Contractor Combines Trenching, HDD To Grow Business

May 2012, Vol. 67 No. 5
Trent Parker, Parker-Stockstill co-owner, and Pete Petersen, Ditch Witch North Carolina.

Parker said his crews use the direct-pull method for plowing in all pipe, attaching the pipe to the machine’s blade mounted on its shaker box. An option for smaller diameter pipes is to feed the pipe through a chute on a different type of plow blade.

“We prefer direct pulling,” said Parker, “because it fits the needs of our projects better than feeding small-diameter pipe through the chute of a feed blade.”

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is used to cross roads and highways, streams and rivers and other bodies of water, to place pipe under landscaped areas and on job sites where the presence of other utilities prevent cutting through the ground.

Productive combo

“For us, plowing and directional drilling make a very effective combination,” said Parker.

Typical of Parker-Stockstill projects was a recent job in Vanceboro to install 18,000 feet of four-inch diameter distribution pipe to serve a prison facility. The installation route went through town and open country to the prison. Pipe runs were made in 500-foot increments.

For plowing, Parker-Stockstill uses a Ditch Witch RT115 Quad with vibratory plow attachment providing 42-inches of cover above the pipe in most soil conditions. The 115-horsepower vehicle is built on a heavy-duty track frame running on four tracks with a unique “chevron” pattern that provides maximum traction on wet ground and slopes. A three-speed load-sensing hydrostatic ground drive provides dependable performance in virtually all soil conditions.

When directional drilling is necessary, a Ditch Witch JT2020 Mach 1 is utilized. Powered by an 85-horsepower diesel engine, the unit develops 20,000 pounds of pullback force, maximum spindle torque of 2,200 foot pounds, and maximum spindle speeds of 225 rpm. Its footprint (207 inches long, 51.5 inches wide) makes the machine an ideal combination of power and compactness for the company’s needs.

Reflecting on the history of his family’s company and its growth over the years, Parker gives all credit to God.