Classroom, Jobsite Instruction Offered 27 PDH Max at Driven Pile Academy

Safety First! On April 5-7, the 85 students enrolled in The Driven Pile Academy taking place at the Patriot Construction & Industrial yard in Duson, LA embarked on three days of rigorous and comprehensive training in pile driving. Job site and equipment safety briefings preceded every segment of the instructional event. "From a safety perspective, [the Academy] really did an outstanding job of not only teaching but showing via example how to run an outstanding program," said Chris Normand, VP at Cajun Industries and Chairman of the PDCA Safety & Environmental Committee.

Following safety briefings, attendees started bright and early on the April 5th with a full day of classroom presentations on various industry components. They heard detailed instruction covering topics ranging from soil investigations, hammer sizing, rigging, working platforms, cushions, splicing, load testing and cost savings with driven piles, to name a few. "It was an honor to receive so much onsite feedback during the course of the week; people were extremely positive, particularly in that so many touted the event's significant worth to the pile driving industry. It's not too often one can attend a singular construction training event and obtain so many professional development hours," noted Diane Fischer of GRL Engineers.

The outdoor activity took place the two remaining days and gave attendees some of the most unique and compelling, hands-on training available. They stood in observation of piling equipment installation and removal of piling materials in and out of the stiff Louisiana clay, while rotating through seven unique and professionally staffed stations demonstrating different equipment and techniques. The materials shown were steel sheeting, H-beam piers and PC/PS concrete piles. Equipment demonstrations included HIH, diesel, dedicated rigs (impact and vibratory), side-grip, vibratory (both RF and Normal Frequency). Instruction on pile driving support services were available, too. Students reviewed and discussed with instructors, jobsite geotechnical testing results; then learned more about the importance of equipment maintenance, pile cushion utilization, correct rigging and the value of certified and experienced crane operation. 
This women-led team of equipment experts and tenured industry support services personnel volunteered significant time over the past 8-months to develop this well executed inaugural event. Attendees could earn up to 28 PDH - an unusual number to be available at one event - upon thorough completion of both indoor and outdoor instruction. "Diane Fischer and I believe this academy is critical to the evolution and safety training for the driven pile industry," remarked Pollyanna Cunningham of ICE-International Construction Equipment, Inc., one of two women who led organization for the Academy. She continued; "If you want an industry to grow and flourish, you must educate in both the classroom and in the field."

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