About Our Company, America's premier provider of drilled foundations for electrical transmission lines.



Tri-State Drilling, Inc. is America's premier provider of drilled foundations for electrical transmission lines. Since 1955, our customers have known that when they choose Tri-State, they are choosing a company they can count on. Our experienced crews do top-quality work, and will complete your job on time, leaving the site in tip-top shape. With today’s ever tighter schedules, it’s tough to compete with Tri-State Drilling’s proven track record of quality, reliability and innovation. We continue to retain the know-how that, year after year, has made us the best-in-class provider, nationwide. Let our experience, skill and large fleet assist your company as, together, we help America keep the lights on.



Since its founding in 1955, Tri-State Drilling, Inc. has been a family-run business. Today, in its second generation, Tri-State is recognized nationwide for its expertise in electrical transmission line foundations, but the company began as a municipal water well contractor and pump supplier. In those early days, the company had just four employees and co-owners: driller Wayne Riethmiller, driller’s helper Ralph Eisele, mechanic Clarence Berthiaume, and pump salesman Bob Melcher.

In the 1960s, Tri-State’s focus gradually shifted from drilling for water to drilling in order to remove water. We developed techniques for opening and maintaining wet holes, allowing us to install dewatering pumps. During that time, we also began installing drilled foundations for buildings.

In the 1970s, our utility work led to two other innovations. Our ability to maintain wet holes enabled us to install foundations in wet soils. Since utilities typically span great distances, Tri-State developed new techniques for quick and easy mobilization. This mobility brought us to the attention of power line contractors and by 1980, power line foundation work grew to over half of our total volume. In the late 1980s this expedited mobilization also made Tri-State attractive to the wireless industry, whose need for towers exploded in the mid-1990s.

Today, the lion's share of our work is for power line contractors, throughout the United States. Keep a lookout. You just might see our rigs at work in your own community. And although Tri-State has grown significantly in size and volume over the years, if you stop to say hello, you just might meet a son or grandson of our original founders.



While dewatering for utility contractors, whose jobs spread over long lines, Tri-State developed a very mobile operation. There were two pieces of equipment that helped to change the Tri-State business focus --  the Watson truck-mounted drill rig and the Barco boom truck. This equipment made it possible for crews to move to a new location and set up, ready to drill, faster than ever before. This new capability launched Tri-State's move into the power line construction industry.

From Tri-State's regional base in the Midwest, expansion to other large markets proceeded at a rapid pace. Soon, Chicago, New England, and the entire East Coast became as familiar to Tri-State crews as the plains of Minnesota. With the onset of wireless phones in the late '70s and early '80s,  Tri-State was mobilizing across the entire nation, providing foundations for microwave and cell towers as well as power lines.

As always, Tri-State is looking toward the future—purchasing the latest drilling equipment and pursuing drilling innovations. A recent addition to our stable of drill rigs is our 48” diameter Ingersol Rand Cluster Drill. It is capable of boring holes into solid granite at advance rates of 1’ to 2’ per hour. With this acquisition Tri-State can now say, "there is no rock we cannot drill."

So whether it is hard rock, unstable soils, high water tables, or pier diameters to 18', it's all in a day's work for Tri-State crews and equipment across the U.S. Whatever your project -- The Rockies to the Appalachians, swampland, desert, or tidewater flats -- Tri-State has:

  • Environmentally sensitive experts for drilling in Flood Plains, Tidal Flats, and Marshlands.
  • Management and employees that have more than 800 Years of Combined Drilling Experience.