Case Studies

Pacific Pile & Marine LP

Completing a Complex Pacific Coast Marine Construction

Pacific Pile & Marine LP (PPM) was established in 2008 by a veteran group of marine construction professionals sharing a vision: to provide exceptional service in underserviced markets, including complex, seasonal projects located in remote and limited access areas.

“We like to say we specialize in D-T-N-I [difficult-to-near-impossible] construction,” says Wil Clark, president and cofounder of PPM. “We’re no longer in the construction business; we’re in the solutions business.”

PPM has grown significantly over the last five years, restructuring its team and expanding its service fleet to target the oil and gas industry. PPM is also pursuing design-build projects as a core business strategy, rather than a component of service offerings. The growing business offers a wide range of marine construction, including salvage, extraction, heavy lift and drilling services to clients along the West Coast, from California up to Alaska and into Montana.

Clients in both the United States and Canada source PPM for pile driving, dredging, cofferdams, shoring, pile sockets, large diameter caisson drilling, bridge and pier construction, and foundation projects. In addition, PPM provides a series of support services, such as access trestles, temporary works and barge and crane support.

PPM foresees a bright future. “Succession is the hardest part in building a business,” says Clark. “So we phased it starting at the end. One of our earlier discussions was, ‘What is going to happen when we retire?’ There’s no guarantee someone in the family will take it over. If you sell it, what are you selling? Iron? Used equipment? We made the decision to get people involved, offering shares to our employees. By making it employee -owned, we brought a sense of ownership and a level of commitment that’s hard to come by and it has propelled our organization forward during a period of economic downturn not seen by this industry in the last 50 years.”

Passion with a Purpose

Clark and his team at PPM are incredibly passionate about the industry. “We all really like what we do,” he explains. “Our goal has never been to get big. Our goal has been to offer specialty contracting services and develop a reputation for delivering difficult and unique projects clients are proud to be a part of, and our work is paying off.”

PPM is built upon three important principles: safety, quality and innovation. According to Clark, PPM’s core values allow the team to remain committed to delivering exceptional results as safely and efficiently as possible.

With decades of experience amongst the company’s team, PPM is able to deliver turnkey solutions. The business has the right resources to work with customers to arrive at a final product that is functional, durable and safe.

Respect and open communication are core values at PPM. According to Clark, the team firmly believes the successful outcome of project is related to the group’s ability to effectively communicate. “Everyone from management to employees to the client is given an equal opportunity to add value to the project and is respected for their contributions,” says Clark.

The level of respect PPM’s management team has established inside the organization, as well as the company’s positive relationships developed outside the firm has allowed PPM to provide unique construction solutions. In addition, the company has established a broad geographic footprint and skill set to assist clients with preconstruction services.

One of the team’s recent successes was the Carl E. Moses Boat Harbor in Unalaska, Ala. The Unalaska project was challenging, as near-arctic waters and high winds constricted operations, in addition to the design being altered during construction to overcome existing site conditions. In the end, the PPM team successfully completed the project, delivering the city of Unalaska’s safe harbor for up to 60 boats ranging from small, recreational crafts to commercial vessels more than 100 feet in length.

Continued Growth

Matchless success on projects such as the Carl E. Moses Boat Harbor allows PPM to enjoy continued growth, while also expanding into new markets. “Within the next few years, we want to see more growth into Canada,” says Clark. “We see steady growth and new area offices; Prince Rupert is currently being explored. We’re happy with our Anchorage office, and want to get back down to California.” As the team grows geographically, Clark notes the company is making headway in new industries, as well. “Mineral extraction in Asia has increased the demand for it in Canada,” he notes.

The industry comes with plenty of challenges, however, but Clark and the PPM are able to compete across a number of markets for highly competitive opportunities. One major advantage for PPM is the team’s distinct level of experience and knowledge. “I was raised in a construction family,” explains Clark. “My father worked for a tunnel contractor, and I did similar work. When I finished college, I wanted to go into an industry where I could learn and be valued.”

Similar experiences are shared throughout the management group and key employees preparing the organization for a wide range of conditions and scopes of work. “We see 35-foot tides in Alaska,” explains Clark. “Nature is often our biggest challenge. We focus on problem-solving with rough conditions or if we have nonworking drills.”

Despite the difficulties of PPM’s line of work, the management team agrees the most important component to PPM is building and maintaining relationships. “Our No. 1 concern is the health and well-being of our workforce,” explains Clark. “Other than that, our greatest measure of success is to stay humble. That’s the mark of a good company. Our goal is to stay hungry, constantly renew and recreate ourselves with new technology and continued education.”

The team at PPM continues to capitalize on an established reputation for safety and efficiency. The team works diligently to work hand in hand with clients, ensuring the project serves a customer needs from start to finish.

PPM has delivered timely, turnkey solutions all over the Pacific Northwest. Creative engineering combined with experience, expertise and common sense are why clients have come to rely on the team’s ability to turn ideas into reality. Under the current leadership, Pacific Pile & Marine LP continues to grow as a clear leader in the marine contractor industry.

Published on: May 15, 2013

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