WHO WE ARE - Cayou and the crew
Thompson Piledriving Co Inc has been an industry leader in the piledriving and marine construction business for over 40 years. Since 1971 we have provided a customer service oriented business serving all waterfront homeowners from the extreme reaches of the southern Puget Sound to the Canadian border including the San Juan Islands. This attentiveness is why our customers feel comfortable with us whether we are designing and building a new dock, or replacing pilings or decking or other repairs to an existing structure.
Our equipment, facility, and expertise includes residential or commercial dock construction and installation, dock repair or replacement, commercial marina repair and renovation, bulkhead repair and replacement, marine towing, tugboat and barge services, fireworks barge service, environmental beach cleanup, creosote removal, piling removal and replacement, derelict boat removal and disposal, onsite and offsite mitigation, boatlift installation, marine railway repair and installation, beach access stairways, and many other waterfront construction services in and around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. For a more comprehensive list and portfolio of our past work check out our services page!
From our central Puget Sound industrial facility in Port Orchard, we are able to reach Seattle, Hood Canal, Tacoma, Bainbridge Island, Gig Harbor, Olympia, and the San Juans (or anywhere in between) with our tugboat, piledriver, crane barges, and deck barges with ease. View our consolidated map!
Cliff Thompson started Thompson PileDriving Co Inc in 1971, after having worked as a tugboat captain for many years. Cliff's family worked in logging, rafting, towing, and marine construction for many years, and Cliff was raised on the water in the San Juan Islands. Cliff started Thompson Pile Driving with the purchase of a fixed lead piledriver called the SCOTER, and towed it all around Puget Sound and the San Juan islands with a small wood tug called the SCUFFY. Cliff built many docks all around the Puget Sound for many years. In about 1980, Cliff purchased the CAYOU, our current tug, and a couple small wood deck barges to better serve his customers. In 1984, the land was purchased where our current industrial dock is located in Port Orchard, and Cliff built the industrial dock and moorage that we use today.
In 1999, Paul Fritts, who had been a general contractor and plumber for 25 years, began working with Cliff with the idea of purchasing the business and property. Paul finalized the purchase in October of 2000. Cliff and Paul became great friends, and with training over the next 3 years, Paul took over the operations of the business. Cliff is now retired, and enjoys cruising in his yacht, spending the summers in Alaska.
Since 2000, many things have changed, but the one constant has been customer service. Cliff had the attitude that the customer deserves the most bang for his buck, and Paul has exactly the same attitude. The customer is first and foremost in our mind, and we give the customer at least what he paid for, if not more. Each employee at Thompson Pile Driving agrees the best part of their career is the relationships built with our customers. We have created friendships with amazing people and are so proud such great people are attracted to such great workmanship.
We still use the fixed lead piledriver on jobs, but we have also acquired several more barges to better service our projects and customers. We have 2 crane barges, each equipped with spuds to hold the barges in place. Each crane barge is equipped with a 50 ton crane for ease of construction. We also own a vibratory pile driver/extractor which is many times the preferred method of pile driving. With the crane barge and vibratory hammer, we are able to easily build jobs that were much more difficult previously. Also, the permitting and environmental agencies are more satisfied with this method.
Other pieces of equipment we use include our landing craft, in which we can haul our skidsteer loader, excavator, or bulldozer, which are often utilized on our construction sites.
Meet the crew
1951 50' steel tug boat
The CAYOU is a 50 foot single screw steel tug which was built in 1951 by Nichols in Hood River, Oregon. Nichols built many of these boats, mostly for harbor work. We have owned her for over 30 years now, and have found her to be the absolute best tug for our business. In 2002, we replaced the Waukesha Diesel and Capitol 3:1 reduction gear with a Caterpillar diesel and Twin Disc 4.5:1 reduction gear. We have 400 HP with about 6 tons of bollard pull. We have make up winches and wires that we use for pushing barges ahead as well as towlines for towing barges astern. We normally tow 3 barges astern to our jobsites. The 110 foot crane barge, a 60 foot material barge, and the 50 foot piledriver. Sometimes, if the occasion requires, we will tow 5 barges in a line. The CAYOU is named for Henry T Cayou, who was a well known political figure on Orcas island, a piledriver in his own right, and uncle to Cliff Thompson. Many references are still made on Orcas Island to the name Cayou.
Our beloved Cayou is the 1st place winner of Harbor Days tug boat races 2007 & 2008, 400HP class. She is also featured on the front page of Harbor Days web site.
View more pictures of our beautiful tug, Cayou.
Paul Fritts fell in love with the puget sound, and boats in general, while growing up. The family spent many weekends cruising the Puget Sound. After high school, Paul apprenticed as a plumber and achieved journeyman status after which he started a small plumbing business in 1982. He was a licensed general contractor and did many remodels, bought and sold houses, and built homes on speculation. The plumbing business had many successes, however, Paul had a strong desire to work on the water. After many years of admiring a little tugboat pass his home in Port Orchard, Paul decided to find out who it was and what they were doing. Paul met Cliff Thompson and initiated the purchase of Thompson Pile Driving Co in 2000.
After over 13 years, Paul feels Thompson Pile Driving has been a wonderful business, as we get to deal with some of the best people in the area, as our customers. Being able to spend our days on or near the water, associate with boats and heavy equipment, and on occasion, go for boat rides. What better way to spend your working life?
Paul holds a master of towing license, endorsed for assistance towing,endorsed for sailing, endorsed for radar, transportation worker identification credential and crane certification.
Paul lives on a 13 acre horse ranch with the love of his life near Allyn with two horses, three dogs, a cat, and plenty of ranch work to keep busy. He enjoys motorcycle riding, and loves the weather in Tucson, AZ when he has the chance to vacation there.
Eric went to college to be a pharmacist, and after working as a pharmacist assistant, returned to the construction field. Construction is a great way to make a living, where you are outside and able to see what you have done at the end of the day. Eric worked in the foundation, framing, and remodeling fields before beginning work at Thompson Pile Driving. Eric started at Thompson in 2003 and is the general foreman. He is looking to take over the business if Paul retires.
Eric lives in Bremerton, has a wife and three children, and loves to ride dirt bikes with the kids.