Ohio Representative Marlene Anielski; Solon, Ohio, mayor Susan Drucker; Solon councilman Ed Kraus; economic development manager Peggy Weil Dorfman; several members of the Solon tax incentive review council; and Solon chamber of commerce president Nancy Traum recently visited the new Solon headquarters of Pile Dynamics Inc. (PDI).

PDI and its sister company, GRL Engineers Inc., moved to their new 41,000-square-foot headquarters after a quarter century in a much smaller space. The company retrofitted a 1970s structure, and turned it into a remarkably airy and bright space for its almost 60 employees.

The visitors listened to presentations by Frank Rausche and Garland Likins, founders of the two companies. They recalled how Pile Dynamics went from a 1960s research project at the Case Institute of Technology to a manufacturer of electronic instruments that is an important world player in the field of quality assurance and quality control for deep building foundations. Its sister company, GRL Engineers, started providing foundation testing services in northeast-Ohio projects such as the Valley View bridge, and now not only serves the entire United States through eight regional offices, but frequently is tapped for special deep foundation testing projects around the world.

Alan Burge, principal of Alan R. Burge Architecture, discussed how he incorporated elements related to the activities of the companies in the design features of the building: The columns in front of the structure mimic foundation piles reaching rock layers at different depths; patterns on the decorative concrete floors replicate wave patterns (the testing instruments built by Pile Dynamics use wave propagation theory to deliver answers about foundation capacity and quality). The wave theme also is seen on the various pieces of artwork that decorate the space.

Historic preservation specialist and LEED project administrator, Yolita Rausche, described the multiple considerations that went into minimizing construction waste and maximizing the potential of the building, while aiming to make it healthy and energy efficient. LEED certification is pending.