Pinnacle Finds Niche, Growth In South Carolina

June 2013, Vol. 68, No. 6

Pinnacle Construction & Directional Boring is one of the busiest underground utility construction contractors working in and around the scenic coastal city of Charleston, SC.

Evolving from a company formed to bury, install and service cable television network cable and provide installation and technical services for satellite dish customers, today Pinnacle Construction specializes in trenchless construction for electrical distribution systems by horizontal directional drilling (HDD).

“We got our first exposure to directional drilling in 2001 while still doing CATV work,” said Erik Carlson, Pinnacle president. “We had an opportunity to do road bores for Time Warner, but I was hesitant to ‘buy in’ to the technology. We purchased our first drill -- a Ditch Witch JT920 -- and immediately saw the benefits of the technology and many opportunities for using it. That quickly led to the purchase of a second machine, a JT1720, from one of our electrical customers.”

As the company became more focused on HDD, Carlson said issues developed with his two partners, and after three years the cable installation business was dissolved.

“However,” he said, “Trina, my wife, and I recognized we had too much invested to get out of the construction business and we bought the assets of the company and formed Pinnacle Construction & Directional Boring Inc. in 2004. I realized then that I needed to refocus efforts solely on HDD.” Carlson said his recent experience with directional drilling and organizational skills from previous military service helped make the decision that established the direction and success of the new company.

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Growth
With the two compact drill units (Ditch Witch JT920 and JT17200), the new company began subcontracting bores for electrical installations.

“The company that hired us as a subcontractor had been doing its own directional drilling,” said Carlson. “We actually were more efficient at making HDD installations and they stopped doing drilling and tasked us with all their HDD work.”

Two years later, another JT1720 was added to the HDD equipment fleet, along with a larger JT2720 with 27,000 pounds of pullback.

Carlson got his South Carolina General Contractor’s License in 2006. That year, Pinnacle was awarded a contract for HDD with South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) for work in the Charleston Metro area and Low Country Districts with projects extending west nearly to the state’s capital, Columbia.