How SSC Underground positioned itself as a trenchless specialist

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“About each and every 10 decades we reinvent ourselves,” Marcia Veidmark, main govt officer and chairman of the board says of SSC Underground, now in its 53rd year.

Alongside the way, the Phoenix-dependent firm she and her partner Arvid Veidmark Jr. co-established in 1969 has transitioned from open up-minimize excavation to horizontal tedious to featuring a whole slate of trenchless expert services. 

Their son Arvid Veidmark III, who was not too long ago named president, puts the company’s perform in straightforward conditions: “You’ve received to like sweating.” 

SSC Underground at a construction site in ArizonaDevices Entire worldMaking a company

SSC (for Specialised Expert services Business) commenced out of the entrepreneurial inclinations of Arvid Jr.’s mom and dad, Lois and Arvid Veidmark Sr. The two experienced secured a U.S. West contract to set up telephone traces in Phoenix.

“It turned out that we liked working collectively and experienced the capabilities essential,” Marcia suggests. “We constructed the organization and just grew it all with God’s blessings, difficult get the job done and grit.The senior Veidmarks still left after four a long time to pursue one more organization. Over the a long time, Marcia and Arvid Jr. labored with all 3 of their sons in the business. Arvid Jr. retired in 2002 adopted by Aaron pursuing new prospects in 2011 and Abe accepting a place with TT Systems in 2021.  

For the first 20 decades, the couple concentrated on putting in utilities and web site advancement. But the level of competition in the open-lower market was intensive and the hunt was on for other prospects. The trenchless industry held attraction. A single purpose: due to the complexity and capital expense required, there were fewer companies to contend with.

SSC procured its initial horizontal unexciting equipment in 1989 with the couple’s son Arvid Veidmark III directing the hard work. 

“That was a significant final decision for us, a authentic turning position,” Marcia states. 

The business now has revenues of all over $9 million and employs all over 40 people today. It gives a full slate of trenchless products and services, such as vacuum excavation, hydro excavation, tunneling, utility potholing and underground consulting.

Much of this growth stems out of the company’s drive to “take a whole turnkey solution to a job,” Marcia suggests. 

To accomplish this, SSC started offering vacuum excavation/utility locating and underground consulting, which authorized it to come to be included in a undertaking upfront, heading off fewer-than-desirable conditions and transform orders further more in.

“We want to truly dial in and get a task correctly built so then we know anything about it,” says Arvid. “There are nevertheless heading to be unknowns, but we want to be in a place the place we’re organized.”

SSC commenced promoting their expanded expert services in a series of “lunch and learns,” with Arvid educating municipalities, engineering, and standard contracting corporations on the abilities and concerns of the trenchless technologies and vacuum excavation services that the organization presents.  

It will take patience equally to explain the intricacies of underground work and to conduct it, Arvid claims.

The get the job done calls for precision. We’re expected to hit a goal the sizing of a basketball hundreds of ft away, and you only get 1 likelihood to get it right” Arvid states. “We do not transfer speedy we get it accomplished appropriate. It’s not only acquired to be proper, it’s received to be 100-per cent guaranteed that you’re going to execute it no make any difference what you run into.”

That can incorporate occasions this kind of as the 42-inch boulder that SSC encountered in a 60-inch tunnel bore. “If it experienced rolled, it could have broken someone’s leg,” Arvid says. SSC crews carefully used hand breakers to get it out of the tunnel. 

Marcia Veidmark of SSC underground talks with a construction crew memberEquipment EnvironmentGetting to be SSC Underground

Beforehand regarded as Specialised Solutions Corporation, SSC Uninteresting and SSC World wide, the company turned SSC Underground in 2019, its 50th anniversary. 

It has grown together with Phoenix large drinking water/sewer infrastructure projects are its sweet spot. 

“It utilized to be a large offer to do a 12-inch bore for 100 feet,” Arvid claims. “Now every thing is 86 or 96 inches at 500 to 600 ft. There’s a lot of creative imagination that goes into what we do to get from Place A to Stage B.”

Michelle and Steve Walker spherical out SSC’s leadership crew. Michelle, a 24-yr-veteran of the business, serves as vice president of finance and administration, and Steve, manages the industry, fleet and homes for the corporation.  

In addition to her whole slate of tasks at SSC, Michelle also is a founding member of the Construction Marketplace Alliance for Suicide Prevention, serving as the organization’s earlier chairman and spokesperson, and supporting it grow into an business-vast initiative. 

“Our business has the greatest suicide price of any market,” Michelle suggests. “Five occasions as quite a few development workers are dying by suicide just about every 12 months than by security-relevant workplace fatalities. 

“As a organization that prides itself on caring for workers it appeared really incorrect to switch a blind eye to that,” she continues, “it just in good shape to create it into the caring tradition that we pleasure ourselves on having”

Translating SSC’s society into the company’s values and locating a way to use them every day guide the leadership team to build the “I AM SSC” slogan, which stands for their main values of Integrity, Attitude, Mutual Respect, Secure, Wise and Dedicated to Excellence.  Monthly “Values Awards” accompanied by hardhat stickers fortify the living out of these values by recognizing employees when they exemplify them in their everyday work.

Michelle also serves as the company’s inside security director, partnering with an external third occasion protection expert. 

SSC has a phenomenal basic safety application,” claims Brian Carroll, with SSC’s insurance coverage company LeBaron & Carroll Insurance. “Safety is a best-down affair at SSC. Most organizations communicate about security but the fellas in the field never stay it. SSC is different—safety issues to all,” he says.

“Someone can only be as harmless as they are mentally and emotionally geared up to be,” Michelle claims. “We try to use a holistic approach. There is a great deal more to it than finding your OSHA 10 card, your PPE and training.”

SSC Underground potholing crewDevices PlanetPrecision and treatment

“SSC’s massive fleet of trucks and significant equipment are managed with precision and care,” Carroll states. “They have fantastic fleet administration insurance policies and courses in position to make certain this.”

SSC’s machines fleet includes both trenchless and earthmoving equipment considering the fact that their bores need start and exit pits and spoils removing, together with an substantial fleet for their vacuum excavating operations: eight auger boring devices, six backhoes, six excavators, seven skid steers, nine air vacuum vehicles and two hydro excavation trucks. 

The firm has a pick list of machines makes, including American Augers, Barbco, TT Systems, VacMasters, TruVac and Caterpillar. “We’re paying out hundreds of thousands of bucks on iron and we’re 100-per cent dependent on it operating each working day,” Arvid states. 

With the temperature extremes in the Phoenix spot, this gear gets stretched, Arvid suggests: “You’ve bought to know what you have the pieces and assistance available to deal with it swiftly. If we know it works and it is verified, we’ll remain with it.”

The company buys equally new and employed, depending on the software, Steve Walker says. The vacuum excavation trucks are purchased new earthmoving machines, which is more ancillary, is generally purchased used.  SSC’s detailed maintenance system makes it possible for it to benefit from its devices for many yrs and, in the case of its horizontal boring equipment, even decades.

Crane lifting a pipe on a construction siteGear EarthLeader in the industry

“SSC is a fantastic illustration of a enterprise that has proven by themselves as a leader in the discipline in the eyes of municipal and non-public undertaking owners and outdoors stakeholders,” claims Debby Anderson with surety broker Insurica Southwest.

Although SSC finds a whole plate of do the job in the Phoenix area, it had a one of a kind prospect to stretch when an possibility arose in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2007. SSC attained 4 bores in beneath 4 months at an oil refinery there, a project that took a 12 months and a 50 percent to strategy.

“If it is the appropriate in shape, we’ll go where by anybody wants us to go,” Arvid states. 

The SSC crew understands that the just-passed infrastructure monthly bill will ramp up community options in the next couple years. 

“A great deal of that function has acquired to be completed by way of trenchless simply because you don’t get to dig up railroads, light-weight rail, canals or freeways,” Arvid claims. 

In 1972, SSC bought the to start with constructing at its headquarters in north central Phoenix and steadily included adjoining homes. A further assets in Phoenix’s exploding West Valley spot will give the enterprise the possibility to create an devices routine maintenance facility. 

“It will enable us to be much more successful and a little bit additional aggressive for all the coming West Valley work,” Marcia suggests. “We can style and design it from the ground up and make entire use of new technology.”

Marcia and Arvid Veidmark next to a Cat 420FEquipment WorldLong term

Right after Arvid Jr. retired, Marcia had a coronary heart-to-heart with their son Arvid: was he truly fascinated in taking SSC forward? 

“I’m a fairly immediate particular person,” Marcia suggests. “It’s so essential to get this on the table and discuss business enterprise. Sure, we’re a household, but we’re scheduling it and building it together.”

Alongside the way, her niece Michelle was requested to fill SSC’s vice president posture. Later on, as Aaron and then Abe moved on to new prospects, Steve Walker was introduced on and his position has highly developed about the previous ten years to now involve the complete scope of subject, fleet and home management. 

“My husband and I have the pleasure of observing the business continuing to be productive,” Marcia claims. “We know they are completely ready. I get fired up for the following generation going ahead for the reason that we’ve acquired the foundation laid and we’ve received a amazing group.”

“This work pays nicely simply because we operate tricky,” Arvid states. “It presents us prospects to really extend ourselves and provide responses for our group and consumers, and a good career for our team of staff.”

But there are limits.

“I’ve under no circumstances acquired into the imagined that you’re both expanding or you are dying,” Arvid continues. “Our foundation is religion, and it doesn’t align with worldly values. It’s a diverse perception system than what guides substantially of the planet. It is really essential in our marketplace to be strategic about what we go immediately after.”

SSC Underground was Machines World’s 2022 Contractor of the Calendar year. The method recognizes contractors who screen the highest specifications of enterprise acumen, equipment administration experience, notice to security and community involvement. Every 12 months, 12 finalists receive an expenditure-compensated excursion to Las Vegas to take part in roundtable discussions and an awards ceremony.

The 2023 system will coincide with ConExpo-Con/Agg, North America’s largest building trade show. The nomination time period will open up this drop. For far more information, go to https://www.equipmentworld.com/contractor-of-the-yr.   

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