Recapping 2023 Strategic Planning: News Reports, Rivals, and Ric Flair

(L-R) PDCA Northeast Chapter President, national Board Director David Price, PDCA Past-President Larry Moore sport rival college football teams

The PDCA Board of Directors consists of members who are contractors, associates, and engineering affiliates from all around the continental U.S., and it's not uncommon that sometimes they compete against one another in pursuit of a driven pile job. But in the spirit of strengthening a singular voice for the pile driving community, part of the Pile Driving Contractors Association vision, the Board members come together several times each year to provide industry leadership for the hundreds of Members who participate in PDCA from four continents around the world. The first, formal meeting of the PDCA Board of Directors took place in January.

The 2023 Strategic Planning Meeting was an opportunity for Board Members to gather and discuss a variety of issues and initiatives that impact the advancement of the pile driving industry. Previously, we posted a brief summary of the business conducted during 2023 Strategic Planning, but there were a couple additional news reports from the event that you should know:

Top News Reports:

Brian Heck

Brad Roberts

Harold Baur, III
  • Brian Heck becomes the first person in 20 years to serve consecutive, one-year terms as PDCA President. The VP of Richard Goettle, Inc. in Cincinnati presided over all association business over the course of the two-day event, as well as hosted participants for dinner. PDCA members re-elected Brian to the helm in November 2022.
  • Brad Roberts has been appointed to serve as a Board Alternate for the purpose of ensuring long-term continuity in the organization. No sitting members from 2022 termed-out or voluntarily stepped away. The senior principal from GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. is based in Boston and has been a PDCA Engineering Affiliate member for several years. Leadership regards Brad as a welcome addition to the team.
  • Harold Baur, III volunteered his service to fill the vacant chairmanship for the PDCA Chapters Committee, something promptly approved by the full Board. The newly-appointed VP of Piling and Marine Construction (congratulations!!!)  at New Orleans-based Boh Bros., Inc. has begun coordinating with leadership in the five PDCA Chapters to facilitate regular communication and idea-sharing among the groups.

Rivals Epitomize Spirit of PDCA Participation:

As noted above, there are times when pile driving contractor members who are business competitors, encounter each other as fellow PDCA members during industry events, both at the Chapter and national levels. PDCA benefits most when field rivals can come together behind a similar, important objective such as advancement of the driven pile. While we don't know of any business rivalries that may or may not exist between PDCA Past-President Larry Moore and PDCA Northeast Chapter President and national Director David Price, we found it noteworthy that they attended the final day of 2023 Strategic Planning advertising their opposing, favorite teams which are part of a longtime college football rivalry. (Trophy photo credit: David Price.)

Price, the CEO at Linde-Griffith Construction Company in New Jersey, is a former offensive lineman on 1980's football teams for the University of Delaware Blue Hens. He proudly displayed his backpack featuring the UD mascot. Meantime, GeoStructures, Inc. CEO Moore has a daughter and son currently pursuing undergraduate degrees from Villanova University. He circulated around the meeting and ancillary events sporting a stylish, 1/4-zip pullover with the official Villanova logo. For those who may not follow Colonial Athletic Association, FCS football, Delaware vs. Villanova is an age-old rivalry, pitting the two teams against each other for the last game of the season since 1895. Sports or business rivalries notwithstanding, Moore and Price are in full agreement that 'a driven a tested pile.'

We hadn't intended to stoke any tensions among football rivals, however both parties have volunteered to the author that the series record for this game firmly favors the blue team...we will leave it to your own resourcefulness to learn which one, if you choose to do so.
And Then There Was The Ric Flair Sighting:

(L-R) Pro wrestling legend Ric Flair stares down longtime fans Kevin Gourgues, Brandon Bicknell at the airport.

Most driven pile professionals, at one time or another, have heard reference to the pro wrestling move called the 'piledriver.' Well, at the conclusion of 2023 Strategic Planning, the piling pros and the WWE collided. The site, Tampa International Airport.

As we understand it, both PDCA Past-President Kevin Gourgues and PDCA Texas Chapter President Brandon Bicknell finished the PDCA event and headed for the nearby airport to return to their respective homes via Houston Intercontinental Airport. Brandon boarded their plane and texted Kevin, who was waiting to board, that he had spotted pro wrestling star Ric Flair. Once Kevin boarded the plane, he saw Ric in the first row of seats. Fast forward, the plane arrived in Houston and the passengers deboarded. Kevin again spotted the WWE icon walking near a Ray Ban store; he was quick on the draw (like a good hunter) and snapped a photo from a distance of Flair, who many consider the 'greatest wrestler of all time.' 

Imagine the excitement from Brandon of Russell Marine LLC and Kevin of Patriot Construction & Industrial LLC, who are self-described fans of Flair, when the legend ended up on their same flight to Houston! We aren't sure if it was because the two company presidents were starstruck and speechless, but neither produced an account of small talk with him, his autograph on anything or even a selfie on their phone cameras. However, the historical airline records will reflect that they shared a memorable flight with The Black Scorpion...and neither of them was subjected to a piledriver!

The encounter in Kevin's own words, as it appears on his Social Media: "Jet flyin, styling, Rolex wearing, diamond ring wearing, kiss stealing, wheelin and dealing son of a gun was sitting in row one 1st class on my flight today. And he was still having trouble holding "them alligators down". Wooooooooooo!!!!"

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