25th Jun 2020
Every horizontal directional drill (HDD) contractor can tell you about a nightmare bore when absolutely nothing seemed to go right. Vermeer customers know who to call for backup in these situations: their HDD tooling specialists. These HDD experts are on call around the clock, ready to support their customers at the drop of a hat.
“I’m getting that phone call at 5:00 in the afternoon. They’ve spent all day trying to do a bore, they’re not having any luck, and that’s where I come in,” said Robert Dalgleish, HDD tooling specialist at Vermeer Canada.
John Fiddler, HDD tooling specialist at Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, echoed this sentiment, saying that when he fields phone calls from customers who are in a bind, it takes priority over whatever else he may be doing at the time. In addition, Fiddler said he supports customers throughout the entire boring process, covering every aspect of the jobsite.
“Pre-planning; finding utilities; creating a bore plan; helping with drilling fluids, tooling, locators; and when they complete a job, helping with the reporting aspect of it. There’s a lot of different stages of the job they can call me about.”
One of the most common areas HDD contractors seek support in is selecting the right drilling fluids for the job. Dalgleish emphasized the importance of drilling fluids and how they can make or break a bore.
“Drilling fluids are like baking a cake: If you don’t put the right stuff in, it’s not going to rise,” he said. “If you don’t put the right drilling fluids into the ground, you’re not going to get your cuttings out. You’re not going to have a hole in the ground. You’re not going to be able to install your product. You’ll start pulling back and get stuck. There where I can help.”
Calob Castilleja, HDD tooling specialist at Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, said much of the support he provides to HDD contractors takes place in their office, helping them with the bidding process, bore planning and choosing the right crew and equipment for the job. It’s not always about helping customers get out of a jam, but also providing business advice that helps them be more successful. Some HDD contractors are surprised to learn how valuable HDD tooling specialists can be to their business.
“I think the biggest misconception about what we do is that we’re out there to sell, and that’s not necessarily true,” Castilleja said. “We’re there to help you. We’re not Vermeer and customer. We’re part of your company. You’ve bought into us. You’re part of the Vermeer family. So, I’m going to support you, just like you want your crew to take care of your equipment and run it the right way. I’m here to make sure everything keeps going smoothly.”
From the bidding process to finalizing reports at the end of the job, there are so many ways HDD tooling specialists can support HDD contractors — even those who aren’t presently running Vermeer equipment. It’s because of this that Castilleja said, “To my knowledge, I don’t believe there’s anybody who supports their customers and the HDD market like Vermeer does.”
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