Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. announced Thursday it is moving its corporate headquarters to Houston, positioning the nation’s largest dredging services provider nearer to major regional projects and opportunities. The firm will also open regional offices in Jacksonville, Fla., and Staten Island, N.Y.
The move to Houston from from Oak Brook, Ill., which stems in part from changing industry dynamics, places the company closer to key regional customers and new markets, especially along the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River, Great Lakes said, noting that it has seen the dredging market shift from Northern Illinois and the Great Lakes to work along the Gulf Coast and in the northeast and southeast coastal regions.
“Having our main office in Texas and strategically opening new regional offices allows us to engage more effectively with our major customers like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, private energy clients, local communities and others, provide enhanced services and build a more efficient marketplace,” said CEO Lasse Petterson.
In particular, the company, which operates a fleet of specialized dredging vessels on every domestic coastline and throughout many inland U.S. waterways, as well as in international waters, said it is targeting work to support liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, large vessel oil tanker ports and offshore wind developments along the Eastern Seaboard that require specialized vessels and techniques.
The Houston headquarters, scheduled to open in early 2021 with its executive leadership team, will be staffed gradually over the next 12 months, Great Lakes said. It is initially searching for 20,000 square feet of office space in the Energy Corridor, between the Galleria and Beltway 8. The company will maintain a business and operations support center in the Oak Brook area.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott welcomed the company to Texas, calling it a U.S. leader in the dredging and marine infrastructure industries. “Houston offers a strong business climate and a talented workforce that will help the company grow and strengthen its ability to serve its customers. We thank Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. for bringing more jobs and economic prosperity to Houston and the entire state of Texas, and we look forward to this partnership,” he said.
Great Lakes said it will look to strengthen its efforts to attract and retain a specialized workforce in Texas and other regions, and noted that the move will allow it to leverage long-term relationships with the Center for Dredging Studies at Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University and other universities that feature coastal resilience and natural infrastructure initiatives.
“The move to Houston is a testament to the region’s extraordinary diversity of talent and competitive landscape and supports our important connections and outreach in geographies that will better serve our customer base,” Petterson said.
Among its recent projects in Texas and neighboring states, Great Lakes participated in deepening the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Harbor Island; maintenance dredging of Houston Ship Channel; dredging for liquefied natural gas facilities in Corpus Christi and Cameron Parish, La.; restoring Louisiana’s Whiskey Island, which helps protect Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes from storm surge; restoring barrier islands to protect coastal Mississippi; and building the barrier berms that protected Louisiana from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
To further support the move to Houston, the firm also recently opened strategic regional offices in Jacksonville, Fla., and Staten Island, N.Y., where it long has run major projects and expects to take on additional work.
In the Northeast, served by the Staten Island office, the company has been active since the early 1900s, maintaining an equipment yard there since 1910, completing major dredging in Boston and deepening the Port of New York and New Jersey. It also performed the majority of beach nourishment work along Long Island and the Jersey Shore after Superstorm Sandy.
The Jacksonville office will be serving a robust southeastern market, where the company has had key projects in every port and along the coastlines. That’s included reclaiming land that is now Port Miami, major deepening projects in Jacksonville, Savannah and Charleston and beach renourishment work from Florida to the outer banks of North Carolina.
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