DeWitt Construction Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Caitlin Mugford
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Wayne DeWitt established DeWitt Construction Inc. (DCI) in 1979, using his experience as a general manager for another construction company to move forward on his own. DCI is a full-service deep foundation contractor specializing in drilling and pile driving. Wayne’s son, Ty DeWitt, started working with him in 1977, two years before the family business took off. Today, Ty serves as the company’s president, having taken over for his dad in 1997.
Ty oversees a team of 17 full-time employees, as well as a fluctuating crew of union workers. The company operates from a single location in Vancouver, Washington, serving primarily Washington and Oregon. The team travels beyond the Pacific Northwest occasionally for clients, most often to Idaho and Montana. Clients throughout DCI’s service area have come to rely on the crew for their expertise, performance and commitment to value.
“Pile driving is our niche, but what really sets this business apart is our ability to value-engineer projects,” Ty says. “We work with our clients on designs to help them get more out of our work and improve the efficiency and final quality of a project.”
While DCI’s work generally consists of competitive bid projects, repeat business has been a driving factor behind the company’s success.
Ty and his team perform a range of drilling and pile driving techniques using a range of specified materials to custom-fit each application. The business offers pipe pile, auger-cast pile and shoring services, including the company’s patented driven-grout pile.
Driven-gout pile offers remarkable efficiency. This generally less expensive option produces no spoils, reducing cleanup time. The technique competes with friction pile, as well as pile that get there capacity from end bearing and being made of concrete, driven-grout is less vulnerable to corrosion.
The crew has put these skills to work on a number of diverse foundation projects over the years. Years ago, the business completed a contract for the new Seahawks Stadium. “We drove approximately 1,700 steel pipe piles, with the first 500 on the south side of the existing King Dome before it was imploded. It was a larger project and we had a portable welding table onsite. Only a few contractors have that, so we were able to splice pile into 110-foot lengths on-site before driving them.”
One of the more challenging projects for the crew was work at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington. Ty’s team put in more than 700 auger cast pile inside an existing building.
“We only had about 50 feet of overhead, which is pretty low,” he recalls. “We were installing auger-cast piling 70 feet in the ground, so we had to splice the auger, drill and splice as we went down. This was a challenging project. We had two rigs in there doing that, with night crews, as well. It is not very common to go in with cranes and put in piling indoors, but we have done it in the past.”
On top of that, the plant was fully operational while Ty’s crews were at work, requiring a higher level of professionalism than what many standard foundation jobs demand. Despite a few hiccups, the team was able to complete the project on time with minimum disruption for Boeing’s operations.
The company also recently completed a large project for Daimler Motor Company on a large plant addition. “We were driving 130-foot pipe pile, working with general contractor Hoffman Construction,” Ty details.
The project wrapped in November 2014 and again required Ty’s team to operate efficiently in order to reduce disruption to the plant’s operations. Shortly after project completion, Daimler sent a letter to the general contractor, including a word of thanks for DCI’s efforts. The client was impressed with Ty’s crew’s ability to complete piling ahead of schedule, while creating minimal disruption to employees.
Ty is proud to add that his son, Chase DeWitt, took the lead on the Daimler project. Furthermore, Ty has two more family members involved with the business, including his sister, Shelly Speyer, who is a co-owner and office manager, as well as her son, Garrett Speyer. Ty hopes that when he and his sister are ready to retire, their sons can take over the business and continue the family legacy.
When the time comes, the third generation will have a strong foundation of leadership. Learning from Ty, Shelly and their father Wayne, Chase and Garrett have been immersed in an atmosphere of quality workmanship and integrity their entire lives. While Ty is sure that the upcoming management will have financial success, he and his sister also setting them up for personal success.
“I like coming to work here every day,” Ty explains. “A lot of the people we work with have been with us for more than a decade, some as long as 30 years. Our monetary success is important, but we also know that we can build relationships better because we have a dedicated team. I trust my crews to work efficiently and honorably.”
As the market continues to improve, the Dewitt Construction Inc. team will continue to build on these relationships, providing reliable, reputable deep foundation work throughout the Pacific Northwest.
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