GPR Professional Services: Getting On The Radar

May 2011

In 2007, Ben Cleary founded a unique company, GPR Professional Services, Inc. (GPRPS), in Marblehead. "We're a full-service ground-penetrating radar corporation," Cleary explains. Our services include sales, training, and consulting, but our primary revenue source is service work. For the latter, we employ ground penetrating radar technology, which transmits an electromagnetic pulse into the medium we are scanning. Data is collected and sent to a monitor for inspection. From this data, we can resolve targets seen by the scanning equipment."

So how does this technology translate into a profitable enterprise? Some of GPRPS's scanning applications include bridge-deck inspection, utility location, concrete deterioration mapping, sinkhole locating, concrete inspection, golf course surveying, runway inspection, and forensic investigation.

"What's most challenging about ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is the data," he notes. "It takes a keen eye to interpret what has been collected by the equipment. What may look completely foreign to some people can be valuable information to the GPR professional."

Think of GPR as a truly preventive measure, as it can help avoid expensive and potentially life-threatening issues. For example, without the use of GPR technology, contractors working on large developments can run the risk of digging up a natural gas lines or cutting buried high-voltage electrical conduits.

Beyond the possible danger, Cleary's work has made for some interesting—and fun—experiences. "We've been asked to scan for a wide range of projects across North America," he says. We've been involved in everything from treasure hunting and golf course green scanning, to forensic investigation in conjunction with the Massachusetts and New Hampshire State police. Recently, we were asked to assist with the Natalie Holloway case in Aruba."

Cleary was brought into the industry by a friend who worked at Geophysical Survey Systems Inc., a world-renowned ground-penetrating radar manufacturing company in New Hampshire. After being hired to spearhead the North American development and sales of a new concrete scanning system, he "fell in love with this exciting technology" and consistently set company sales records. Within a few years, Cleary was considered among the world's most successful GPR business development managers, and decided to launch GPRPS.

Thus far, he says, the company continues to enjoy growth in a down economy, with sales for 2012 projected to be about $500,000. And he acknowledges Salem Five as a key part of his ongoing success. "When GPR Professional Services, Inc., opened its doors in September 2007, we did it with the help of Salem Five's Patty Smith," he says. "Through Patty and the bank, we were able to secure a line of credit, which was used to fund the start-up of our small business. Since then, I've shifted my personal accounts from another bank to Salem Five. I also use Web Cash Manager and bill pay services, both of which work very well. Bottom line: The Salem Five team there is always ready to help us with any issues, which is unique in today's world."

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