A Pile of News - March 2023

A Pile of News: March 2023
A briefing on news and information from the pile driving contractors,
associated manufacturers, construction suppliers and affiliated engineers
who comprise PDCA.
By Matt Bisbee, PDCA

Originally sent March 1, 2023
Top of the Pile
Special coverage from the 2023 PDCA Annual Conference: thanks to all of you who made this event possible through your attendance, sponsorships, exhibition, presentations and ongoing support of PDCA. Make sure and read this newsletter to the end as we offer a special "closing commentary" on the 2023 conference. But first, there's plenty of event coverage and photos from San Diego on the PDCA Blog:
From the Association & Chapters
Mark your calendars!
News and PHOTOS from the PDCA Blog:
Industry News:
Congratulations, Marco Lessard, you are this month's winner! Send an email to marian@piledrivers.org before the end of the month to claim your prize!
News from PDCA Companies
Acquisitions & expansions:
Giving back:
  • ECS Limited reaches 35 years! The Virginia-based engineering firm opened in 1988 with its first project, Market Square, in Washington, DC. PDCA treasures its relationship with the firm, which has supported a volunteer board member (thanks Karl Higgins) and earned a Project of the Year Award. With 80+ U.S. offices, ECS has a recognizable and trusted brand in the engineering space.

Governmental relations:
  • ESP Associates, Inc. department manager Toynia Gibbs wins appointment from Gov. Cooper to the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors. She is the first female surveyor to gain a position on this board, on which she will serve at least one five-year term.
  • PND Engineers, Inc. co-founder Roy Peratrovich, Jr. is the son of the late Elizabeth Peratrovich. Since 1988, Alaskans have celebrated her legacy. On Feb. 16, 2020, the U.S. Mint issued a coin with her likeness. Last month, the U.S. Senators Sullivan and Murkowski passed a resolution honoring her civil rights work; she led Alaska's Anti-Discrimination Act in 1945.
  • GeoEngineers, Inc. has done some preliminary investigative work on what will become the I-10 Calcasieu Bridge Reconstruction near Lake Charles, LA, one of only nine US projects to get a "mega grant." US-DOT Undersecretary Monje is from the Bayou State... is this a coincidence?
  • TRC Companies, Inc. joined client City of Maysville, NC to receive US EPA Administrator Regan, who announced a $2B grant for the community to address drinking water problems.
People on the Move
  • Darin Murayama is promoted to VP Finance and Manu Bermudes elevates to VP Human Resources and DEI at Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company.
  • Jorge Otero joins Morris-Shea Bridge Company as logistics coordinator.
  • Jamie Martin appointed CEO, Shawn Dennison named CFO; both men join leadership at the Contractor's Steel parent company, UPG Enterprises, as it scales Chicago-based operations.
  • Regan Tolley elevates to Midwest South-Central sales manager at CZM Foundation Equipment.
  • Erik Ellingsen, P.E. brings extensive experience in deep foundation installation and testing to GeoEngineers, Inc., where he is a new senior geotechnical engineer.
  • Chris Brazell rises to COO at EMC Engineering Services; other promotions include Alec Metzger to SVP, Joel Womack, Kip Goodbread, Vin Pinkston, Nash Austin.
  • Jorge Robles onboards as new geotechnical engineer at GZA Geo Environmental in Connecticut.
  • Russell Nipper makes 39 years at Southern Earth Sciences, Mobile; Shaun Yeung new to Tampa.
  • "Ms. Rose" receives a warm sendoff from Aggregate Technologies, Inc. as she enters retirement.

  • Jon Beck of American Deep Foundation reaches 47 years in pile driving, 22 with the Atlanta-based company.
  • Brad Bierwagen, Matt Lash, Pat Stanford earn unique annual awards for exemplary work in various areas of the expansive, diverse Bowen Engineering Corp. operation. Meantime, Brooke Chitwood, who operates the intern program, has become a certified HR professional.
  • Hunter Arrighi, Todd Shiflett of GROUP Contractors named ECC Future Leaders.
  • Vern Dettman of J. Fletcher Creamer & Son has spent nearly 25 years improving Mid-Atlantic infrastructure; he is a newly elected VP of the Maryland Utility and Transportation Association.
  • Anthony Turner is employee of the month and John Trumbull coins phrase, "safety is a team sport"; staff at RJ Gorman Marine Construction gain accolades from employer.  
  • Tom Greco and the Elkhart, IN Bull Moose Tube team earn the Lord Paul Award for Excellence for 2022; the trophy goes to the plant that demonstrates safety, quality and improvement.
  • Fred Kahn, president/CEO at Kansas City-based Kahn Steel, celebrates 40 years in the family biz.
  • Chris Carley from Eustis Engineering and his son volunteered at a "TreeCycling" event; they took donated trees out in Louisiana's Barataria Basin to dampen waves and reduce coastal erosion.
  • Azure Dee Sleicher, a VP at RACE Coastal Engineering, joins the board for the Connecticut Association of Flood Managers, which promotes subject matter education and public policies.
  • Brittany O'Sullivan, Terri DeGross from the Universal Engineering Sciences Orlando offices win second place in a local construction industry chili cookoff.

In remembrance:
  • Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers PLLC (MRCE) principals established a scholarship with the foundation at New Jersey Institute of Technology to honor the life and legacy of colleague and friend, David R. Good, P.E., who passed unexpectedly in January. A noted professional and valued PDCA member, Good maintained a close relationship with his alma mater, NJIT.
  • Dr. David K. Crapps, a towering figure in deep foundations, has passed at age 83. A renowned geotechnical engineer, he completed his doctoral dissertation under Dr. John Schmertmann on the use of wave equation theory for pile driving when it was still a new idea. Later, he rewrote the deep foundation section of the Florida DOT Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction, including dynamic testing (PDA) and other major updates. Paul Bullock of Fugro USA says he was a lifelong mentor who "had a big impact on the pile driving industry."
On the Job
Black River Solar ventured away from the Midwest's plush prairies and sprawling farmlands to install piling in the Big Bend region in far southwestern Texas near the Mexico border.
Orion Marine Group, which is building the NASA Causeway Bridge in Florida that you read about in a past PileDriver magazine, reports that Florida State Rep. Sirios and Brevard County Commissioners back legislation that would name the new span after Sally Ride, the first woman to go to space in 1983.
R. Kremer & Son Marine Contractors installs a composite bulkhead along the Arthur Kill near the Raritan Yacht Club in Perth Amboy, NJ.
Pacific Pile & Marine completed a highly complex pile driving project at the Ketchikan Airport Ferry Layup facility, an Alaska DOT job. New dolphin structures supporting a concrete float have Nucor Skyline steel, among other materials; ICE-International Construction Equipment, Inc. machinery was on the install. PND Engineers, Inc. provided the project design.
EXP expands its business relationship with the City of Atlanta, wins design contract for renovations at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
GeoEngineers, Inc. caps nearly 10 years of geotech and environmental services in its complex scope for the "Summit" expansion at the Seattle Convention Center. Kyle Smith, Katy Atakturk and Matt Smith attended a recent open house at the facility that will host the DFI Annual Conference this fall.
Media Hits
NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune publishes a story about a substation overhaul project completed by the Cajun Industries Infrastructure Business Unit that delivers a reliable power source in Grand Isle, LA. The buildout includes mitigation design for inevitable future storms. Great write-up and job site photos.

Vanguard Law Magazine chronicles Manson Construction in-house counsel Laurie A. Pinard's visits to various company jobsites around the country. 
Los Angeles Business Journal names McCarthy senior manager Megan Fairley a Woman of Influence; also, Dredgewire publishes interview with company engineer Sarah Johnson on Texas port expansions.
Birmingham's Real Talk 99.5 FM carries a Saturday show called Truitt News Radio; on Feb. 11, Richard Shea III of Morris Shea Bridge Co. appeared on the program to discuss Alabama construction.
The Contributors podcast interviews Colin Osborne, president/CEO of Samuel Roll Form Group parent company. Among topics discussed are sustainability initiatives aiding talent recruitment/retention.
The Houston Chronicle publishes story about JD Fields' relocation to award-winning Houston tower.
NJ Spotlight News broadcasts a story about an initiative of local reps of the UBC Pile Drivers and Divers. Students at JFK High School in Paterson, NJ learn carpentry skills and gain a "foot in the door" on a high-demand job; local union carpenters provide instruction. The video clip features quotes from students, administrators, Mayor Sayegh, and local council representative Tomasz Wyzga.
Notes from the Field
Things we learn from SC members, #1 - how to be a pile driving alpha dog: You've got to hear the outgoing message on the office phone lines at Parker Marine Contracting in Charleston, SC; it qualifies Kent Parker as THE alpha dog. Call 843-853-7615 and listen yourself, you won't be disappointed!
Things we learn from SC members, #2 - how to disguise your bromance on social media: If you're a contractor who has a good relationship with a geotechnical engineer, give a shout-out during National Engineers Week. You'll convey your adoration while supporting his industry. 😉
A circular firing squad around the company co-owner is not typical formation for a geotechnical team, but the staff at Premier Geotech and Testing did this. It played laser tag during a company retreat with the goal to "accurize their focus" for 2023. As it turned out, all laser-shooters accurized on Mike Juneau.
When I was young, I used to eat ketchup sandwiches (just Google it) - McCarthy's team in Kansas City was draped in red and gold when it attended the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory parade.
It's March Madness time will your team be dancing? GROUP Contractors extracts dual interpretation from a quote by the late, great John Wooden, who coached his UCLA Bruins basketball teams to TEN NCAA National Championships. "Flexibility is the key to stability," said the coach; the Baton Rouge contractor borrowed the quote to caption a social media photo of a sheet piling job it completed.

And you've finished another installment of 'A Pile of News,' thanks for reading. We wanted to include a few more comments concerning the 2023 Annual Conference that completed in February. First, many thanks to Mark Weisz, one of six volunteer leaders who comprised the Past Presidents panel for the Closing Keynote at the event. During his comments, he singled out this publication as a 'must read' for him. Paraphrasing, he said he "loves to read A Pile of News!" We are humbled by this endorsement.
This leading West Coast contractor and Past President of PDCA clearly pays attention to what we publish, do you send us your company news? Do you purchase ad space? Maybe you should! Inclusion in this publication is FREE to PDCA members and open to a limited number of advertisers. Contact our partner Lester Publications to discuss ad sales, but send us your news tips to matt@piledrivers.org. Yes, we get a lot from your social media, but send the big items to make sure we don't miss those. Not a PDCA member? Well, you can JOIN TODAY and we promise you will get a shout-out in the Top of the Pile for the April newsletter when we thank all Q1-2023 New Members.
Finally, we hope you enjoyed the several photo collections we shared at the beginning. We want to give photo credit to Mark Skalny who has been a regular photographer at PDCA and other industry events for several years. We appreciate his quick work to make sure that you can see what happened...or what you missed. Please join us next time!
Copyright © 2023 Pile Driving Contractors Association, All rights reserved.
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Posted in A Pile of News PDCA Monthly e-newsletter.

Roberts Fills BOD Vacancy Following Langan's Departure; Chapter Updates

(L-R) Bruce Langan, Brad Roberts

The PDCA 2023 Board of Directors has a new member; effective February 6, 2023, Bradford Roberts has filled the vacancy that was created when Bruce Langan stepped away, after serving in Association leadership for a term of two years. The Board met during the 2023 Annual Conference that took place in early February, among the business items on the agenda was the ratification of this change.

"As a geotechnical engineer serving the northeastern region of the U.S. for more than three decades, my firm has been active in PDCA for several years," said Roberts. "We have experienced unique, quality programming through conferences, technical seminars, and webinars in recent years. When I was presented the opportunity to serve on the leadership team at PDCA, I promptly accepted the challenge. Moving forward, I expect to play a role in shaping the industry and advancing the driven pile in the marketplace." 

PDCA President Brian Heck (pictured) presented Bruce Langan with a customary plaque denoting his important service to the industry; the exchange took place during one of the recognition programs at the 2023 Annual Conference. Said Bruce, of his longtime affiliation with PDCA, "It has been an honor to serve pile drivers as a member of the PDCA Board of Directors; I thank all the members who elected me to a term in leadership. Pile driving is a critical component of my career in deep foundations equipment sales and rental and I will continue to enthusiastically support PDCA and promote the driven pile."

Frank Peters, Executive Director of PDCA, extolled both gentlemen involved in the leadership change. "Look, all Board Members, standing committee members, and Chapter leadership teams are volunteers who have very important day jobs. PDCA is extraordinarily fortunate to have such quality individuals volunteering to contribute their time and expertise toward industry advancement. Bruce has been a pleasure to work with during his time on the Board and I humbly thank him for his efforts. Meantime, my sincerest appreciation to Brad for answering the call; he will bring a high level of professionalism and expertise to the PDCA leadership." 

PDCA Chapter Leadership Teams Announce Position Changes


David Price

Erich Kremer

Alex Ryberg

Matthew Eastburn

The PDCA Northeast Chapter has experienced some changes at the helm in recent months. First, David Price has moved into the Presidency, relieving Tim Fogerty who will retain involvement in leadership as Vice President. Erich Kremer rejoins the team as the Chapter Representative to the National Board, Alex Ryberg comes on board as a Advertising/Promotions Representative, and Matthew Eastburn is the new Chapter Secretary.

To see the full leadership team at the PDCA Northeast Chapter, CLICK HERE.

Pete Adams

Ric Anderson

Jim Challenger

Further down the eastern seaboard, the PDCA South Carolina Chapter also has new faces on the leadership team. Pete Adams takes on dual roles, one as Chapter Vice President and the other as Chapter Representative to the National Board. Then, Ric Anderson and Jim Challenger both agreed to fill vacant At-Large Board Member seats. 

For a listing of the full team in South Carolina Chapter leadership, CLICK HERE.

Previously, we announced changes to the leadership teams for the Gulf Coast Chapter and the Texas Chapter.

South Carolina Chapter Holds Dinner Meeting, Hears Talk on Timber Piling

Several staff from Koppers were on hand to support their colleague Jim Healey (third from left) who delivered a presentation on Timber Piling to the PDCA South Carolina Chapter for their first, quarterly dinner meeting of 2023. Mr. Healey's talk ranged from coatings, to pile longevity, to termites, to treatments and more; he opened the floor for audience questions, following his prepared remarks.

The evening began with a social hour and a subsequent business report to the membership assembled at the Town & Country Inn and Suites in Charleston, SC, from President John King. Attendees also enjoyed an expansive buffet of southern cookin' as they heard the presentation on timber, which qualified for a one-hour, engineering PDH.

The PDCA South Carolina Chapter thanks sponsors Koppers, Nucor Skyline, Junttan, ICE-International Costruction Equipment, Palmetto Pile Driving, Inc., and Van-Smith Concrete for making the quarterly event possible.


Posted in Chapter News.

Past Presidents Appear on Conference Panel; Event Simulcast as Feb. Webinar

Attendees of the 2023 Annual Conference were treated to an oral history as told by six Past Presidents of PDCA who led the organization during unique times over the past quarter century. Billed as the Closing Keynote Session, the PDCA Past President Panel was sponsored by PDCA publications partner Lester and was simulcast via video conference to both the live and a remote audience as the February installment of the Value Driven Webinar Series.

Panelists for the one-hour event were John King (2009), Buck Darling (2011), Mark Weisz (2007), and Dave Chapman (2011 and 2017). Also serving on the panel were Wayne Waters (2004) and Jason Moore (2020) who appeared remotely. The group fielded a variety of questions that ranged from evolving market conditions, the early days of PDCA, the future of the industry, the impact of COVID on an association, and unique challenges for pile driver in different North American regions, to name a few of the subjects discussed. Executive Director Frank Peters introduced the program to the live and virtual audience and current PDCA President Brian Heck moderated the panel. The panelists also made time for a few audience questions.


2022 Project of the Year Award Winners Recognized in San Diego

The 2022 PDCA Project of the Year Awards lunch took place in front of attendees of the 2023 Annual Conference on February 9th. Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company, a perennial award winner, sponsored the event. See photos of project teams, below:

GeoStructures, Inc. won the Land: Less Than $1M category for Matson Mill Multi-Family Condominium

Cajun Industries, LLC won Land: $1M-$5M category for Entergy LA-Gibson Substation Flood Mitigation Project

Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Co. won Land: Greater Than $5M category for
Deep Foundation for the Salt Lake City International Airport Redevelopment Program - Phase 2

Russell Marine, LLC won Marine: Greater Than $5M category for Enbridge Berth 2A Phase 3 Modifications

Richard Goettle, Inc. won Earth Retention: Greater Than $5M category for ALCOSAN North End Expansion

PND Engineers, Inc. won Associate/Engineering Affiliate Category for Taiheiyo Cement Marine Facilities

Congratulations 2022 winners! Entries are NOW OPEN for the 2023 Project of the Year Awards Program.

PDCA Golf Teams Meet Torrey Pines

The winning foursome, consisting of (L-R): Joe Blair, Rich Anderson, Mark Rice, Dermot Fallon. Braggin' rights valid for one year!


SPOTTED: Opening Reception for Conference at Mission Bay Resort

Conference Gives Attendees Two Chances at Many Elective Sessions

Jennifer Anderson delivers elective course, 'Effective Communications for Leaders,' after presenting opening keynote address, also on business communications.

Deborah Gardner presents elective session entitled 'Women Reshaping the Construction Industry - Winning Big and Living Fearlessly'

Takefumi Takuma, Shinya Kubo of Giken America Corp. give repeating, technical talk: Deepening Existing Berth for Larger Vessels with Pressed-In Pipe Piles Installed Through Ripraps.

Johnna Emanuel, PE of GeoStructures presents two installments of elective course, Ductile Iron Piles in NYC - Small Sites in the Big Apple!

Love Veronneau, CEO of Stabilforce Technologies, twice delivers elective session entitled Foundation Stabilization Innovation

Rian Johnson, P.E., S.E., P.Eng., and VP at PND Engineers, Inc. shares insight on Project of the Year Award-Winning Taiheiyo Cement Marine Facilities: Open Cell Sheet Pile System

Elective sessions attendees had significant opportunity to interact with subject matter experts who delivered business and technical presentations.

Conference Presentations Bring Topics Important to Pile Drivers

Following breakfast in the Exhibit Hall, the PDCA 2023 Annual Conference formally opened at 8:15 AM on February 8th; Executive Director Frank Peters and President Brian Heck coordinated the opening ceremony and provided the capacity audience with an association update. Following their remarks, Opening Keynote speaker Jennifer Anderson of Moving Forward Solutions, Inc. delivered a one-hour presentation. 

For the Opening Keynote, Ms. Anderson presents 'Communication for Today & For Tomorrow,' offering important perspectives on modern business communication

Silas Nichols, P.E., a principal geotechnical engineer with the Federal Highway Administration, delivers the technical talk, 'Estimating Bearing Resistance in Driven Piles'

Project Manager Darren Riddle of Foundation Constructors won a Project of the Year Award in 2022 for Sierra Point Phase 2 and 3; he shares insight into the California job with Conference attendees.

Likewise, Stewart Willis of Pacific Pile & Marine and Steve Spencer, P.E. of GeoEngineers detail their work on their award-winning project,
Port of Alaska Modernization - Petroleum & Cement Terminal. (Chris Lundfelt of PPM was on this job as well.)

The educational portions of the 2023 Conference concluded on the morning of February 9th; Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., delivered the important topic of Engineering Ethics, sponsored by Boh Bros. Construction Company, LLC. Then, Dr. Catherine Aimone-Martin appeared on a previously recorded video on which she presented Vibration & Pile Driving.

SPOTTED: Cocktail Reception in Conference Exhibit Hall



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