PUCC Employees Celebrating March Birthdays

Portland Utilities - Thursday, March 15, 2018

Did you know people born in March are known for their affection and charisma?  They also love to serve others, a quality which can be found in Frederick Winslow Taylor, born March 20, 1856 -March 21, 1915 (black and white photo above).  Mr. Taylor was a mechanical engineer who's quest for improved industrial efficiency resulted in him writing The Principles of Scientific Management and Shop Management.  Mr. Taylor was a leader in the Efficiency Movement and influential in the Progressive Era (1890s-1920s).  Known as one of the first management consultants of his time, Mr. Taylor was also a recognized tennis player, golfer, economist, lecturer and writer.  Cheers to all the special people at PUCC who share March Birthdays:


Harold Hagaman, March 1; Lesley Jessen, March 10; Edilberto Vidal, March 10; Joe O'Saile, March 15; Carl Lawson, March 16; Jeff Conklin, March 21; Jose Rodriguez, March 22; Jeffrey Thomas, March 24; Branson Chaffin, March 24; Brookin Decker, March 26; Veronica Medina, March 31.


Of interest regarding the above employees celebrating March birthdays, project manager Jeff Conklin (3rd photo from top) reports the city inspector for Cleveland Utilities really appreciates field supervisor Hal Hagaman for his attention to detail and organization on the 2017 Sewer Rehab job.  Also in the news is Joe O'Saile, (top photo) and Branson Chaffin (2nd photo from top).  Joe reports work on the Wilson Road Water Line project in Knoxville, TN is about 75% complete and that Branson has been keeping the crew and public safe as one of the jobsite's primary flaggers.  In Houston, TX, administrator Veronica Medina (2nd photo from bottom), likes to drink a cup of coffee at the start of work each morning from the office coffee pot.  Veronica speaks fluent Spanish and sings and laughs a lot on the job.  "George and Steven are so funny, she says.  From Knoxville, TN, project manager Brookin Decker (4th photo from top), likes the challenges and problem-solving that comes with working at PUCC.  Finally, Carl Lawson (bottom photo) enjoys fishing and riding ATVs when he's not working with the Greenville, SC crew.  


Happy Birthday everybody!





PUCC Employee Eric West Promoted to Foreman

Portland Utilities - Wednesday, December 20, 2017

PUCC is pleased to announce the recent promotion of long-time veteran employee Eric West to the position of foreman on the company UV CIPP lining crew.  "I was glad to accept the position, says Eric, but I was definitely a little nervous."

Eric first started work at PUCC on the Flush Truck at the age of sixteen.  "I remember my mom had to sign a paper for me to come to work.  Eventually I went from working on the Flush Truck to working on the TV Truck."  When Eric came back to work a second time at PUCC, he remembers being sent to the Waltersboro, SC project.  "We mostly did clean-up and flowable-fill", says Eric.

Eric returned permanently to PUCC in the spring of 2005.  When the company started a UV CIPP Lining crew in the spring of 2010, Eric was on hand to start the operation and was one of the very first crew members.  Since 2010, Eric has contributed to the successful rehabilitation of over 265,000 LF of sewer pipe via UV CIPP Lining.  

PUCC wishes Eric all of the best in his new role as foreman.  His ability to focus on the task at hand and get the job done with a positive attitude has led Eric to a well deserved leadership position within the company.   

"I have always liked it at PUCC, says Eric.  Every day is like an adventure."

News of Hurricane Devastation Hits Home for PUCC Safety Director

Portland Utilities - Friday, September 29, 2017

September 29, 2017.    PUCC safety director, Leslie Woodcock, reports desperate conditions from her home island of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria struck with 155 MPH winds and 20 inches of rain last week.  Born and raised in San Juan, Leslie finally made contact by telephone with her cousin who cares for Leslie's 96-year-old grandmother.  Her cousin, who lives approximately 30 miles from San Juan, spoke of tragic deaths from lack of food, risk of disease and gas shortages.  During the conversation Leslie learned that delivery of food supplies was at an impasse due to limited access and that purchases of basic necessities were on a cash-only basis.  "The banks are closed and the ATM machines are inoperable, Leslie was told by her cousin.  There are no government services at this time.  Everything is at a standstill."  Most of the island's residents remain without electricity and 44% are without access to drinking water.

For those who want to help the residents of Puerto Rico, below are ways you might consider:

1.  Make cash or in-kind donations to Salsa, a Puerto Rican and Latin Cuisine Restaurant in Nashville, TN.  They are accepting cash donations and in-kind donations such as batteries, flashlights, battery-operated radios, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, diapers, towels and baby clothes until October 7.  Leslie Woodcock and PUCC contract manager Tracy Weaver will carry all donated items to Salsa by Friday, October 6th.  Their website is The Salsa Restaurant is also taking cash donations and in-kind donations for relief in Mexico as a result of a devastating earthquake that struck the country last week.

2.  Make a cash donation to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  The Galilee United Methodist Church is collecting funds all through the month of October to send to UMCOR.  "UMCOR was on site in Puerto Rico before the hurricane hit, says Galilee Pastor, Tom Nichols. They have people on the ground right now.  Every penny donated to UMCOR for Puerto Rico will be used for relief efforts in Puerto Rico."  If you would like to make a cash donation to UMCOR-Puerto Rico, please send your cash or money order to the attention of Leslie Woodcock or Tracy Weaver at the company home office in Portland, TN. Once the money is collected, a donation will be made in the total amount to UMCOR-Puerto Rico through the Galilee United Methodist Church.  To learn more abut UMCOR, visit their website at

For other ways to assist victims severly affected by hurricanes, you may want to visit  The Red Cross is currently taking donations to provide shelter, food and comfort to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana and for those impacted by Hurricane Irma in Florida.  


The people of Puerto Rico continue to struggle with lack of basic necessities.  







Portland Utilities - Tuesday, August 29, 2017


By now most PUCC employees have seen the horrific images resulting from the weekend hurricane and flooding in and around Houston, TX.  Most are also aware PUCC has a Houston, TX office and pipe bursting division that employs up to forty people.  PUCC is pleased to report that as of Monday morning there have been no known injures to any PUCC-TX employees although most remain stranded in their homes or unable to get out of the city.

There have been reports by PUCC-TX crew members of homes being surrounded by up to 3' of water and one (1) PUCC employee did report up to 3" of water inside his home.  As record rainfall threatens to increase flooding in and about the City of Houston, officials fear conditions may likely worsen before they get better. 

At this time PUCC would like to express its love and heartfelt prayers for the continued safety and well-being of all of our PUCC-TX colleagues and their families.  We are praying for a quick end to this devastating natural disaster, which some are referring to as an 800-year flood event.  We want everyone in Texas to know PUCC cares for each and every person affected by the storm and is hoping for sunnier days ahead.


PUCC prays for sunnier days ahead for each and every person affected by Hurricane Harvey.   The category 4 hurricane struck the Gulf of Mexico on or about Friday, August 25, 2017 and dumped record rainfall over the weekend.  Heavy downpours continued to fall on Tuesday in the Houston and surrounding areas and is expected to move towards Shreveport, LA by Thursday or Friday.


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




Alfonso Olivares


Greg Woodcock 

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.