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Home | HOUSTON | Spotlight | Spotlight - Carter Davis, Dura Pier Foundation Repair

Spotlight - Carter Davis, Dura Pier Foundation Repair

image Carter Davis, owner of Dura Pier Foundation Repair and Vulcan Foundation Repair

HOUSTON - Carter Davis stays busy even when he’s relaxing. He owns two foundation repair businesses, has invested heavily in his grandkids, works at his church, then remodels a house in his spare time. So, when he goes on a cruise ship, Davis has definitely earned the down time.





Tell us about your educational background.
    I went to Briargrove Elementary, T.H. Rogers Junior High and Robert E. Lee Senior High in Houston. I joined the Navy right after high school and became an electronics technician. Once discharged I got married and went to work in her family’s foundation repair business. I went to night school at the University of Houston for eight years, just taking part-time courses, and I graduated with honors with a degree in Purchasing and Material Management.

Now tell us about your time in the Navy.
    I Joined the navy at the end of Vietnam and I went to Boot Camp in San Diego. After 2 weeks leave, I went back to San Diego for six weeks of basic electronics training and then on to Great Lakes, IL, for electronics technician “A” school. Then I went to Groton, CT, for submarine school, and I had orders to go on an attack submarine out of Pearl Harbor, but about a week before I was supposed to fly out, they changed my orders. They decided they needed me in Norfolk, VA, on an aircraft carrier. A few months later I shipped out on a Mediterranean cruise. It was the maiden voyage of the USS Nimitz CVN 68 aircraft carrier.
    We went to Tangiers, Morocco. That was first stop. Went to Naples, Italy several times. Went to the Rock of Gibraltar. Naples was our main port. I only signed up for two years. By the time I got done with all my schooling and a little time in the fleet, it was time to go home. It was during Vietnam and they had two-year enlistments at the time. I think it was early March/late February [of 1975] when I signed up. When I joined the Navy I was 19, got out at 21. I’m now a proud member of the American Legion.

You actually own two foundation repair companies. What’s the story behind Vulcan?

    Vulcan started in ’79 by a man named Sid Beaver, and he was a friend of my father-in-law. After about 10 years he got ill and wanted to retire, but he didn’t want his warranties to go void because he had done a lot of work for friends and family. He made a handshake deal with my father-in-law, that if you honor my warranties, you can have my company. We did buy some of the equipment from him for cash, but there was no payment for the company. If my father-in-law shook your hand, that’s all you needed, and he promised, “I will honor your warranties, and if my son-in-law ever takes over the company, he will keep Vulcan open and will honor the warranties and will advertise it to where people can find it so the warranties will always be good.” Even though Sid and my father-in-law are long deceased, I have always honored my word by keeping Vulcan open and visible.

Does Vulcan do any active repair or just warrantying work that’s already been done?
    Both. I probably get 10 to 15 percent of our new work through Vulcan. People find it through the ads or Better Business Bureau. People like the fact that we’re an honorable company, do good work, and we have kept our word all these 30, 40 years. People buy you because they trust you.

When did Dura Pier start?
    My father-in-law started Dura Pier out of his small foundation business in 1986. Dad got cancer soon after and just couldn’t do it anymore. Working with his son David, I was the inspector/estimator and ran the marketing department while my brother-in-law ran the jobs and company. We did that for a number of years, and in 2011, David started another company and sold his interest in Dura Pier and Vulcan to me. 

How did you come to like the foundation work?

    The first thing [my father-in-law] did was hand me a shovel and said, “Learn how to level houses.” Then he gradually moved me into doing the estimating. I just liked it. I liked working with people more than sitting at an electronics desk with an ohm-meter, trying to figure out which transistor or which capacitor was bad. I just liked working outside and with people rather in a shop working with electronics stuff. 

What are some of the dynamics of the ground in the Houston area?
    The clay that we have here is called Black Gumbo. It’s nicknamed that because when it dries out, it shrinks enormously. When it starts raining it swells back up. They build these shallow foundations that are only four inches thick on top of this clay and it moves up and down. As it does, it cracks the walls inside people’s houses and the doors stick and you can’t open them. They really should build homes with piers to begin with, but they don’t. It usually takes 15 to 20 years before these signs of settlement become significant enough to need repair.
What happens during hurricanes?
    We had a lot of flooding from Harvey because it parked on top of us. When water goes in a house, it also goes under a house, and when the water recedes, it takes away a lot of the supporting soil. Over the next one to three years, all that erosion that took place when the water receded starts to show up. Unfortunately, by that time, homeowners have gotten their insurance money and put their house back together, and then all these cracks start appearing. Then, not only do they have to do all the cosmetic repairs all over again, they first must put the piers that they should have put in to begin with. But now all the insurance money is spent. They should’ve taken the insurance money and fixed the foundation correctly and then repaired the inside finishes.

What are some of the things you do in your spare time?

     I have two grandsons and I took both, starting at 6 years old, from Tiger Cub all the way to Eagle Scout, which took a little over 12 years for both boys. I served in every den leader position including Cub Master. In the Boy Scouts, I was the Assistant Scout Master and Advancement Chair, which made sure all the boys had earned everything needed to advance in rank. I am a Merit Badge Counselor for all the Eagle required Merit Badges plus about 20 more Merit Badges. Basically, I guided the boys all the way from start to finish.

Any other grandkids’ stories?

    In the midst of all that Scouting, I have a granddaughter that’s about to be 21. When she became 6 years old, I started English horse lessons with her once a week. We did that for six years and then when she turned 12, I bought her a horse and she started barrel racing lessons. During the next 8 years I took her to all her rodeos. Including high school rodeos, travelling all over Texas. I bought her a horse trailer and taught her how to drive with it.

What else do you do in your space time?

    I’m an ordained minister and was a men’s minister at my church for over 15 years. I took a leave from that to concentrate on Scouting with the boys. I was doing Scouting two days a week, plus camping, and horses, and it got to be too much. You must make choices with your limited time, and I wanted to mentor my grandkids first. Now, I’m beginning to go back into the ministry.

What do you do for fun? Save & return to list

    I have a house in Canyon Lake and I love remodeling it. One of my favorite things to do is to go up to the hill country and listen to music with friends and Bar-B-Q. My favorite vacation is cruising. It’s relaxing to turn off my phone and computer for a week or so and just watch the waves go by.
    Dura Pier Foundation Repair is a certified foundation repair specialist in Houston. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net