To maintain an innovative, aggressive team approach to efficiently design, construct and rehabilitate complex water systems throughout the Western United States, without compromise to quality or safety.
A reliable water supply — it’s an absolute essential to keeping Southern California’s infrastructure running smoothly. So when Aqueducts begin to show the unmistakable signs of age-related deterioration, or new aqueduct systems require construction, firms like L. H. Woods & Sons, Inc. are engaged by public agencies to perform the construction.
LHWS, is a family-owned, third-generation general engineering contracting company based in Vista and primarily focused on serving the growing Southern California region’s expanding needs.
LHWS Specializes in the construction and rehabilitation of large-diameter pipelines. LHWS’ broad spectrum of expertise includes waterlines, water storage reservoirs, pump stations, tunnels, concrete encasement of live aqueducts, rehabilitation of large-diameter PCCP pipelines by installing steel liner pipe, valve vaults, complex mechanical systems, chlorination systems, road construction, sewer installations, storm drain construction, and cleaning and field cement mortar lining of large diameter waterlines with specialized equipment — providing the vital pipelines with the much-needed protection from corrosion.
THREE GENERATIONS OF EXCELLENCE
LHWS is known for its construction of large diameter pipelines and aqueduct systems and has constructed a large percentage of the pipelines and aqueduct systems in Southern California including the Inland Feeder Riverside Pipeline North (MWD) that included 8.5 miles of 144” steel water pipe; Inland Feeder Highland Pipeline (MWD) that included 5.25 miles of 144” steel water pipe; Sand Canyon Pipeline (Castaic Lake Water Agency) that included 5 miles of 48” steel water pipe; and Pipeline 4B Schedule 1 and 2 (SDCWA) that included 8.4 miles of 96” steel water pipe.
A recognized expert in rehabilitating older pipelines, today’s LHWS is, interestingly enough, at times being called upon to retrofit and rehabilitate some of the very same pipelines constructed by the company’s founder, Lee H. Woods, and his crews five decades ago. Projects like these provide a thread of continuity from the past to the present for employees and consumers alike, a reminder of the company’s unbroken commitment to excellence, innovation, and providing the finest quality materials and service available, as it has since its inception in 1958.
Originally formed as a partnership between Lee H. Woods and his son, James D. Woods Sr., to bid on the construction of a section of the San Diego Aqueduct from Black Mountain to the Lower Otay reservoir, LHWS was ultimately incorporated in 1962 as a general engineering contracting company. This father-son partnership flourished, with each man contributing key elements that contributed to the new company’s success. Prior to founding LHWS, Lee Woods was already an experienced and successful entrepreneur in the construction business: Along with Harry Heisler, a dozen years earlier he’d started Heisler and Woods, Contractors, Crane and Rigging, which grew into one of the West Coast’s largest crane rental companies by 1958, when the two men sold the business. Having worked for the family company while growing up, James D. Woods Sr. began working with his Father full time following his return from the Korean War, both as a crane operator and as a foreman constructing storm drains, sewers and water pipelines. In his late-20s when LHWS was founded, James D. Woods Sr. also had an engineering education from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, thereby possessing the knowledge and ability to run the field as well as to handle the required public works paperwork.
With the passing of Lee Woods in the mid-1960s, James D. Woods Sr. remained the owner and president of LHWS until 1998, when he retired and passed the family business on to his son, James D. Woods Jr. Having worked for the company during his summers in high school, James D. Woods Jr. was no stranger to the business — in fact, he’d worked his way up from a field laborer into a management position, giving him an excellent knowledge base of all aspects of underground construction. After graduating from San Diego State University in 1983, he joined the LHWS team full time, stepping ably into the position of president and owner a decade ago.
THREE GENERATIONS OF INNOVATION
The attitude that every new project presents an opportunity to innovate has provided a competitive edge for LHWS, while also contributing to the company’s ongoing, steady growth. Routinely called upon for emergency repairs as well as to retrofit and maintain existing pipelines, LHWS is one of the only companies currently serving the Southern California area with the ability to make live repairs to water pipes — meaning the water is still flowing in the pipeline during the repair. In addition, LHWS developed a process that allows roads, bridges, and developments to be constructed over existing aqueducts/pipelines — something not possible in the past but a practical necessity given California’s high cost of real estate. The company possesses new patents on several pieces of specialized equipment it developed, with patents currently pending on several additional pieces of equipment. Such technological innovations often allow LHWS to efficiently complete projects in days that not too long ago might have taken weeks to finish. And finally, LHWS transitioned smoothly and successfully from its historic focus on public works projects into building a greater number of private projects and large design-build projects in both the private and public sectors — an illustration of its willingness to respond to broader industry trends such as the growing prevalence of public/private partnerships in the construction of public facilities.
A KEY ROLE IN THE NATION’S FUTURE…
Given the widespread and pervasive age-related deterioration occurring in some of the region’s most crucial infrastructural components, LHWS anticipates playing a key role in permitting the region’s existing residents and businesses to continue flourishing as well as enabling these areas to grow to their full potential. Guided by president and owner James D. Woods Jr., who remains actively involved in every project, LHWS’ talented and team-oriented staff employs an effective, hands-on style to ensure that projects are run efficiently and built to the industry’s highest quality standards. With its innovative, aggressive team approach that emphasizes both quality and safety, to date the company has finished more than 210 engineering projects ranging in value from $375,000 to $54 million, completing each project on time or ahead of schedule with no liquidated damages ever assessed. This sterling record has earned LHWS a reputation as the go-to company for the design, construction, and rehabilitation of complex water systems throughout the Western United States.