History: Geo-Con / Geo-Solutions

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The History of Geo-Con / Geo-Solutions, Four Decades of Innovation

Geo-Solutions and Geo-Con merged in December 2012, retaining the name of Geo-Solutions.  Geo-Solutions is a specialty geoenvironmental / geotechnical contractor founded by construction minded individuals with technical backgrounds. The senior staff have been in the forefront of numerous construction technologies including soil mixing, jet grouting, slurry walls, bio-polymer collection trenches, and other grouting services for nearly four decades with many individuals having worked together for over 20 years.

We hope you find this short history of Geo-Con and Geo-Solutions interesting.  If you know of additional details that you feel would add to the history below, please contact us at info@geo-solutions.com so that we may consider your additions / edits.

2023 - Geo-Solutions is proud to announce the recent investment of Blue Sage Capital
Blue Sage is a proven value-added investor in the environmental industry and will help Geo-Solutions through its next chapter of growth.  This next chapter will include expanding our geographic footprint, extending our service lines, pursuing strategic acquisitions, and reinvesting in our core businesses.  For more information, please refer to the announcement on Blue Sage’s website
2019 - Staff Promotions and Additions
As part of an ongoing leadership transition, Geo-Solutions promotes Darin Payne, Dan Ruffing, P.E., and Mike Fisher to President, Vice President, and Northeast Regional Manager, respectively.  In addition to these promotions, Geo-Solutions brings back Rob Winters, CSP as a Vice President.  These promotions and additions allow Geo-Solutions to seamlessly continue its operations as others within the company re-focus or retire.
2016 - Geo-Trencher & Canada Geo-Solutions
Geo-Solutions adds the Geo-Trencher to its equipment fleet.  The Geo-Trencher provides an alternative installation method for vertical barriers, collection trenches, and permeable reactive barriers.

After years of planning and collaboration with Bucknell University, Geo-Solutions installed a soil-bentonite cutoff wall for ongoing research in Montandon, PA.  The wall was installed with funding from the National Science Foundation and has since been the subject of numerous studies, publications (10+), and presentations.  Geo-Solutions hopes this wall continues to provide an opportunity to improve the understanding of how these cutoff walls function and behave in situ.  Data generated from the sensors in the wall is publicly available here: https://digitalcommons.bucknell.edu/nSF-SB-Cutoff-Wall-dataset/

Geo-Solutions also changes the name of its Canadian subsidiary company from Pennsylvania Geo-Solutions to Canada Geo-Solutions (www.geo-solutions.ca).

Chris Ryan, P.E. and Steve Day officially retire from Geo-Solutions.

2014 - Argentia, Newfoundland
Geo-Solutions installs a cutoff wall for a Graving Dock Construction at Husky Energy’s White Rose Extension Project in Argentia, Newfoundland. The SCB cutoff wall is installed through porous soils/boulders to prevent groundwater seepage from the adjacent Atlantic Ocean into the open excavation. The excavated area inside the cutoff wall is taken to approximately 21 meters (70 feet) below the elevation of the ocean water and is planned to be used to construct the foundation for an offshore oil well platform.

In order to better support its clients, Geo-Solutions opens physical offices in Lakewood (Denver), Colorado and St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay), Florida.  This enables Geo-Solutions to further strengthen its position in the western and southern regions of the US.

2013 - Executive Staff Changes
In January 2013, Chris Ryan steps down from President of Geo-Solutions to serve as the Chairman of the Board.  Bob Schindler assumes the role of President and CEO and Pete Maltese and Ken Andromalos, P.E. assume Vice President roles.  In order to accommodate the Geo-Con employees, a large expansion of the New Kensington facility begins early in the year and is finished by the end of the year.  This expansion doubles the available office space.  In addition to the office renovation, additional yard space is acquired at two vacant lots located near the office in New Kensington, PA.
2012 - Acquisition of EBC Assets and the Geo-Con Tradename
Geo-Solutions purchases the assets of EBC, including the “Geo-Con” tradename, and immediately begins incorporating the EBC assets into Geo-Solutions’ operation. The EBC asset acquisition brings a significant amount of experience in the form of long-time EBC employees who began their career at Geo-Con.

With the financial support of RAF Industries, Geo-Solutions embarks on a capital equipment program in 2012 that results in Geo-Solutions having one of the largest inventories of specialty equipment in the industry, including:

  • 15 long boom/stick combinations for a PC1250, PC800, PC400, CAT 385 and CAT 375
  • 125, 80, and 49 metric ton class excavators for slurry wall work
  • Several dozen slurry and grout mix plants
  • Multiple soil mixing drills, including two of the largest crane-mounted drill platforms currently manufactured and a Casagrande 360 drill, the largest  track-mounted hydraulic drill currently available

2012 - Financial Support Through RAF Industries
Geo-Solutions brings in RAF Industries (http://rafind.com/) to provide financial support for the eventual retirements of some of the principal members, including Chris Ryan.
2011 - Geo-Solutions Establishes a Working Relationship in Brazil
Geo-Solutions begins working in Brazil through an operating agreement with a Brazilian foundation contractor with the goal of establishing US technologies in the new emerging environmental market in Brazil.

Geo-Solutions first projects in Brazil include two firsts for the Brazilian market, the first permeable absorptive barrier (PAB) at an active chemical facility near Sao Paulo and the first test program for environmental soil mixing at an inactive facility in Rio de Janeiro.

2011 - Geo-Con is Awarded the Perimeter Wall Stabilization at TVA's Kingston Plant
Geo-Con wins its largest ever contract to construct the Perimeter Wall Stabilization (PWS) following the large coal ash spill at the TVA Kingston plant in Tennessee.  Over the next 2+ years, EBC will install over 11 miles of self-hardening cement-bentonite slurry trench segments for  seismic improvements around the perimeter of the coal ash impoundment, making it the largest CB slurry trench project in US history.
2010 - Geo-Solutions Completes a Keystone Project in Smithland, Kentucky
Another keystone project in Smithland, KY is completed.  The Smithland slurry trench cutoff wall remains the deepest continuous soil-cement-bentonite slurry trench cutoff wall ever installed with a maximum depth of 185’.

A major renovation to Geo-Solutions’ New Kensington, PA facility is also completed.  This renovation triples the shop space and doubles the office space.

2010 - Geo-Con Works in New Orleans
Geo-Con completes several projects in the New Orleans area as part of the flood protection upgrades carried out by the US Army Corps of Engineers post Hurricane Katrina.  Geo-Con works as a subcontractor to 4 different GC’s on 4 different Corps projects.
2009 - Geo-Solutions Receives a Safety Award for the Bureau of Rec
Geo-Solutions is awarded the US Bureau of Reclamation Safety Award for the Watkins Dam project.
2008 - Geo-Solutions Forms a Canadian Subsidiary and Watkins Dam, Utah
Based on reoccurring client needs, Geo-Solutions establishes a Canadian subsidiary (Pennsylvania Geo-Solutions).

Geo-Solutions completes a keystone project at the Watkins Dam Reservoir in Utah in late 2008.  This project is Geo-Solutions largest project to date and firmly establishes it as a leading specialty geotechnical contractor.

2006 - Geo-Solutions Makes a Strategic Soil Mixing Purchase
Geo-Solutions makes its first significant purchase for soil mixing, a German manufactured drill rig designed for caisson and piling work.  Up to this point, most soil mixing was almost exclusively performed using drill platforms attached to cranes.  The new drill is lighter and cheaper to mobilize which helps to expand the use of auger soil mixing to new applications and smaller project sites.
2006 - Geo-Con Re-Establishes Pressure Grouting Presence
After completing a small grout curtain at the Dilworth Mine in Pennsylvania for Consol Energy in 2006, Geo-Con begins consistently bidding, winning, and successfully completing drilling and grouting projects in the U.S.  These include some smaller projects in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as some notable projects including an emergency repair of Lake Needwood Dam in Maryland in 2007, restoration of Bear Creek Dam in 2008, restoration of Hopkinsville and Mud River Dams in Kentucky in 2010, and grouting at Lockington Dam, OH in 2011.
2005 - Geo-Con Completes Multiple Wetlands Remediation Projects
With the advent of wetlands mitigation banking in the U.S., Geo-Con establishes itself as a leader in specialty wetland construction/restoration.  Large wetlands projects performed by Geo-Con include one in Carlsadt, NJ in 1998/2000 (two phases), in James River, Va. and Hart-Miller Island, both in 2002, and one in Wilmington, DE in 2005.
2004 - Geo-Solutions Establishes a Relationship in Australia
Geo-Solutions starts working in Australia through a long term agreement with a local Australian contractor.  This agreement allows Geo-Solutions to bring its specialized knowledge from the US into the Australian environmental remediation market.
2004 - Geo-Con, Inc. Enters Bankruptcy Protection and EBC is Formed
Due to financial difficulties of Geo-Con, Inc.’s  parent company, Geo-Con, Inc. enters into  bankruptcy protection in 2004.  After the bankruptcy of Geo-Con, Inc., former Geo-Con, Inc. president, Brian Jasperse, founds the Environmental Barrier Co (EBC)  with other key employees.  EBC purchases key assets of Geo-Con, Inc. including the trade name “Geo-Con” and operates under this trade name until 2012.  Through the purchase of the Geo-Con trade name and assets, EBC is able to continue to successfully operate as a leading specialty geotechnical contractor.
2003 - Geo-Solutions Establishes a New Office and Begins Work in Canada
Geo-Solutions moves to a construction trailer in New Kensington, PA at the site of its new office (the same office Geo-Solutions currently occupies).  Operations in 2003 are conducted out of the construction trailer until the new office construction is completed later that year.

Geo-Solutions also starts to bid and perform turnkey construction work in the US and begins working in Canada.

2002 - Geo-Con, Inc. Completes First Full Scale Application of Soil Mixing with ZVI and Bentonite
Geo-Con, Inc. completes the first full scale in-situ application of zero valent iron and clay developed by DuPont de Nemours to mitigate chlorinated hydrocarbon contamination.
2002 - Geo-Solutions in Brunei
Geo-Solutions begins working internationally with a project in Brunei, a tiny nation on the island of Borneo, surrounded by Malaysia and the South China Sea.
2001 - Geo-Con, Inc. Completes Large ISS Project on MGP Site in Cambridge, MA
Geo-Con, Inc completes the in-situ stabilization of over 100,000 cy of NAPL and DNAPL impacted soils for redevelopment of a 2.2 acre former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) in Cambridge, MA.  This project receives the US EPA Region 1, 2006 Phoenix Award for brownfields reclamation.
2000 - Geo-Con, Inc. Completes First Full Scale Slag-Cement-Bentonite Slurry Wall in Dam
Geo-Con, Inc successfully completes the installation of a high strength-low permeablity vertical barrier wall to raise the core or an existing high-hazard dam.  This is the first full-scale application of the slag-cement-bentonite slurry trench installation method for construction of a cutoff wall in the US.
1999 - Geo-Con, Inc.'s Early Applications of BP Slurry Trenching
Additional early applications include three full-scale Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRBs) trenches at Pease Air Force Base (1999 & 2000) and Somersworth Landfill (2000).

Geo-Con, Inc installs a 56 foot deep permeable reactive barrier (PRB) within a roadway to treat a plume of chlorinated solvents.  To mitigate the future impact to the municipal well field, the DEP decided to install a PRB composed of zero‐valent granular iron across the path of the plume.  The application of the technology in a roadway with high vehicular traffic and in a residential neighborhood was unique and presented difficulties not typically associated with PRB installations.

1999 - Geo-Solutions Expands it Presence with Denver, CO Office
Steve Day joins Geo-Solutions and opens an office in Denver, CO.
1998 - Geo-Con, Inc.'s Involvement at Rocky Mountain Arsenal
Geo-Con, Inc completes 4 projects at Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, CO.  The first is a large DSM project to install a cutoff wall to contain the waste from former chemical weapons manufacturing.  Other projects include a collection trench, a large landfill cell construction, and the remediation of soil from disposal pits.
1997 - Geo-Con, Inc.'s Early Involvement in BP Slurry Trenching
Geo-Con, Inc is an innovator in applying the bio-polymer slurry trenching technology for installation of permeable reactive barriers and funnel-and-gate systems.  BP trenching allows for relatively deep installations with minimal excavation and spoils.  Geo-Con completes the first permeable reactive barrier installed using the bio-polymer slurry trenching technique at the Oak Ridge USDOE site.  The reactive gate consists of a 26-foot deep by 30-foot wide zero-valent iron (ZVI) reactive gate with two 100-foot wings filled with pea gravel to funnel water to the ZVI zone.
1997 - Geo-Con Inc.'s Deep Soil Mixing for Permanent Excavation Support
Geo-Con, Inc uses DSM with concrete facing for permanent excavation support at the Lake Parkway project in Wisconsin, one of the earliest applications of this technique.  [see Bahner and Naguib 2000]
1996 - Geo-Con, Inc. Completes Keystone Wetlands Restoration Projects
Geo-Con, Inc completes the construction, restoration, and enhancement of more than 5,100 acres of wetlands in two former salt hay farms, the first in Port Norris, NJ, and another in Heislerville, NJ.
1996 - The Incorporation of Geo-Solutions
Shortly after leaving Geo-Con, Inc, Chris Ryan starts Geo-Solutions, Inc.

Geo-Solutions is officially incorporated in March 1996.  Chris is the founder and original partner.  The new firm primarily provides technical assistance and consulting services from 1996 to 2003.

1990-1995 - Geo-Con, Inc.'s Growth & Acquisition
Geo-Con, Inc continues to have strong growth and reaches an annual revenue of $45M (approximately $75M in 2017 dollars) in 1995. In 1994, the firm begins a search for a strategic investor to help the company take its next big step.  The search culminates in the acquisition of Geo-Con, Inc by Woodward-Clyde, the premier geotechnical consulting firm of the time.

Geo-Con, Inc / Woodward Clyde went on to be acquired by URS, which was subsequently acquired by AECOM.  Shortly after the acquisition by URS, Geo-Con, Inc was sold off to a capital venture firm.

Late 80s through early 90s - Geo-Con, Inc.'s Technical Firsts and Technology Development
During this time, Geo-Con, Inc is involved in many technical firsts or early applications of technologies, including:

  • Creation of the first U.S. manufactured multi-auger DSM soil mixing rig.
  • Perform one of the first significant jet grouting projects in the U.S.
  • Creation of the first U.S. manufactured dual stem jet grouting drill rig.
  • Installation of a large environmental rock grout curtain which is the largest application of micro-fine cement based grout in the U.S. at the time.
  • Demonstrate the use of the DSM technology to contain PCB impacted soils at a site in Florida as part of the U.S. EPA Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program.
  • Perform the first installation of large diameter, single auger soil mixing (also known as Shallow Soil Mixing or SSM) which created one of the mostly widely used techniques for the environmental soil remediation market known as In-Situ Stabilization/Solidification (ISS).

1989 - Geo-Con, Inc. Completes Shallow Soil Mixed Gravity Wall
Geo-Con, Inc uses SSM technique for a gravity wall in Columbus, GA, an early application of soil mixing for excavation support. (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/infrastructure/pavements/99138/99138.pdf).
1987 - Geo-Con, Inc. Completes the Jackson Lake Dam Project & ENR Advertisement Design Award
One of Geo-Con’s premier projects, the Jackson Lake Dam Project, is completed with SMW Seiko, a Japanese company, as a partner.  The Jackson Lake project is the first  use of DSM in the US and ushers in a new era of soil mixing on the North American continent for geotechnical and environmental applications.

Geo-Con, Inc.’s DSM Advertisement wins top ten design contest in Engineering News Record (ENR) magazine.

1986 - Geo-Con Inc. Obtains a Financial Investment from Taisei Corporation
In 1986, Taisei Corporation makes a financial investment to become a minority partner in Geo-Con, Inc.  Taisei was one of the largest international contractors in Japan with sales approaching $10 billion.  Chris met them while working on the first non-structural slurry wall ever constructed in Japan and approached them about making an investment in Geo-Con, Inc.  Taisei brings financial strength and access to Japanese foundation technologies, most notably, deep soil mixing (DSM).
1981 to 1985 - Geo-Con Inc.'s Early Growth
Geo-Con, Inc experienced solid growth and added sales offices in Philadelphia, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA and Lakeland, FL.  Geo-Con, Inc quickly establishes itself as a strong leader in the installation of slurry walls, the grouting of abandoned mines, installation of dam grout curtains, compaction grouting, excavation support systems, and high capacity ground anchors.  To support this work, Geo-Con, Inc internally develops specialized, large, long boom/stick excavation equipment for their slurry wall work and some of the first grout instrumentation and automation equipment in the industry.
1980 - Geo-Con, Inc.'s First Office
In 1980, Geo-Con moves into its first real office, a room rented from Menard at its Monroeville, PA office.  Around the same time, another office in Dallas, TX is established.
1979 - The Birth of Geo-Con, Inc.
Chris Ryan left ECI and recruits Jim Williams to start Geo-Con, Inc.  They meet to discuss starting a company in March 1979.

The name “Geo-Con” is selected at the first meeting.  Geo-Con, Inc originally operates with Chris as the only employee.  At the end of 1979, Jim officially joins Geo-Con, Inc as an employee.  Geo-Con, Inc produces its first sales brochure in 1979.

Prior to 1979 - Setting the Stage For Geo-Con
In 1956, Elio D’Appolonia starts Elio D’Appolonia Consulting Engineers (EDCE) after stepping down as a Professor at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University).  EDCE later becomes known as D’Appolonia.  Key spin offs from EDCE include Paul Rizzo and Associates, PDG Environmental, Ground Improvement Technology, Geo-Con, Inc, and others.

D’Appolonia Consulting Engineers forms a geotechnical construction subsidiary called Engineered Construction International (ECI). Chris Ryan, P.E. (Founder of Geo-Con, Inc and Geo-Solutions, Inc.) hears about the upcoming formation of ECI in December 1972 and moves to Pittsburgh to become the first employee.

Once ECI officially forms, the company immediately forms a joint venture (JV) with Soletanche.

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