SVP, subsidiary manager at ECS Limited in the Southwest.
  • AJ Davis, Jr., Brian Awckland, Randy Daub (PA offices) and Matthew Hartman (Laurel, MD office) promoted to associates at Geo-Technology Associates, Inc.
  • Danny Hines reaches 21 years at Southern Earth Sciences in Mobile; Brad Bertucci rejoins the firm in New Orleans.

In memoriam:
  • Tim McGowan, a transformational figure in deep foundation construction and a past member of the PDCA Pacific Coast Chapter, passed away in January. He leaves a giant footprint of recognizable work on an international level; click here to learn about his impressive life.
  • David Pierce, P.E., S.E., was a veteran engineer and mentor to colleagues throughout the Pacific Northwest. A past president at PND Engineers, he lost a year-long cancer battle in February.
On the Job
ASAP Group installs sheet piling from Samuel Roll Form Group for the Miami International Airport Taxiway Apron; notably, an American Airlines employee recorded video of ASAP's vibro at work!

Boh Bros. Construction conducts an assembly line at their waterfront yard to fabricate a dock for a Mississippi River industrial facility. See video of the assembly process.

Caldwell Marine International is among several contractors in the North Atlantic that have become involved in the burgeoning offshore wind industry. Here, they work with other stakeholders to transport cabling.

Orion Marine Group wins largest contract ever ($125M) in the Tampa division for demolition and replacement of two bascule bridges spanning the NASA Causeway in Titusville, FL. The new construction will include installation of 113,000 linear feet of 30-inch prestressed high moment capacity concrete piles.

Pile Drivers, Inc. completed the Legacy Apartments in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Many PDCA members assisted: Parker Marine; Palmetto Pile Driving; Essve Tech; S&ME, Inc.; Lodge Lumber; APE; ICE; and Junttan. 

Poseidon Dredge & Marine Inc. continues shaping the infrastructure in Florida's coastal communities; the team recently completed a driven sheet pile installation for the Jacksonville Port.

PRECO-MSE has a team on a northern Quebec waterway installing H-pile for a hydroelectric line between the Micoua and Saguenay stations. Pile depths exceed 30 meters.

Weeks Marine has a crew in New York City replacing bridge fenders at the Spuyten Duyvil over the Harlem River. A Junttan hammer is among the equipment on the job. FYI the railroad bridge's name is Dutch for "in spite of the devil;" not to be confused with Mötley Crüe's 1983 metal hit, "Shout at the Devil."

Equipment Corporation of America (ECA) shows a Pile Master 36-5000 performing installation of timber pilings, part of a dock replacement in Philadelphia.

ICE-International Construction Equipment supplied various pieces of deep foundation machinery to assist a contractor in Puerto Rico to control future flooding at the Rio De La Plata in the territory.

Pileco Inc. recently opened the doors to its new Conroe, TX headquarters; rightfully proud of the facility, the team hosted a crew from the Coast Guard for annual diesel hammer training.

Dewberry secures fifth consecutive contract with UVA where it has been the on-call engineering and design firm for 25 years. We note Dewberry branding favors team colors at Va-Tech.
Media Hits
The Herald-Dispatch serving the Huntington, W.V. region tags along with U.S. Rep Carol Miller and John Musgrave of the local Economic Development Authority during a site visit to the future Nucor Corp. steel mill in Apple Grove. The story shares expected positive developments the area could realize.

North America Outlook magazine profiles Engineered Rigging president Christopher Cox.

Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal recognizes ECS Limited as Best of 2021 Engineering Winner for designing the replacement of a Maryland elementary school.

The Nashville Business Journal talked to local engineers about new development opportunities materializing in the growing city. Among them was Alicia Sellers, a geotech at GeoEngineers, Inc.
Notes from the Field
Because we can't get enough basketball We take a minute to share an update from Dallas; Kendric Davis is the college hoops standout that J.D. Fields Company signed to an NIL deal this season. The SMU point guard finished the regular season as top scorer in the AAC with 19.5 points per game!

When you have 10,000 lakes and it's winter why not host an ice fishing expedition? Atlas Foundation Company in Osseo, MN did just that; it was an employee appreciation event.

Crawfish, cornhole and canned beverages Canal Barge Company kicked off the Vessel's Officer Workshop, a key business meeting, with an evening employee/family social.

Louisiana members get plenty of attention for Cajun cooking but Geotechnology Associates in Maryland brings chili to the "Pile of Food." Alex won a gold medal at the staff cookoff; his venison/bacon recipe secured it.

With potential foreign conflict on American minds a Fun Fact Friday social media post from Alexandra Cormier of Flores Automation & Machine Control may bring nostalgic comfort. FAMC provides Leica products that can help a pile driver understand subterranean conditions. Leica is also responsible for the photography equipment used to capture the famous WWII-era photo of the V-J Day celebrations in Times Square.

Despite what your calendar might say, nothing noted above is a joke in the spirit of April Fool's Day; at least as far as we know. We appreciate you taking a few moments to browse through this month's Pile of News and look forward to bringing you another one in May. Please share your company news with us if you would like for it to appear in this publication. And many thanks to our growing list of advertisers! If you are interested in advertising, please contact PDCA today.
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Posted in A Pile of News PDCA Monthly e-newsletter.

Was there an IFCEE 2021 Baby Boom?

(L-R) Mike Abruzzo, Brandon Phetteplace both pictured at IFCEE 2021

Two announcements we received in March 2022 prompted the question, "Did IFCEE 2021 in May result in a deep foundations industry Baby Boom?

PDCA offers congratulations to GRL Engineers, Inc. Branch Manager Brandon Phetteplace and his wife who welcomed their second child, Harrison Parker Phetteplace, on March 2nd. Brandon reports it was a complication-free delivery when their new baby arrived at 6 lbs., 12 oz; the family is now back to their Houston-area home.

Later in March, Mike Abruzzo and his wife welcomed Brooks William Abruzzo (left). Born March 20th at 7 lbs., 10 oz., the second child in the family and his mom are "healthy and doing great" at their Cincinnati-area home. Meantime, Mike is back to work in business development at Richard Goettle, Inc. 

'Innovative' Driven Pile Academy Campus Takes Shape in Louisiana

On 3/25, this rig sat at Conroe, TX Bauer as Shaun Nelson prepped it to ship.

By 3/26, the same rig was in Duson, LA performing pre-drilling for the event.

The Contractors Foundation Institute: The Driven Pile Academy has been months in the making. The unique event has been embraced by pile driving contractors and other deep foundation professionals from far and wide. This first-of-its-kind educational opportunity, that includes both classroom and practical instruction, is almost here. The event opens with a Welcome Reception on April 4th and runs through April 7th when a classic Crawfish Boil concludes the conference at the Patriot Construction and Industrial yard in Duson, Louisiana.

Among the in-kind contributors to this innovative industry opportunity are American Piledriving Equipment, America Spiralweld Pipe, Bauer Equipment, Bigge Crane, Cajun Industries, Gulf Coast Pre-Stress, Consolidated Pipe and Supply, Equipment Share, Hercules Machinery Corp., ICE-International Construction Equipment, Junttan, Louisiana CAT, Lodge Lumber, Mazzella, MKT Manufacturing, Nucor Skyline, Patriot Construction and Industrial, Palmetto Pile Driving, Pile Dynamics, Inc., Premier Geotech and Testing, Scott Equipment, Tadano and United Rentals.

Sponsors include American Piledriving Equipment, Atlas Tube, Geotech Testing and Research, Equipment Corporation of America, Gilbert, Gerdau, GRL Engineers/Pile Dynamics, Inc., ICE-International Construction Equipment, Hercules Machinery Corp., Lodge Lumber, Nucor Skyline, PileCo and United Rentals.

Due to limited space, the sold-out event has met capacity. However, with strong demand throughout the industry for instruction at this level, The Contractors Foundation Institute is planning future opportunities like The Driven Pile Academy. Make sure to join PDCA to learn about all upcoming events.

During the week of March 28th, on-site set up was in full force. Here are scenes from the final stretch of event planning. Make sure you are following PDCA on Facebook and LinkedIn for continued event coverage, plus plenty of video content related to The Driven Pile Academy.

PDCA events guru Kathy Harper meticulously coordinates all things CFI!
Organizers Kevin Gourgues, Pollyanna Cunningham, Diane Fischer are excited for CFI!


Texas Chapter Leadership Outlines Goals During First Event

Chapter President Brandon Bicknell introduces new organization

Vice President Condon Verble shares Chapter vision
First Chapter Meeting offers attendees Vision for organization, Evening of Networking 

Houston, TX (March 24, 2022): Nearly 70 individuals from the pile driving industry in Texas and beyond assembled at Pinstripes in Houston for the Mixer event designed to introduce the new PDCA Texas Chapter. The recently named officers for the organization planned the gathering which included food, drink and networking, along with a program in which Chapter President Brandon Bicknell and Vice President Condon Verble shared the vision and objectives that they intend to pursue on behalf of the pile driving industry in Texas. Secretary Armando Guajardo and Treasurer Arjin Dogan joined Bicknell and Verble for the full presentation.

Stated Verble, "Our number one priority is to maintain a strong industry focus by promoting use of the driven pile every time it is available for a deep foundation construction project."

Many of the stated objectives of the PDCA Texas Chapter revolve around optimizing the market workforce for pile driving careers:
  1. Create an organization of experienced professionals within the driven pile industry
  2. Give members a networking resource to develop critical industry relationships 
  3. Identify and collaborate on addressing common industry challenges; availability of a skilled work force is one already determined
  4. Establish partnerships with technical and high school vocational programs to promote driven pile work and improve regional workforce development
  5. Identify potential top talent in the schools; develop recruitment tools to secure promising candidates
  6. Use the PDCA Texas Chapter to link students to potential opportunities at chapter members' organizations   
Also taking place during the inaugural PDCA Texas Chapter meeting, Executive Director Frank Peters from the national organization offered the leadership, and the many others from the region who were instrumental in developing the new chapter, a special message of appreciation from the entirety of PDCA membership. He also pledged to the PDCA Chapter Members that the national office will provide a constant and reliable support system for their initiatives.
Peters then introduced national PDCA President Brian Heck who brought the group a warm and inspiring welcome. He reiterated that organizational growth, both through individual memberships and new chapter development, is critical for the continued advancement of the driven pile. 

The PDCA Texas Chapter is encouraging regional companies and individuals to become charter members of new group, dues are $500 per company or $100 per individual. Please contact info@piledrivers.org for more information.

Many thanks all who attended the inaugural meeting of the PDCA Texas Chapter which was made possible by these generous sponsors: Russell Marine, McCarthy, JD Fields and Company, BRC International, APE-American Piledriving Equipment, ICE-International Construction Equipment, Lodge Lumber, PileCo and Orion Marine.

Who was SPOTTED at the event?

Thanks to these sponsors:


PDCA Engineer Komurka Earns Significant Industry Distinction

(L-R: Billy Camp, S&ME, Inc. and Van Komurka, GRL Engineers, Inc. at Geo-Congress 2022)

Charlotte, NC (March 22, 2022): PDCA is proud to recognize two of its members who have been longtime contributors to the organization's technical prowess in deep foundations engineering, for their respective roles at the 2022 Geo-Congress event by the Geo-Institute of ASCE; Van Komurka has earned a highly-coveted award for his work and Billy Camp served in a prominent position for the annual event.

2022 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award:
Congratulations Van Komurka!

The Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award recognizes an individual on the basis of the best example of innovative or outstanding design or construction of foundations, earthworks, retaining structures, or underground construction. Emphasis is placed on constructed works where serious difficulties were overcome or where substantial economies were achieved. Van Komurka has demonstrated a body of work and earned selection by the Geo-Institute Board of Governors and ultimately the ASCE Executive Committee as the worthy recipient of the 2022 honor. The award was established by the ASCE Board in 1973 and is a memorial in recognition of the outstanding professional accomplishments of Martin S. Kapp, F.ASCE. As noted by the 2022 Geo-Congress Chair, "Van has earned a very prestigious award."
Van E. Komurka, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE is a Senior Engineer at GRL Engineers, Inc. A periodic presenter at PDCA live and virtual educational seminars, Van is also a member of the PDCA Technical Committee and holds various other positions throughout the deep foundations industry. He has authored multiple publications and is an instructor for the course "Driven Pile Foundations Design and Construction" offered by the Federal Highway Administration National Highway Institute (FHWA/NHI). He received the University of Wisconsin-Platteville College of Engineering Mathematics and Science Alumni Chapter Outstanding Entrepreneur/Businessperson Award and two PDCA Awards, the Professional Engineer's Service Award and the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service.

Also of note at the 2022 Geo-Congress, the event Chair is a widely recognized technical expert at PDCA.

2022 Geo-Congress Chair:
Congratulations Billy Camp!
William M. Camp, III, P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE is a Vice President and Technical Principal at S&ME, Inc. Based in the Charleston, SC office, Billy is a longtime member of the PDCA Technical Committee and is active in the PDCA of South Carolina Chapter. He demonstrates leadership in other deep foundations industry organizations, including serving as a president at the Geo-Institute, prior to becoming this year's Chair of the Geo-Congress event. Billy has authored 34 peer-reviewed technical papers and frequently presents at seminars. The University of Texas at Austin recognized Billy's achievements and contributions to his professional community by inducting him to their Academy of Distinguished Alumni in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, a rare honor held by fewer than 150 in a community of 10,000 living alumni.

PDCA heartily congratulate the two gentlemen for their significant contributions to the pile driving industry.

Geo-Congress 2022, a destination for several PDCA members

(Al Bonura of Morris-Shea Bridge Company visits with a student group which participated in the poster competition.)

Deep foundations professionals from around the globe made the trek to Charlotte, NC in March to attend the first, live Geo-Congress event since 2022. Many PDCA members were in attendance at the marquis event hosted by the Geo-Institute of ASCE; one was the event Chair and one was a special awardee (see additional blog post). Other PDCA member-attendees were presenters, exhibitors, sponsors, and professionals seeking PDH and networking opportunities. PDCA values its partnership with the Geo-Institute and is pleased to offer support to its events as a Cooperating Organization. See who was spotted at the Charlotte Convention Center:


Haley & Aldrich



2022 Driven Pile Technical Seminar by SC Chapter Draws Big Crowd


Geotechnical engineers and other deep foundations professionals throughout the Southeast descended to the Low Country on St. Paddy's Day to hear a revered line-up of presenters who provided attendees with five different programs and 5.5 PDH credits. The Driven Pile Technical Seminar is a biennial event developed by the PDCA South Carolina Chapter. Event Chairman Greg Canivan (S&ME, Inc.) opened the program to the more than 100 attendees who filled the assembly room at The Citadel - Holliday Alumni Center on March 17th in Charleston, SC. Harry Robbins, the now-retired pile driver who is credited for founding the PDCA SC Chapter, gave a short welcome and reflected on the tremendous support the Chapter has received over the past 25 years. With no further ado, the presenters delivered their respective topics to the audience:
  • Richard Coffman, Ph.D., P.E., P.L.S Professor, University of Arkansas Lessons Learned from Blast Induced Liquefaction Tests Surrounding Steel and Concrete Piles
  • Silas Nichols, P.E. Principal Geotech Engineer, FHWA Office of Infrastructure Effective Use of Driven Piles on Bridge Foundations
  • Dr. Catherine T. Aimone-Martin Principal, Aimone-Martin Associates, LLC Structure Responses to Construction Vibrations and Environmental Effects
  • Lunch (Driven Piles are Tested Piles QC Video)
  • Tim Siegel, P.E., G.E., D.GE CEO and Senior Principal Engineer, Dan Brown and Associates Past, Present, and Future of Rigid Inclusions
  • Brent Robinson, Ph.D., P.E. Vice President, Pile Dynamics, Inc. Reliability and Economy of Driven Piles 

Who was spotted at the 2022 Driven Pile Technical Seminar:

PDCA South Carolina Chapter thanks the following sponsors who helped make the event a great success:
Koppers, Nucor Skyline, Palmetto Pile Driving, Inc., Junttan USA, Pile Drivers, Inc., ICE-International Construction Equipment, Parker Marine Contracting Corporation, Soil Consultants, Inc., Insight Group, Cape Romain Contractors, S&ME, Inc. and CZM Foundation Equipment.

Northeast Chapter Returns to NJ TopGolf for 2022 Meet & Greet

The PDCA Northeast Chapter hosted an annual Meet & Greet event at TopGolf in Edison, NJ on March 16th. The event brought together pile driving contractors, industry suppliers, equipment manufacturers and affiliated engineers from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and beyond for an evening food and fun. Chapter members also invited non-members from the industry to introduce them to the organization and encourage new membership enrollments. The event was a great success with 75 individuals from the pile driving industry present, many of whom took the opportunity to get a head start on St. Patrick's Day celebration by intensely focusing their attention on the 'green.' PDCA sends a special note of thanks to guest, event photographer Steve Sigmund of member-company Equipment Corporation of America.

This event was made possible through the generosity of several sponsors:

Consolidated Pipe & Supply Company
Dinner Sponsor

Linde-Griffith Construction Company
Dinner Sponsor

GRL Engineers
Beverage Sponsor

Junttan USA
Beverage Sponsor

Don't Miss Value Driven Webinar Series, FREE Monthly Programs for Members

Ric Anderson (pictured) of Nucor Skyline delivered a powerful, virtual program on Thursday (3/10) entitled Innovations in H Piles & Historical UsageIt was the second of the eleven-part PDCA Value Driven Webinar Series. This multi-part program is available at no cost to PDCA members and representatives of their firms and companies. Non-members can participate too; however nominal costs will apply.

The 2022 Series, developed as a collaborative effort of the PDCA Education Committee and Associate Member Council, offers a diverse lineup of educational subject matter, pertinent to driven pile industry professionals. It resumes April 14th with a program on Working Platforms; here is the schedule for the balance of the year:
  • April 14 - Safe Working Platforms What can they do for you?

  • May 12 - High Strain Dynamic Load Testing (PDA tests) with GRLWEAP

  • June 9 - Bridging Over Troubled Waters "Components of Building over Safety Obstacles"

  • July 14 - Legal Discussion Topic: Part 1

  • August 11 - Topic TBD

  • September 8 - The Use of Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composites in Piling Applications

  • October 13 - Steel Durability in Marine Construction

  • November 10 - Legal Discussion: Part 2

  • December 8 - Topic TBD
Click here to REGISTER for upcoming installments or for more information about this program.

Remembering Tim McGowan - an Industry Legend

 Matthew B. "Tim" McGowan

October 10, 1930 - January 9, 2022 

A noted pioneer in the development of pre-stressed concrete building materials, a Cold War-era Army Captain, a celebrated sport boater, a construction company president, a gender-barrier breaker, an advisor to Governor Ronald Reagan and a loving family man are just a few ways one could accurately describe the late Tim McGowan.

As PDCA Pacific Coast Chapter President Dermot Fallon recalls, "he was one of the original members of the Pile Driving Contractors Association in San Francisco. He would always attend our PDCA Holiday Luncheons; reminisce and tell stories about the old days of PDCA. A great man and he will be missed." 

Mr. McGowan leaves a giant footprint across North America - his construction work includes several projects that are recognizable on an international level, including the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa (images below).

PDCA joins his surviving family, colleagues, protege's and friends in recognizing a remarkable life in foundation construction.

Click here to read a published, formal obituary of Tim McGowan; it includes information on an upcoming Celebration of Life.

These recognizable structures represent a small sample of projects on which Tim McGowan contributed during his impactful career.

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