by Diana Barnum
Licensing requirements for blasting differ from state to state.
Although Koker Drilling Company and its subsidiary Webster Blasting
Company are Ohio-based and most of their blasting operations take place in
Ohio, company owner Larry Koker prefers Kentucky licensing.
Blaster’s License requires a two-day test and seminars,” said Larry Koker,
“It’s the toughest in the nation, so I make sure my people have
The Koker Drilling Company, founded in 1958, is known for
quality drilled shaft foundations. Three generations of drillers have
installed thousands of shafts for many buildings, towers, masts, bridges,
dewatering wells, sound barrier walls and retention systems.
shafts are high bearing and shear. Koker’s professional estimators are
familiar with the soil and substrata conditions in most geographic areas,
minimizing costly “extras” that may occur on the job site. They conduct
feasibility studies and on-site consultation with the owners and design
engineers, when deep foundations are advised.
Blasting Company focuses on site development, highway construction,
utility trenches, quarries, pre-splitting and concrete demolition.
Koker was instrumental in the research and adaptation of the
carbide-tipped rock bit, which provided dramatic improvements in rock
drilling production. As part of the companies’ efforts to continue their
commitment to excellence, Koker continually searches for industry
advancements in drilling technology and new product developments. And they
want the best training they can find for their people. For continued
education, Koker sends their staff to the Kentucky Blasting Conference
“Explosives is a big business in Kentucky,” said Larry
Schneider, director of Kentucky Division of Explosives and Blasting,
referencing their many coal mines and quarries. “We started the program in
1972, earlier than most other states and require 16 hours of retraining
every three years. Kentucky is pretty progressive.”
A couple of current
jobs for Koker Drilling and Webster Blasting include constructing
foundations for 13 ODOT bridges and site development for Stein Mart
department stores in Westerville and Delaware County. As soon as pre-blast
surveys are completed, their operations will begin.
Summit Testing and
Inspection Company in Akron and Bowser-Morner, Inc. in Dayton conduct
pre-blast surveys for Koker. With the owners’ permission, they will
inspect homes and businesses in the marked Stein Mart areas. The
inspection is for protection against future claims after blasting and
contains photographs and measurements of existing cracks in the
settlement, driveways, sidewalks, etc. Koker boasts zero claims filed
Another project coming up is the construction of Westridge Estates
with Developers Management Corporation (DMC) in the Akron area.
called Koker to blast rock for utilities; sewer and water. Their $100,000
Phase I site development calls for approximately 3,300 feet of sewer,
utilities and manholes and 12 basements. When streets are cored out and
cut stone is down, a two-man crew will blast below what they need with an
Ingersoll 490, making 3 1/2 -inch diameter holes, generally in limestone
and hard sandstone. They’ll make 20 to 30 holes 4- to 5-feet apart,
varying from 6 feet to 30 feet in depth, depending upon rock type. In all,
the crew will set off about four or five shots per day.
and powder man keep in constant touch because within 10 feet, rock can
change,” explained Koker.
Koker prefers non-electric caps so that no
radio frequencies can set them off accidentally. For caps, detonation
boxes and other blasting needs, they turn to Evenson Explosives based in
Morris, IL, and Austin Powder of Cleveland. And they set up their own
seismograph equipment from D and L Thomas Equipment Company, Geophysics
An ongoing project, won through bidding for the second
year in a row, is with AEP (American Electric Power). Koker crews travel
throughout 22 states drilling foundations for AEP power poles.
tough standards definitely keep them busy. To learn more about Kentucky
licensing, contact Kentucky Division of Explosives and Blasting, 1025
Capital Center Dr., Suite 301, P.O. Box 2244, Frankfort, KY 40601. Call:
(502) 573-0140 or fax inquiries to: (502) 573-0152.
information about Webster Blasting Company or Koker Drilling Company,
contact them at P.O. Box 250, Vandalia, OH 45377. Call: (937) 667-1425 or
fax inquiries to: (937) 667-0578. E-mail inquiries to: email@example.com,
or visit the company’s website at: