Ocean House, Westerly, R.I,. installation of the piers.
Foundations are the strength of any building. The best ones are made to last. But sometimes, even the finest foundations can give out.
That is where Rhode Island-based New England Foundation & Stabilization Co. (NEF&S), now entering its 20th year in business, comes in.
Founding a Foundation Company
Before there was NEF&S, there was Geisser Engineering, which was founded by George J. Geisser Jr. in 1953. A sister company, Allstate Drilling, was established two years later. For many years, The Geisser Companies were a family business at 227 Wampanoag Trail (Route 114) in East Providence, R.I., and the companies currently maintain three offices in Riverside (the village area of East Providence).
In the early 1990s, George J. Geisser III took over his father’s role as president of Geisser Engineering and Allstate Drilling, upon his father’s retirement from the industry.
“It was at that time that Geisser Engineering’s structural department was coming across many projects that were experiencing ranging degrees of foundation settlement,” said Senior Project Manager of NEF&S, John Pray. “As a result, our engineers, George J. Geisser III and Steven A. Bogle researched solutions for the need and came across a product line known as Atlas Systems out of Missouri that could stabilize and restore existing settled foundations utilizing resistance push piers.
“At the time,” Pray added, “Atlas was compared to similar manufacturers of like products, and was ranked in the top two in the United States. It offered in-house engineering support and customization, as well as long-term product warranties.”
Geisser discussed the product line with Atlas Systems, who, at the time, did not have any authorized contractors in the New England area.
“George saw the need and founded NEF&S as a division of Allstate Drilling, an affiliate subsurface investigation company, in 1991,” said Pray. “Starting with one crew of two people working all over the state of Rhode Island, as well as in the adjacent states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, NEF&S expanded over the years to a total of three two-man crews with two office/project managers working all over New England and into parts of New York.
Finding Their Niche Market
Today, New England Foundation & Stabilization Co. is a specialized foundation underpinning, stabilization and restoration company. Whether residential or commercial, its crews can stabilize and lift settling foundations, restoring their integrity.
“We also can prevent settlement using pier systems on projects where undermining of the foundation may occur, such as new construction additions and environmental clean-up projects,” said Pray. “On new construction sites with poor soil material, we can install piles through the poor bearing strata to support the new structure, preventing the possibility of future settlement without the added cost of removing and replacing inadequate soils as well as the use of large equipment and vibrations of typical pile driving. We also provide specialty services such as retaining wall and soil nail support systems. We utilize mini-excavators, skids steers, a 12,000 ft.-lb. torque motor, and mobile equipment such as a hand-held torque motor and power team hydraulic machinery,” to do this work.”
NEF&S is an authorized installer of Atlas Systems, A.B. Chance, and Earth Contact Products (ECP) Push Pier Resistance and Helical Piers.
Creating Staff, Making Connections
The company currently employs eight workers, several of whom have been with the company for many years.
John Pray began working for the company in 1991 as one of the original crew members and worked his way into management. As the senior project manager of NEF&S, he manages the company’s day-to-day running and crews.
Brian Rioles also began working in the very beginning as another original crew member. Today, Rioles remains the lead project foreman overseeing and actively working on our projects in the field.
Beyond Pray and Rioles, Ron Bernier, Shon Tealer and John Meservey have worked as project crew members and foremen with the company since the early 2000s.
“Now, almost 10 years later, they continue to grow, develop, and serve our company with consistency and passion,” said Pray.
The company’s people and service make it stand out and has allowed the sister companies to stand the pressures of time and economy, as well local competition in their niche market.
“The partnership that we have with our parent engineering firm allows us to specifically design for each project we review and our manufacturers give us both engineering support as well as the flexibility to customize to meet the needs that are so unique to New England conditions compared to other parts of the nation,” added Pray. “Each of these customized projects is backed up by quality crew members that have been trained in this specialized construction and worked for approximately 10 years with us.
“It is their professionalism and expertise in the field that allows us to continue to have the reputation that we have and continue to get repeat customers and referrals from those we have served,” he said.
“We have created a culture here that motivates our crews to remain positive and flexible to handle each challenge and project with a great attitude. Knowing that our crews are passionate and excited about their jobs and the work they do translates to our clients, who are satisfied and assured that the project is done correctly,” said Pray.
NEF&S has worked with many notable contractors, designers and engineers including: Shawmut Design and Construction, Parker Thompson, Dimeo, Metric, Gilbane, Bacon Construction, New England Construction, A.J. Martini, Enviro-Safe Environmental, Enpro Environmental, A-Zoulias Environmental and Clean Care of New England, GZA.
All three Geisser companies have shown steady growth, not just in the field, but also through technology and the Web, using the 21st Century’s best electronic marketing tools to expand.
“Over the first ten years of NEF&S, George J Geisser, III along with structural team of Geisser Engineering, began to market the products for projects that they came across that needed this niche product line. In early 2000, Greg Geisser, son of George J. Geisser III, began the sales and marketing division of NEF&S and built our original website,” said Pray.
“Greg took our projects and made them public knowledge as well as providing marketing presentations to local firms to expose engineers, architects and contractors to the resources of these product lines and our services,” he added.
In 2009, they launched their new Web site: www.nefsri.com.
After several years, Greg moved on to other career endeavors and was followed by Chris Catarino who continued to work with management on marketing development and company image. Catarino is now assistant project manager. Developing the marketing department allowed the company to expand and build three full time crews during their very busy seasons, as well as allows its crews to run full time through the winter months.
They have grown in other new and innovative ways. “Beginning as the first authorized Atlas Systems Contractor in New England, we grew to be the largest Atlas Contractor in our region, installing both Helical and Resistance Products and placed within the top 10 Atlas Dealers nationwide for over 8 consecutive years,” said Pray. “At the beginning of 2005, a merger between Atlas Systems and A.B. Chance, two of the top steel mini-pile manufacturers, allowed us to expand our product breadth and gain certification for the additional product line.
“This opportunity also allowed us to join with an upcoming and fast growing manufacturer with superior product lines, Earth Contact Products. Also, throughout the years, we have expanded our range of services as our leading manufacturers have expanded their breadth of products, including soil nailing and ranging waterproofing services.” CEG
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