• 2/9/2021
  • By Doosan Infracore North America LLC

COMPANY INFORMATION

Business: Carolina Drilling
In business since: 1981
Location: Mocksville, North Carolina
Doosan equipment: DX180LC-5, DX225LC-5, DX300LC-5 and DX350LC-5 crawler excavators; DL250-5 wheel loader
Doosan dealer: ACT Construction Equipment

Jason Tutterow knows how to have a blast on the job. His company, Carolina Drilling, specializes in explosions that bust up stubborn rock below cities across the southeast. He clears the way for sewer and water pipes. It’s work few consider fun: The projects run long, are often very tough and need more employees than other construction gigs.

“It’s hard to find anybody to do this kind of work anymore,” Jason says. “So a lot of my drillers have been here since the ’80s and ’90s.”

Guys like James Satterfield, Jack Meadows and Alvis Bell have been with Carolina Drilling for decades, some back to 1981. That’s when Jason’s late dad, James Larry Tutterow, founded the Mocksville, North Carolina, business. It was old-school then. Still is, in many ways.

But a lot has changed, too. Today, Carolina Drilling works in Georgia, South Carolina and as far west as Tennessee. The company applied its old-school ethic to become one of the region’s top drilling-blasting companies — all with a fleet of new-school equipment from Doosan.

DRILL. DETONATE. DIG.

When soil gets rocky enough to halt even an excavator bucket, that’s when Carolina Drilling comes in. First, a drilling rig lets the team drive holes into the soil. Explosives are then carefully placed in the ground. After that: kaboom. A chain of explosions ripples through the ground, forming an earthen wave above as they detonate.

Once the dust clears, a parade of Doosan® machines get to work. Breakers attached
to some excavators help hammer down the post-blast boulders into smaller chunks. Meanwhile, operators in excavators transfer the hammered rock with buckets into a crusher. The processed material is then utilized onsite.

Jason’s teams have the process down pat. They’ve carved out space for shopping centers, high rises and residential areas throughout the region. But their bread and butter lies in city contracts.

“We specialize in drilling and blasting for water and sewer pipe” Jason says. “We probably lead the East Coast in that.”

THE TATER TUTTEROW WAY

Jason dips into everything for Carolina Drilling, including day-to-day management, bidding and buying equipment — pretty much anything in-office.

“I like to be drilling and blasting and running pressures,” Jason says. “But I don’t have time to do it anymore.”

Not since 2015, at least. That’s when Jason took over the business after the passing of his father, James Tutterow. Known as “Tater” in the community, the elder Tutterow launched Carolina Drilling. James named the crushing operation ­— a sister business called Reese Crushing — after Jason’s daughter. A land-clearing company, Cana Contracting, was later added to the mix.

Today, Jason is part-owner of both businesses with other members of his family — his mom, Frances Tutterow; sister, Elizabeth Tutterow Burchette; and wife, Page Tutterow. But they still employ several of the drill hands Jason’s dad hired. They work with the same sales specialist, too: Brandon Wilkinson of Charlotte’s ACT Construction Equipment.

FROM YELLOW TO ORANGE

The family’s partnership with Doosan stretches back even further. A rock drill salesman recommended they try an orange machine. “We were like, nah,” Jason recalls. “We were Caterpillar people at the time. That’s all we’d ever had.”

Eventually, they tried out a 30-ton Doosan excavator with a rock breaker attached. Then, they bought another. Both performed without a hitch, he says — not one hiccup.

“I’ve had machines hold up for 20 years now,” Jason says. “I’ve switched it from my [breaker] to a bucket to move massive boulders. It still runs, man. It’s hard to beat.”

Today, Carolina Drilling has 11 Doosan machines in its fleet. Most are excavators ranging from a DX180LC-5 up to a DX350LC-5, including five DX300LC-5 machines. A DL250-5 wheel loader aids crushing operations.

The Tutterows started out buying smaller Doosan excavators before finding their sweet spot with the 300-sized machines. Jason calls them the perfect match for their crusher’s size: They’re big enough to move material quickly, but not so quick that they back up the crusher and need to idle (and burn valuable fuel).

Jason also values the two-way auxiliary hydraulic flow, which comes standard on Doosan excavators. The excavators’ ability to flip regularly between drills and rock breakers on his jobsites is “a big deal” to him.

It’s just one innovation of many over the years that convinced him to stick with Doosan.

“When I first started, Doosan was sort of a basic meat-and-potatoes machine,” Jason says. “And now you’ve got a lot more features on it, the bells and whistles the bigger brand machines came out with. Doosan has caught up with the so-called big boys.”

Since its founding by Jason’s father, Carolina Drilling has kept its old-school work ethic while climbing toward the top of its field. And Doosan has grown right along with it. The company doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Jason says. “Let’s put it that way.”

See Jason's Doosan machines at work:

Doosan has caught up with the so-called big boys.
Jason Tutterow , Carolina Drilling

Seams Easy Enough

A recent 150-house project in Wake Forest, North Carolina, came with unseemly soil for Carolina Drilling. The rock below the 96-acre development proved “very seamy,” Jason Tutterow says, with layers of soil and rock whose seams let energy from his crew’s explosives escape easily — effectively weakening the blasts.

Without the pressure necessary for a sufficient blast, Tutterow’s team turned to decking. Decking is a process of placing explosives (or “decks”) at precise points within a hole so as to “seal” the seam to allow a proper blast. It worked, leaving the crew’s Doosan® excavators to help break up and crush the blasted-up rock into ABC — or aggregate base course — used to support roads paved within the development.

Pictured left to right: Jason Steelman, ACT Construction Equipment; Jason Tutterow, Carolina Drilling; and Brandon Wilkinson, ACT Construction Equipment.