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
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.