Equipment Operator Dean Martin Retires from PUCC

Portland Utilities - Thursday, March 02, 2017

Portland Utilities Construction Co., LLC wishes to congratulate equipment operator Dean Martin on his retirement effective March 3, 2017.  Mr. Martin's foreman, Jon Taylor, describes Dean as a a safe operator and a good employee.  "In the seven (7) years Dean has worked for the company, says Jon, he rarely missed work unless it was absolutely necessary.  He was a good operator.  He never caused any significant damage while operating equipment for PUCC."


Mr. Martin began his career as a farmer in Massachusetts.  When the farm shut down, he moved to New York State for better opportunities.  He started in the gas business in 1989 and worked for a company named Xerxes out of Rochester, New York.  Later he became an equipment operator and foreman for Rochester Utilities.  Mr. Martin eventually left New York and came to Tennessee for better weather.  He landed his first job at Sharp Construction near Maryville, TN before becoming an equipment operator for PUCC on March 29, 2010.


To the next generation of equipment operators, Mr. Martin offers the following tips.  "Take care of your equipment, and it will take care of you.  Be safe and know what's going on around you."


After his retirement, Mr. Martin plans to do some things around the house and travel to Las Vegas to see his parents.  PUCC appreciates Mr. Martin for his service and for a job well done.




Meet PUCC employee Alfonso Olivares

Portland Utilities - Thursday, December 15, 2016

PUCC foreman Greg Woodcock has worked for Portland Utilities Construction Co., LLC since the 1990s.  Many may remember Greg on the company's first pipe bursting project for the City of Goodlettsville, TN as far back as 1997.  That was about the time the company learned that pipe bursting was a trenchless technology that could replace old, outdated sewer pipe past its useful life with less cost and disruption to the community.  

With over 20 years of pipe bursting experience, it is not surprising Greg has an appreciation for PUCC employees who have a passion and talent for pipe bursting.  So, when an opportunity arrived to formally recognize employees from the Houston, TX operation on the new company blog, Greg jumped at the chance.  The PUCC employee Greg chose for outstanding pipe bursting performance was Alfonso Olivares  According to Greg, Alfonso has the knowledge and skill necessary to be a lead man on a pipe bursting crew.

"Alfonso is one of the hardest workers in the company, says Greg.  He never misses work, and he runs the pipe bursting operation very efficiently.  While there are many others in Houston who also deserve recognition, I wanted to recognize Alfonso from my crew."

Below is Greg's interview with Alfonso:

1.  Name:  Alfonso Olivares


2.  Where are you from:  Guadalajara of the Mexican State of Jalisco, Mexico.


3.  How long have you lived in Houston?  5 Years.


4.  How long have you worked for PUCC?  4 Years.


5.  Who is your hero?  He was a fireman in Mexico.


6. Do you have pets?  No.


7. When are you the happiest?  In church, listening to music.


8.  Married/children.  Married my wife on 9/12/16.


9. Family:  Mother and father and three (3) brothers and three (3) sisters.


10.  PUCC Position:  Winch and lead man on pipe bursting crew.


11.  Favorite movie/sport:  Boxing/Futbol.


12. What year were you born?  June 27, 1988.


PUCC appreciates Alfonso and thanks all PUCC employees for their hard work and dedication to the company.  If you would like to feature someone from your crew, please contact Tracy Weaver at





PUCC Salutes General Superintendent James R. Fowler

Portland Utilities - Tuesday, November 01, 2016


December, 2015, Knoxville, TN.  At a retirement dinner last December, Portland Utilities Construction Co., LLC., recognized James R. Fowler's 25- year service to the company and said goodbye to PUCC's longest serving employee.  Gathered at the celebration were company personnel from the Portland, Knoxville and Houston offices.  Mr. Fowler's wife Linda and daughters Sherry and Cindy were also in attendance.  It was a night of tears and laughter as everyone saluted James (a/k/a Jay) and his contributions to PUCC, which began with the company's inception in 1991.


As general superintendent, Jay completed as many as 100 projects for PUCC.  He was with company founder Ernie Woodcock in 1991, when together they crossed over the Tennessee mountain from Portland to begin work on the company's first open-cut sewer project for the City of Kingsport.  "When I first started this company, says Mr. Woodcock, Jay and I would work by ourselves after we had sent the crews home to keep the company going.  His loyalty to me and PUCC can never be replaced."


Jay's 25 years at PUCC helped the company earn name recognition throughout the trenchless technology arena, primarily in the area of pipe bursting.  Up to and after the turn of the millennial, Jay and crews installed tens of thousands of sewer pipe line via pipe bursting, a relatively unknown technology at the time in the U.S.  Traveling all over the southeast, Jay and crews completed pipe burst after pipe burst project helping PUCC become one of the top pipe bursting contractors in America by the mid-2000s.


Jay's knowledge of how to fix America's crumbling water and sewer infrastructure via pipe bursting has been widely sought after by engineers and peers alike.  By 2011, several PUCC pipe bursting jobs, many completed by Jay and crews, were being spotlighted at trade shows, studied in classrooms and written about in white papers across the country.  Jay's abilities and skills to get the job done contributed to PUCC's success in the pipe bursting world and helped make pipe bursting a sustainable methodology in the U.S. by the time of Jay's retirement.


Known for his military-like management style, many men and women who worked with Jay over the years joke about being taught at the school of Fowler University.  His tough, cut-to-the chase, rough and tumble rhetoric helped shape and mold many of the men and women under his leadership.  He helped them develop their skills and taught them how to respond in stressful circumstances.  In fact Jay's common sense approach can be found in a good portion of the company's policy and procedure handbooks as a result of his knowledge and understanding of day-to-day activities on construction job sites.


For those who know Jay, most would agree he has a gift for story-telling.  Most would also agree Jay is a man of compassion, someone caring and trustworthy in times of need.  Now that Jay has retired, it will be up to the next generation to keep the legacy of James R. Fowler as one of the foundation blocks of PUCC.  His loyalty, leadership and concern for others become part of the Portland story to build upon as Portland Utilities Construction Co., LLC moves forward in the utility construction industry.




ArrowBore Receives Approval as Solution for Sewer Rehabilitation Project

Portland Utilities - Friday, September 16, 2016

The ArrowBore method for rehabilitating sewer and water pipe lines is gaining ground in America.  ArrowBore, also known as close tolerance horizontal directional drilling, is a trenchless technology that Portland Utilities Construction Co., LLC recently added to its host of sewer and water pipe line installation services.


PUCC first introduced the ArrowBore CTHDD method as a company service while under contract with Parker Sewer & Fire Sub-District in Greenville, SC. During construction on the client's R16 Subbasin Sewer Rehabilitation project, PUCC crews encountered several existing 6" sewer lines located beside houses approximately 2-3 feet deep.  The original scope of trenchless replacement via pipe bursting was not feasible due to the number of trees and outbuildings built with concrete floors over the sewer line.  The high risk of pipe bursting under buildings and cracking concrete floors together with the risk of the pipe burst hammer potentially getting stuck underneath the buildings was great.  When PUCC superintendent Gary Testa proposed the ArrowBore CTHDD method as a potential solution, the project engineer, Dunn & Associates, corroborated with the client who agreed to a field change order.  "It worked out great, and everybody seemed to be happy, said PUCC superintendent, Gary Testa at the conclusion of the trial ArrowBore.  As of September 2016, the Greenville, SC crew continues to utilize the Arrowbore method as a viable solution to the unique and complex sewer rehabilitation and replacement needs of the R16 Subbasin Sewer project.


The ArrowBore story for PUCC began in Greenville SC as a problem-solver, and now moves to PUCC's newest project in Frankfort, KY.  The Taylor Avenue Force Main project was originally designed as a pipe bursting project.   "Because of the close proximity of existing utilities, however, says PUCC Member Mike Woodcock, it was decided that the ArrowBore CTHDD method would best replace the existing 14" asbestos pipe.   PUCC crews will begin mobilizing to the Frankfort, KY Taylor Avenue project in mid September 2016." 


Portland 2016 Strawberry Festival Award

Portland Utilities - Wednesday, June 29, 2016



How do you make work fun at Portland Utilities Construction Co., LLC?  Create a committee and build a Wizard of Oz float that's how.  Meet the float committee who helped PUCC earn the title grand champions at the 2016 Strawberry Festival Parade, Portland, TN on May 14, 2016. (From left to right PUCC employees Jeff Conklin, Leslie Woodcock, Tracy Weaver and Shannon Ashworth.) Bottom photo PUCC owner Ernie Woodcock poses dressed as the wizard holding PUCC's 1st place float trophy.) 

New Appointment: Vincent Ochoa Bayles

Portland Utilities - Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Vincent Ochoa Bayles joins Portland Utilities Construction Co., LLC as a project manager and estimator.


He is based out of the Knoxville office covering the East Tennessee area.

Vincent brings with him 25 years of continuous and progressive experience in the construction industry. His construction experience is predominately Mechanical and Civil, as an Estimator, Project Manager specializing in Water and Wastewater Pipelines, Pump Stations, Treatment Plant and HVAC, Commercial Refrigeration and other Heavy Mechanical Projects.

With a comprehensive understanding of rock excavation, shoring systems, soils and compaction, safety, quality control, assurance programs, dewatering methods, erosion control methods, piping methods, electrical, and mitigation and OSHA standards, Vincent brings to PUCC a greater insight toward solving problems unique to the utility construction industry.


Along with many years’ experience, Vincent offers a successful leadership and management strategy that enables him to coordinate all tasks involved in project construction and to handle multiple projects simultaneously. With a background in design build, SRF projects and all phases of Government and Industrial Infrastructure, he is backed by a proven history of on-time, on-budget and high quality project completions.

Active in the industry Vincent has and will continue coordinating effectively with subcontractors and suppliers and building relationships and communicating with the public, owners, and engineers in the East Tennessee area.


Vincent is licensed in multiple states and carries numerous other construction trade and sales certifications. He is a member of

RSES (Refrigeration Service Engineering Society) he has an EPA Certification from Ferris State University and is licensed as a Mechanical Contractor in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and South Carolina.

Vincent is active in his community and Church and is a unit commissioner with the Boy Scouts of America. When he is not at work you will find him on the golf course or on a backcountry river fly fishing. Vincent is married to his beautiful wife Joni for 35 years and they both have two wonderful children.

New Appointment: Steven Ham

Portland Utilities - Wednesday, June 08, 2016


PUCC is pleased to announce the addition of STEVEN HAM to the PUCC family. Steven brings his knowledge and expertise to the PUCC Houston TX division as the new General Manager. Steven most recently worked for the City of Houston as a Sr. Project Manager. At the City he was responsible for $60 Million of Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Contracts.


At PUCC he will be responsible for the management and direction of the PUCC Houston, TX division. His prime objective for the first year will be to focus on increasing work backlog for the construction crews and meeting and exceeding production goals. His long term goal for the Houston, TX division is to build a strong team atmosphere.


Steven comes to PUCC with an extensive background in sanitary sewer contract administration for the City of Houston. Additional skills include field construction surveying. He has lived in the Houston area for fourteen (14) years and is a native Texan. His personal interests include God, family and sports.


Fully Loaded for Success: Spring 2015 Newsletter

Portland Utilities - Friday, May 01, 2015


The Portland Pipeline is a full-service news source for company employees, family members and industry workers. Read our latest newsletter below or  click here to download