Digging Deep for Exceptional Results

Malcolm Drilling Company
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

As demand for ground improvement technologies continues to grow, so too does Malcolm Drilling Company. This firm has the technology and the expertise to take less than ideal subsurface conditions and create results that are beyond expectation.
From just one truck mounted with a drill rig, founder and CEO John Malcolm expanded his company into an internationally recognized and trusted name in specialty foundation drilling. Its diverse services, paired with its extensive fleet of equipment and team of industry specialists has led to fifty-five years of success.

Chief Operating Officer Alan Rasband shared the company’s origins: “John Malcolm came out of the Army Rangers, and he was looking for something to do. He came up with the idea of running a drill rig. So he had some money, and he borrowed some money, and he bought his first drill rig. He went to work, and over time, started performing more and more work.”

John Malcolm was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division and served the United States as an Army Ranger from 1958 to 1962. Upon discharge from the Army, Malcolm brought his company to life with one rig and the desire to succeed. Malcolm Drilling Company quickly began to experience growth in the San Francisco area.

“He had the vision that he would be better served if he wanted to have a business, if he came out of the seat of his drill rig and ran the company,” Rasband continued. “He learned how to put good people around him who had expertise in different areas, whether it was engineering or the foundation drilling industry. He found those people and basically put those people to work with him.”

Malcolm Drilling Company and its specialty drilling services began to grow regionally into Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas and eventually across the U.S. It has since expanded into offices in Florida, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin.

The team can even go as far as Hawaii and the Pacific Rim to complete projects for clients. Malcolm International operates from Panama to serve international clients who require the company’s expertise and equipment.

Under the visionary leadership of John Malcolm and the team of industry leading professionals he assembled, the company has continued to identify new market opportunities, as well as new technologies, processes and equipment. This innovation and technological advancement have spurred the company’s success.

“He was always keeping his foot on technology growth and changes in the industry,” Rasband explained. “He utilized the money that he made to keep Malcolm Drilling on top of the technology curve. He was the first to bring oscillator techniques of doing drill shafts into the United States.”

“He was one of the first to bring duplex rotary anchor drilling into the United States. He was one of the first to expand from some of the older technologies to European technologies: on top drag drill rigs have the ability to have more torque and crowd and are able to drill deeper, which allows the owner to get a superior product than from other technologies that are out there.”

Malcolm Drilling Company offers deep foundation, retention systems, ground improvements such as soil mixing and jet grouting, dewatering, unique applications and design build services. One of its unique projects involved removing a well casing without disturbing the surrounding ground. Malcolm Drilling Company serves as a one-stop-shop for all of its clients’ specialty foundation drilling needs including dealing with unstable soil conditions or high ground water levels.

“We’re talking about a company that basically started out with one man drilling holes in the ground and filling them up with concrete to a company that now provides and services all the geotechnical foundation, earth retention and ground improvement techniques under one room – under one umbrella.”

“The companies that we work for are the best of the best in the U.S.,” Rasband noted of its clients. “They like working with us. They know we have the largest fleet of equipment –probably of any one company in the world. When you consider that we have in excess of $250 million worth of equipment; that is quite significant.”

Malcolm Drilling Company’s impressive fleet of equipment includes top drive rotary rigs, oscillators/rotators, ground improvement equipment, restricted access machines and cranes of various sizes and capabilities. These enable it to undertake a wide range of projects of varying complexities.

“Our clients represent the who’s who of the construction industry, both on the civil side, in other words, roads, bridges and waterworks and, of course, on the private side, which is buildings even into housing projects. We cover basically the full gamut of work.”

“Mr. Malcolm always wanted to make sure that everybody understood that our clients were basically our now and our future,” explained Rasband. “We always work to complete our work on time and ahead of time. We have never walked from a job. In other words, we have completed every single project that we were under contract to complete.” There are not many companies that can say that, he says.

At Malcolm Drilling Company, there has always existed a vision to become the largest and safest specialty drilling contractor in the world, and though it is well on its way, it is not resting on its laurels.

“When you work for Malcolm Drilling, you’re not working for a company in say Holland or Great Britain, or whatever the case may be, you’re working for John Malcolm, so as he has grown his company, the employees that join Malcolm Drilling to work for him gain a respect and knowledge of who they are working for, understanding that on any project they are representing the owner, John Malcolm,” noted Rasband.

Malcolm Drilling Company has long been an active member of the ADSC is an international trade organization for specialized foundation drillers that. John Malcolm serves as a member of The International Association of Foundation Drilling’s (ADSC) Past Presidents Advisory Council (he served as president from 1978 to 1979), and Malcolm Drilling Company continues to receive great benefits from membership with this organization to this day.

At Malcolm Drilling Company safety is of paramount importance. For eight consecutive years (2008 to the present) it has received the ADSC-IAFD award that recognizes outstanding commitments to safety. The company has also received the ADSC’s prestigious Drilled Shaft Quality Construction, Contractor of the Year Award.

“We plan all of our projects out well in advance of actually moving onto the project, and through that planning, we not only pre-plan and daily plan what activities are going to take place, we do that in such a manner that we know exactly what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.”

Safety and quality at Malcolm Drilling Company are embraced in the company culture “When you talk about safety, everyone in the construction industry or in the manufacturing industry likes to say ‘Be safe!’ but that has no meaning. What does it mean ‘to be safe’? So, number one, we plan and execute our work to the highest degree of quality, and as a result, we do it in a safe manner.”

The company’s commitment to continuous improvement extends beyond the integration of new and innovative technology, equipment and safer, more efficient techniques to include its people and their development.

“Through the direction of John Malcolm, we implemented an internal training program,” said Rasband. “With a product called Malcolm U (Malcolm University), we meet monthly on the management side to train our project managers and estimators on the different aspects of the specialty nature of our work.”

It covers everything “from contract negotiation, safety issues to quality control methods and procedures that we are implementing,” he said. “Then we fold that down through the entire company so that everyone gets better instead of just expecting it to happen through attrition.”

Malcolm Drilling Company, as Rasband identified, “has a certain swagger in the industry. Our people know that to be a Malcolm employee, you have to be the best, and you have to perform the best, and you have to be safe, and you have to carry yourself and what you represent as an employee for the company, in such a manner that John Malcolm would be proud.”

There is plenty of opportunity here for those who want to excel. Hard work will not only advance the individual, it greatly benefits the company as a whole, and Malcolm, Rasband and the rest of the leadership team recognize that.

“We’ve always told our employees, and we have full gamut from kids who didn’t graduate high school to people with Masters Degrees – we told them, if you work hard, you can progress in the company, and you will be recognized for your hard work. We have a mantra in the company and a philosophy of hard work, great effort, great quality, and everybody goes home to their families every night.”

“You see other companies that expand. They lose track of what their core values are,” Rasband continued, “We still have goals in the company to grow the company but only in a manner that can keep our core values.”

Malcolm Drilling Company looks after its employees, their wellbeing and their safety, and in turn, those employees produce output of the highest quality. It has the resources, the capacity and the people to get the job done right the first time, on-time and to specification.

“By being safe, by having the highest quality and by having the resources and capabilities to perform our work, it brings a winning combination to every project,” Rasband concluded. And that’s why Malcolm Drilling Company holds its place as the industry’s leading specialty foundation drilling contractor.



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