Pacific Pile & Marine

Construction industry professionals understand that the market carries a diverse set of challenges that frequently are beyond the control of the contractor. For example, changing market conditions in 2007 resulted in a significant number of jobs being eliminated through 2010. As public funding started drying up, capital projects were deferred and market sectors became crowded. It was during this period that contractors such as Pacific Pile & Marine (PPM) had to adjust to an increasingly unpredictable marketplace. 

The Seattle-based heavy civil and marine contractor opened in 2008 at a time when the construction market was heading into a state of decline. Despite the economic downturn, PPM continued to expand its portfolio of services and grow its presence in core markets throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, Montana and Canada. 

Perhaps the most vital factor leading to PPM’s success was its team. “Though a good deal of our success can be attributed to some key strategic decisions made early in our history, including a targeted equipment fleet, our greatest resource is our people,” says Kustaa Mansfield, marketing and business development manager. “The experience and skill these people bring to our team is huge.” While not an uncommon claim in the construction industry, it seems particularly true for PPM.

The company specializes in complex, seasonal construction involving driven and drilled foundations and marine construction, which are both high-risk areas within an already risky industry, Mansfield says. Due to the nature of the work, many of these projects are performed in remote or unforgiving environments with severe conditions including high winds, tidal changes and inclement weather. Despite this, PPM maintains an exceptional safety record, Mansfield notes. Having an extraordinary safety record requires not only a seasoned group of industry professionals but also a strong leadership team that understands the numerous challenges presented by these demanding projects, Mansfield says. Indeed, the company was founded by a group of industry professionals who possessed nearly 100 years of collective experience, giving them great insight into evaluating risk.

One of the first projects PPM undertook involved a pile-supported dock and contaminated dredging. Projects since that time have involved various driven and drilled pile foundations; marine structures including breakwaters, sheet pile shoring, cofferdams, pier rehabilitation and construction; production and environmental dredging; bridge construction; demolition; upland remediation; mooring dolphins; heavy lift and emergency response. 

North to Alaska

Since the company’s inception, Alaska has represented an important market for PPM. In fact, many key team members have worked in Alaska for more than a decade. As local economies experienced a slowdown, Alaska maintained a pipeline of projects partially funded by the oil and gas sector. PPM’s size and fleet of equipment allowed the company to react quickly to market changes. PPM shifted a significant portion of its focus to southern Alaska and the Aleutians. The company soon identified an opportunity to expand its services into the oil and gas support sector including emergency salvage and general heavy lift services. In 2012, PPM added a barge-mounted 4600 Series 3 Ringer with 600-ton lifting capabilities to its fleet. “Expanding our support capabilities in the energy sector is a specific part of what we’re doing,” Mansfield says. 

PPM is keeping a keen eye on the future of the natural gas market, Mansfield says. To meet the demand, PPM commissioned a 15,000-ton capacity barge capable of supporting a 1,200-capacity stiff-leg arrangement or trans-lift crane system to assist with demolition and decommissioning. 

Working On the Waterfront

A rebounding economy ultimately allowed PPM to shift resources back to Washington. The company successfully secured major opportunities along the Seattle and Mukilteo waterfronts including a portion of the State Route 520 floating bridge, one of the world’s longest, Mansfield says. Additionally, PPM recently completed the Pier 54 piling and apron replacement for Ivar’s flagship seafood restaurant. The work involved extensive underdock repairs and concrete work. The remodel was the biggest in Ivar’s 77-year storied history, restoring the pier, which opened in 1901.

PPM also was involved in various aspects of marine construction for the Elliott Bay Seawall Replacement Project, which was designed to protect critical infrastructure and serve as a pivotal step toward transforming Seattle’s future waterfront, Mansfield says. 

Ferry Work

The Washington State Ferry (WSF) system represents a critical component of Washington’s transportation and serves as the gateway to major hubs, such as Seattle. PPM has a successful history working with the WSF, and is contracted for two significant projects for the region: the Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock and the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal Phase 1 Tank Farm demolition and dredging. The Seattle Multimodal Terminal is the WSF’s largest. PPM pursued the project to expand and improve the aging, seismically deficient facility at Colman Dock. PPM and a joint-venture partner were awarded the GCCM delivery; WSF’s first. 

The company also is working on the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry route, part of State Route 525, the major transportation corridor connecting Whidbey Island to Seattle-Everett. The terminal has not had significant improvements since the early 1980s. The proposed facility will be relocated to the western portion of the tank farm site that is being demolished, dredged and removed by PPM, eliminating thousands of tons of toxic, creosote-treated debris from Puget Sound, Mansfield explains.

PPM is working on the West Approach Bride North of State Road 520 from Montlake to Evergreen Point Bridge where the company installed a 1.3- mile-long pile-supported trestle, large diameter drilled caissons and provided hook support.

In Alaska, meanwhile, PPM is nearing completion of the Pier III Replacement project in Kodiak – one of the main cargo piers in the city – with a 420-foot-long pile-supported dock. Nearly all freight and goods that arrive in Kodiak are landed and transported across the dock. The current pile-supported structure was built in 1972, and despite improvements added in the 1980s, the pier has limited load capacity and experiences corrosion and wear requiring extensive maintenance to keep it operational, Mansfield says. 

Work will begin a short distance away at the Kodiak Ferry Terminal for the Alaska Department of Transportation.

Think Safety

PPM makes safety its chief priority. Indeed, it is one of the company’s core values. “The safety of our crews and work sites are our top priority,” Mansfield says. “Getting everyone home safely every day is job number one. It’s PPM’s commitment to safety and strong attitude toward performance that makes them attractive as a contractor. Clients know they can rely on us to get it done and get it done safely.” 

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