It is a dirty job, but someone has got to do it. The team at SoilTech Consultants is at the ground level of economic development and improvement projects all across the state.
Before any asphalt is laid down or cement is poured, most commercial and industrial developers call on geo-technical engineers to do a soil investigation. In other words, dig up some dirt.
SoilTech president Michael Volk said their soil studies are quite a process, but necessary to ensure stability for a development project.
"Sometimes we only drill 15 feet into the ground and maybe times 80-to-100 feet into the ground," Volk said.
For example, the high-rise Westin Hotel project in downtown Jackson requires SoilTech technicians to drill 40-to-50 feet into the ground to get solid soil samples.
Back at SoilTech's Ridgeland lab they run a number of tests to let clients know what kind of dirt they are dealing with, such as much maligned Yazoo clay.
"We determine the classifications of the soil, the destructibility of the soils, then make recommendations for the foundation," Volk said.
SoilTech is a subsidiary of the Magnolia State's largest engineering firm Neel-Schaffer. The Westin is one of many high profile projects SoilTech has going on. They did the soil study at the Fortification Street and Capitol Street road improvement projects.
In addition, SoilTech is working at the site for the Yokohama Tire plant in West Point, Miss., and the Nissan expansion in Canton. Volk said he is excited to get a front row seat to economic development in the state.
"It's exciting to see the growth in Mississippi, the growth in the metro," Volk said. "Watching different projects come, bring in more jobs to the area and effects a lot of other people's lives."
SoilTech is a part of that growth. The Yokohama project prompted them to open a new office in West Point. Volk's been with the company since 2005 and he is excited to help foster that expansion.
"We started off with one office with about 8 to 10 employees and we've grown to where we are today, Volk said." Four offices and 31 employees."
The growth is evidence that SoilTech, which was founded in 2002 has been built on solid ground.