EDITOR’S NOTE: South King Media Founder/Publisher Scott Schaefer is a partner with John White in MII 1, LLC, the company that produced “The Maury Island Incident” film. White is also an Advertiser with us.
In the pile driving world, John White is a commanding figure whose reputation demands the industry’s attention.
From his humble White Center roots, to serving as the CEO of Antaeus Foundation Equipment, White has set himself apart as a renowned industrial scale inventor. Having always deviated from convention, White is a hyperlocal, lifelong resident of the greater Seattle area, and graduate of the Foster School of Business. White can be found supporting the local art scene or producing movies like “The Maury Island incident,” a true story about the US government’s cover up of a UFO incident that took place directly across from his waterfront home in Burien, Washington, 10 days before Roswell in 1947.
However, White’s passion is innovating pile driving machinery. From equipment operations to pioneering advancements while at International Construction Equipment (ICE) Seattle and ICE California, White’s inventiveness eventually led him to establish his own pile driving equipment company in 1990. ACE (American Construction Equipment), aptly emblazoned with their ACE of spades logo, became synonymous with durability and reliability. Machines bearing this emblem continue to be the go-to machine of their owners to this day.
After selling his shares in APE, a company he co-founded and revolutionized with 43 patents, White retired in 2012 at the age of 57. He says his passion for innovation would not be contained, and due to popular demand from former clients, White launched Antaeus Foundation Equipment one day after a 4-year non compete ended in June of 2016. White now proudly runs Antaeus with three of his four sons, whom he has trained as pile equipment specialists since they were young.
No stranger to adversity, rising from the ranks as a long time pile driver, in recent years White has overcome intense competition from his competitors. White attributes his success to his innovative spirit and steadfast determination, which has enabled him to elevate above his competitors by introducing a line of pile drivers equipped with cutting-edge sound deadening technology, capable of driving ram weights of up to 90 metric tons, made possible by one-piece forged rams. His patented technology, which White calls the “Hush Harmonizer”, utilizes a special rubber ring that squeezes the anvil and the ram during impact, effectively reducing both line and point source sound “like firm fingers on a giant tuning fork”, White said. The source of this innovation was based on White ’s realization that relying on rams made of several different pieces is a recipe for failure and soon to be a relic of the past. White is confident that the evolution of his line of pile drivers will enhance the reliability and durability of the products that Antaeus offers.
White has most recently showcased his mastery of deep foundation technology by closing a groundbreaking multi million dollar equipment order from Houston-based Orion Marine Group, in collaboration with Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co and Dragados USA. White’s latest pile driving innovations will be used by the companies to execute on their $2.8 billion bid for the construction of a state-of-the-art submarine dry dock in the historic Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Oahu, Hawaii.
White’s dedication to understanding the origins of noise in pile drivers, both above and below water, has resulted in an industry-changing solution that has left pile driving experts nonplussed. During a test pile at the Pearl Harbor project, involving driving 85-inch diameter, 120-foot long steel pipe piles, noise monitoring observers were confounded by the silent operation of Antaeus’ massive hammers. From a distance of 1,000 feet, noise monitors registered less than 85 dB per blow. To put that into perspective, a standard hair dryer registers at 90 dB. White’s innovative technology registers well below the industry required range, an achievement he attributes not only to Antaeus’ groundbreaking technology, but also the soundproofing of the CAT diesel hydraulic power units.
White has developed a clever play on Greek mythology in branding his new line of machines, which he says “adds to the power of an already impressive lineup”. Antaeus also sold four of the largest vibratory pile drivers in the world, the 400 named “Poseidon,” and two model 600s known as “Zeus.” Antaeus’ is poised to further revolutionize the pile driver industry with their new vegetable hydraulic oil powered pile driver, co-invented by White and Mark Miller, of Tacoma, Washington, a former biochemist for Mobile. Dubbed “Ichor,” after the Ancient Greek blood of the gods, this vegetable oil outperforms standard alternatives by handling higher temperatures and providing superior performance. Antaeus expects to successfully pivot their brand into the vegetable hydraulic oil business with this machine.
White is planning to introduce another one of his latest inventions, the “Tier 4” diesel hammer in a recently secured massive project in the Bahamas’ Half Moon Cay that Antaeus recently closed. This diesel hammer is equipped with an exhaust system that recovers and regenerates unburned fuel, enhancing its efficiency and sustainability, while reducing noise and particle pollution. “Once the pile driving industry sees this new technology,” White said, “why would anyone want to buy anything else?” White’s aim for innovation has been environmentally sustainable practices that reduce the effects of various pollutants.
White has a number of patents pending that will ultimately fall in line with those he currently holds. With more than seven new revolutionary technologies in the pile driving foundation industry, White also oversees pile driving operations for the Seattle-based PACO Ventures. PACO has facilities all up and down the West Coast, including Western Canada, and recently opened a new facility in Houston Texas. As White continues to invent and introduce revolutionary technologies to the pile driving equipment industry, he plans to hold a technology conference in Seattle in the summer of 2024. This conference promises to showcase unrivaled technological advancements. Hosted at PACO Ventures, Antaeus’ largest distributor, this event is set to be a game-changer for the industry.
POSTSCRIPT: White and Antaeus proudly collaborates with several Northwest suppliers, including Control Power, Pacific Rubber, Fluid Design, NC Machinery, Hydraulics Industries, and Gulf Controls, all of whom contribute to the exceptional quality of Antaeus’ products. White’s go-to prototyping of his inventions is done with coordination from an inventive machinist who owns Jake Design Garage.