Mark Ziegenfuss is a third-generation driller and business leader with Ziegenfuss Drilling Inc. in Ringoes, New Jersey. He has more than 50 years of industry experience.

“My grandfather made a drilling rig for me when I was 10. So, that’s where it started and I just kept right on going,” he said. “It was pretty neat. It was an old-style cable tool drill. And he made it probably one-eighth scale.”  

Ziegenfuss Drilling is a family-owned business that dates back to the 30s. Specialties include caissons and pilings for bridges, piers, and buildings. The business also does tie backs, mini piles, shoring, surface casing for oil and gas wells, and industrial water wells.

Ziegenfuss Drilling serves clients around the globe and has evolved over the years. When Ziegenfuss’ grandfather started the business, water well drilling was its specialty. With each generation, capabilities have incrementally expanded to include drilling for hydraulic elevators, foundation work, and even mining work.

“Every day it’s something different. The conditions are different no matter where you go,” Ziegenfuss said. “That kind of keeps it interesting.”

Now in its fourth generation of leadership, the business is, for the first time, woman-owned. Ziegenfuss has passed the torch to his daughter, Kelly, who serves as president and owner.

The company history is rich with noteworthy projects and Ziegenfuss shared a few of them with us.

“The one that sticks out the most is the World Trade Center when it went down. We were the first ones to have a drill there and actually go there,” he said.

This episode covers:

  • Finding a drill rig versatile enough to handle the wide range of services Ziegenfuss Drilling offers.
  • Foundation work in the aftermath of the World Trade Center collapse.
  • A project on a gold mine in Canada, coming to drill one hole and staying six months.
  • Helping ConEd address a brown out in New York, working 24 hours per day, 10 days straight.
  • Supporting two layers of subway tunnels and the street above with 24-inch casing through boulders the size of pickup trucks.
  • Why a pilot license and airplane are two of the most important tools the business has.
  • Advice for the next generation of drillers.

Check out today’s episode to hear more. Watch the video here or listen to the audio version of our conversation at You can also find our show on Apple Podcasts. Search for Boring Conversations, then hit Follow.

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Contact Mark Ziegenfuss at