Scantech brings global geophysics expertise to Woocheen’s ocean-health family of businesses





October 20, 2023

Joining forces will create collaboration and scale that enables both companies to do even more to support critical infrastructure projects

A fascination with rocks and deep appreciation for the wild complexity of our planet drew Tom Davitt and Dr. Orla Dardis to geophysics work. And shared passions – among them for the land and for its long-term health – drew them to each other when they were both at university.

Now, after a decade traveling the world conducting geophysical investigations, Tom and Orla are more than 20 years into leading Scantech, the Mullingar, Ireland-based company they co-founded in 2002 to help builders of infrastructure better understand the nature of the ground beneath their projects.

In October 2023, Scantech joined the Woocheen family of businesses, bringing additional global experience and expertise to the company’s ocean health-focused geosciences work. The Woocheen philosophy is closely aligned with Scantech’s, Tom and Orla said.

“It’s about respecting each other and supporting one another through good times and bad,” Orla said.

Tom added: “Ours is a quirky little company, with great people who want to achieve excellence but in an environment that's not aggressive or over-the-top corporate. That's what we see in Woocheen as well, and in the other companies that are part of it. There’s drive and passion to do well – not just because it’s a business but because we're truly passionate about what we want to achieve.”

Joining forces will create collaboration and scale that enable Scantech to do even more to support critical infrastructure projects for renewable development, energy infrastructure, transportation and water. In addition to offshore wind energy work, such projects could include building and repair of airports, runways and bridges.

One of Scantech’s specialties is the ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey technique. This method uses high-frequency-pulsed electromagnetic (EM) waves to take images of entities below ground level without digging up the soil. It’s a safe, non-invasive way to understand the nature of soils and whether objects underground could present a health and safety hazard. Such surveys can locate tree roots, pipes, archeological items and even unmarked graves.


“We're all about delivering really high-quality data to our clients and the people we work with,” Orla said. “Being part of something bigger will give us more opportunity to do that. We have a lot to offer with our expertise and experience, both onshore and offshore. We're excited about that.”

Geophysics encompasses many other major sciences, including physics, astronomy, planetary science, geology, environmental science, oceanography, and meteorology. Geophysicists focus on the physical properties and processes of the Earth, such as the flow of liquid through rocks, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It’s a way to apply science and be outdoors – sometimes in remote places people don’t normally visit.

“This science offers a whole different perspective on the Earth and time, and on our significance,” Orla said. “Everything on this planet will keep going long after we're gone. Our discipline very much takes a long-term view.”

Thinking long-term and bringing the world’s experts together to do their best work are what Woocheen is all about. CEO Terry Downes said Scantech is among the best in the realm of geophysics.

“This is a specialized field, and there aren’t a huge number of players,” Terry said. “Scantech is the best in Ireland and the UK. You really do need to know what you're doing to operate the equipment properly and get the most out of surveys and interpret the data. Most importantly, Tom and Orla are just great people who care deeply about their employees, their customers and their work.

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with them.”