The Beginning

In 1943, Richard Rudderham, a part time farmer in Point Edward, Nova Scotia, recognized the need for local farms to have reliable access to ground water for the purposes of irrigation. It was then that he founded what would later become George Rudderham Well Drilling Limited. Armed with this knowledge, Richard built his own wooden auger, which he used to drill water wells for some of the local farmers, as well as for his own farm.

In the early 1950’s a population boom took place in Cape Breton initiated in part by the ending of WW II as well as the on going success of natural resource industries. Foreseeing that this new population would need homes, with access to clean, running water, Richard’s sons, George and Albert decided to pursue water well drilling as a full time business. The brothers purchased a cable tool drilling machine called a Speed Star 55 and began drilling wells across Cape Breton. They further diversified their business by installing the pumping systems necessary to provide all of these homes with clean well water.

Several years after the establishment of Rudderham Brothers, Albert decided to make a career change at which point George took sole ownership of the well drilling business, thus transforming the two generation family business into what is now known as George Rudderham Well Drilling Limited.

In 1972, George purchased the first Rotary Drill machine in Cape Breton. That same year George’s daughter, Brenda Rudderham White joined her father in the family business. Rudderham’s began to flourish here in Cape Breton. Due to an increase in demand, a second drill machine had to be added to George’s fleet, so in 1973 a second Schramm Rotary Drill was purchased. Now with a staff of eight, two drill rigs, two follow trucks, and two service trucks, George took on numerous large projects, some in Newfoundland but mostly in Cape Breton.

At the request of the Historical Arms Preservation Society, based in PA who were assisting the Canadian Government Park’s Canada Division, Rudderham’s drilled out the cannons that had been excavated on the site of what was once a French Fortress, for the Louisbourg Restoration Project. It was also at this time that DEVCO began its long standing relationship with the company; a business relationship that has endured even past the closure of DEVCO and continues through the remediation and reclamation of DEVCO’s assets and holdings.

Paul Rudderham, the youngest of George’s four children, joined the family business in 1984. Soon after, in 1986, George retired and Brenda and Paul entered into a joint venture. Since the purchase of the family business from their father in 1986, Brenda and Paul have added new product lines while still maintaining a strong sense of tradition that has allowed them to become one of the oldest Berkeley dealers in Canada having been service representatives for over 30 years. A strong commitment to customer relations and service has been the number one priority for the brother and sister team and this approach netted George Rudderham Well Drilling Limited the 1994 Nova Scotia Driller of the Year award and the Industrial Cape Breton Board of Trade, Excellence in Service Award in 2000. In addition, the business is a valued member of the Canadian Water Well Association as well as the Nova Scotia Ground Water Association since their respective inceptions.

Rudderham’s commitment to it’s own future as well as the future of the communities in which the family business has flourished has become another part of the business mandate over the years. In 1999, Rudderham’s donated an entire well water system that included the ground well and pumping system for the fish hatchery at the Two Rivers Wildlife Park. While this endeavor involved several challenges due to unique geological conditions, the generous donation of time, effort and equipment made it possible for the park to create and maintain its fish pond. Both the hatchery and pond make it possible for the park to educate and entertain its patrons while providing much needed funding for the operational costs of Two Rivers Wildlife Park. The following year, Rudderham’s reaffirmed their commitment to customer and community. The Women’s Institute of Nova Scotia (WINS), a non profit, community organization, needed a new water well and pumping system. Rudderham’s again donated time and effort at no cost to the organization.

The changing environment has played a role in the business with the demand for water treatment on the increase, both with regard to mineral and bacteriological problems. The environment has also impacted the ground water tables and in 2003, Rudderham’s purchased a 1995 Schramm Roto Drill , which is larger than the other drilling machines and is capable of drilling to greater depths. Today, George Rudderham Well Drilling has added a fourth generation of Rudderham children to the ranks and employs a staff of eight. The focus of the family business has evolved over the past sixty years but has always remained a strong leader in the Water Well Industry and plans for the future of Rudderham’s are underway to ensure that the family business that started as one farmer’s vision and innovation continues this tradition here on the Island.