More than half a century of site investigation and soil instrumentation from this Medford, Mass.-based drilling company.

Arthur and Steve DeSimone in the yard of Carr-Dee Corp.

Content not to mess with a good thing, Carr-Dee Corp. in Medford, Mass., has been going about its drilling business - serving the same market with the same professionalism - just like it did when it first started. Steve DeSimone, Carr-Dee's general manager, says, “We do geotechnical, environmental drilling - anything to do with subsurface investigation or soil instrumentation. Our clients, for the most part, are geotechnical engineers, but we do some residential work for architect and structural engineer customers.”

DeSimone's father, Arthur, the company's president, provides a little history: “In the beginning, we had four rigs - hand rigs, no machines. After a couple years, we started using Jeeps, with tail-end rigs with a cat head in the back; we had four of those. Then we went into Jeep pick-up trucks; we had four of them, also. As the years went by, we decided to get into the more elaborate machines with hydraulics, and that's what we've been doing ever since.”

Starting up the diesel motor.

These Days

Bringing us up-to-date, DeSimone notes, “Today, we're running six truck-rigs, three track-rigs for off-road duties, a Geoprobe rig, four skid rigs and two portable rigs,” adding, “We do all of our maintenance in-house.”

Carr-Dee currently boasts 10 employees, including head driller Joe DeSimone. The company is not looking to hire any more help right now, and that has to be of some relief. “It is very hard finding drillers,” DeSimone explains. “We have to train our own. We're a union shop, so if we need someone, we call the union hall and tell them we're looking for a good man. We belong to a tunnel workers union; most of the time, they don't have any drillers. So if we can get somebody who's good, we'll keep him and train him to eventually become a driller.”

Brothers at work: Gerald and Neil Smith start with the boring.

Market Factors

Asked about some of the better opportunities in his market, DeSimone tells us, “We've been doing a lot of hospital work - they're the ones with money putting up all the big buildings. We just finished a good-sized project at Mass. General Hospital. And the colleges also - they're always building; we just did a couple of big projects at Simmons College. We used to do a lot of work for Mass. Highway - we had an open-ended contract - but we haven't done any of that in the past five or six years. We're pretty much maintaining what we do now. It's not like we'll be getting into the water well end or anything; we'll stick with the geotechnical and environmental work.”

As far as the geography of Carr-Dee's market, DeSimone says, “We cover all of New England.”

Regarding competition in his market area, DeSimone reports, “There are a lot of firms that have started up within the past 10 years that have one or two rigs. Years ago, there was hardly anybody else around. I think we're the only union drilling contractor around here, so naturally, the other guys can go for less money than we can.” He estimates that approximately 60 percent of Carr-Dee Corp.'s projects are union jobs. “I think it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.”

Opening up the split-spoon to expose the soil sample that will go to the engineers.

Work Load

“Right now, we're scheduled out about two weeks, and that's fairly typical,” he notes.

As for seasonal fluctuations and whether things slow down in the winter months, DeSimone explains, “Actually, sometimes winter is our busiest season.” Looking ahead, he prognosticates, “2007 should be much the same as 2006 - and that's a good thing; 2006 was a pretty good year and we're expecting things to remain consistent. Talking to some of the engineers we deal with, there seems to be a lot of projects that are in the fire, so that's promising and we're looking forward to it.”

No doubt Carr-Dee also can look forward to continuing its tradition of providing its engineer, architect and developer customers with the below-surface intelligence they need to make confident decisions.