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Our Story


An Opportunity from Loss


Paul Campbell, Jr. worked for a major rock drilling equipment manufacturer for many years as an engineer designing hydraulic drills. When the business climate and company priorities began to change, there were many rumors about the engineers losing their jobs due to downsizing. On January 20th, 1993, Paul called his wife Dawn and said “I’ve just been told I am no longer needed here and I have two hours to pack up my stuff and leave.” 


Paul walked out of his workplace for the last time with all of his things in a box. He came home in the middle of the day, and his wife said “Well, I’m looking forward to doing a new thing together.” She was excited for the new frontier, whatever that would be. 


Paul started PCA Mechanical Engineering, LLC. as a consulting company, and began consulting with other companies who needed his expertise in rock drills. As with most new start-up businesses, he put a desk and computer in the basement and called it “the office.”  While helping other companies on their projects, he always had the desire to design and build something of his own.


Made in America


One night, Paul was awakened in the middle of the night by a dream. He got up, took a pad of paper and a pencil, and just started sketching a design for what became the PCA304 drill. It was a “gift from heaven.”  On a shoestring budget, he was able to design the drill, prototype it, test it, and begin the manufacturing process all on his own in between consulting jobs. 


After doing market analysis and selling the first 12 drills, Paul started realizing the potential of what he had started.


Dawn shares a fond memory of the first courtesy visit they took to one of their customers: 


“One day we decided to travel to Michigan to do a courtesy check for a company that had purchased 12 drills. The owner of the company was very busy but when he found out we had come to make sure they were happy with the drills, the owner dropped everything and invited us to his office. He was very touched that we would make a courtesy visit all the way from Virginia. He said it was such a gentlemanly thing to do. He said, ‘Paul, your drills are not just amazing, but we’re really making money from these drills. You’ve got something really special here, and I love the fact that you are doing business as a family.  Is there anything I can do to help you?’” 


For over twenty years, our commitment to our customers and our zeal to do our best has not changed. 


The New Frontier


Eventually, PCA outgrew the basement space and began renting a space in a machine shop.  Paul hired a few people, figured out the nuances of business tax codes, and experienced the ebbs and flows of prosperity and lean years that comes with being a business owner. After the lean years, the Lord provided a way for Paul and Dawn to move to a new house with a separate office space on the property. Paul now works in his home office, still overseeing the assembling, painting, and testing of each drill that gets sent out to every customer. When he isn’t working on innovating and designing, he spends time with his family (currently 4 kids and 7 grandkids!) and volunteering at his church.


Paul’s oldest son, Colin, graduated in 2000 from Virginia Tech with a degree in mechanical engineering and began working with PCA. Following that, he gained experience working with a variety of other engineering companies, and then began consulting himself. He is now working with PCA again, bringing his design skills and expertise to innovate and expand our products. 


There is a joy of working with family, and as an added bonus, Paul’s second son (also named Paul) married a woman who also happens to be an engineer. Taharah Katherine graduated in 2011 from UNC-Charlotte with a degree in mechanical engineering. She gained experience as an application engineer, bridging the gap between the engineering design team and the customer for companies like Honda, Tesla, Corvette, and NASCAR race teams. 


Dawn, the steadfast prayer warrior, has been in the advisory role since the conception of PCA Mechanical Engineering, and has been a vital source of encouragement. She joyfully says,


“It’s been such a pleasure to have a business of our own, to develop relationships with customers that begin to feel like family. And to have the satisfaction of knowing our customers have a successful business because we have a successful drill is just amazing.”


Paul has set the example and the standard for what it means to work hard and not give up. We believe that we need to do all things as unto the Lord and do it fully. He taught us that we need to love God with all of our beings and love our neighbors (and customers) as ourselves. That is the foundation of our business. We are excited to be marching full steam ahead with more ingenuity and more innovation into whatever the Lord has planned. 


And to think, it all got started with a dream and a drill.


Proverbs 16:9 “the heart of a man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes His steps.”


Paul Campbell, Jr with early production 304 drills

Interested in purchasing a drill? Click the Contact Us button or call us at 888.70.DRILL

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