Initially generating a name for itself by redefining the way environmental sites are investigated, Geoprobe® continually advances the drilling industry worldwide by designing and manufacturing drilling rigs and tooling to make tough technical drilling jobs faster, easier, and safer.
Adding the DRILLMAX® line of rotary drill rigs in 2017, Geoprobe® began bolstering the DRILLMAX® 40-year reputation in the water well and geothermal industry by enhancing manufacturing processes to ensure durability and easy maintenance. The Geoprobe®/DRILLMAX® manufacturing facility leverages individual skills of shop technicians equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing tools and processes to achieve low-volume, high-quality manufacturing.
TAKING CARE OF PEOPLE
Geoprobe® dates back to 1987 when the business was founded by two engineers — Mel Kejr and Tom Christy — who focused on designing innovative environmental equipment and making sure customers were taken care of.
To this day, that focus on the business’ customers permeates Geoprobe®. As part of ‘taking care of people’ Tom Omli, president, spends time attending industry events. Over the years he frequently met other vendors, including Donnie Wood. When Omli learned Ron Owens, then DRILLMAX® owner, was looking to retire, they started conversations about the possibility of the two companies working together.
“In 2017, Geoprobe® acquired DRILLMAX® and we became one,” Omli said. “We started moving DRILLMAX® manufacturing to Salina, Kansas, from Florida and investing Geoprobe® engineering, marketing, and business systems into a new line of water well equipment.”
The two companies’ rigs are now designed, developed, and manufactured at the Kansas facility. The same — albeit larger — engineering and manufacturing facility that introduced some of the first direct-push hammers.
“Geoprobe® designed, tested, and manufactured percussion hammers coupled with innovative direct push technology systems. We really became the pioneers in the environmental direct push world,” Omli said. “Then we started incorporating rotary head options on our rigs in the mid to late ‘90s. Then we created combination machines that allowed our customers to do multiple things with one small machine. Those were some of the big difference makers for us while we were still a very young company.”
COVERING ALL THE BASES
Willingness to listen to customer requests and then act on them has led Geoprobe® to be able to cover a wide range of drilling disciplines.
“We serve environmental, geotechnical, water well, geothermal, cathodic protection, exploration,” Omli explained. “And we keep working on products in every segment. And we’re always looking at how can we invest in those segments and we also consider other segments we may want to start investing in.”
Customers began diversifying into multiple segments in part because they could rely on Geoprobe® for all their needs.
“They wouldn’t be able to get into those other segments if we weren’t already providing the equipment and supplies for different applications,” Omli said. “You develop a customer base who calls you because they trust you to make good product and service it. Then you start getting calls from people, who you just never imagined would call you, who ask you to build them what they need to do something. We have sonic machines for that very reason. We got calls from people who own sonic equipment and they said: ‘Look, would you please make sonic for us?’ and so we did.”
Willingness to take on customer requests and develop new products is one of the strengths of Geoprobe® thanks to a strong in-house engineering team and strong in-house service support. A company planted on the plains of Kansas by a bunch of farm boys focused on making drilling equipment has blossomed into a world leader in the drilling industry.
“A lot of industry leaders come to us for solutions now. And it wasn’t that long ago, we were the little boys,” Omli said. “In many ways we still operate as a small company, providing personal attention with tools-in-ground field demonstrations and product trainings, but we have the engineering, manufacturing, and business systems of a much larger organization.”
SERVICE IS EVERYTHING
But what was the turning point for Geoprobe®? When did it go from being “a bunch of farm boys” to an industry leader?
“I think at the end of the day, it’s really good product,” Omli said. “We’re also known for really, really good service. So, who we sell to is a lot of smaller companies, and they realize pretty soon after we meet and spend time together that we don’t want to just sell them equipment, we absolutely want to support them and help them become better. When their machine does break — and it will someday — they know we are as serious about fixing it as we were the day we sold it to them. I just don’t think that’s common anymore, and they really appreciate it.”
Often once a customer starts working with Geoprobe® / DRILLMAX® they remain a customer. A high percentage of business each year is supporting repeat customers.
“You start working with them, and you just get more business. And it’s pretty fun. They absolutely trust us. I think that trust is based on really good product and then really good service and support from a lot of people who truly care,” Omli said. “If you’re a customer of ours, and your machine was broken, we all treat it like it’s our machine you’re using. Our farm boy heritage has engrained in us what it means to depend on a piece of equipment for your livelihood, which spurs a real urgency across the company to get them up and running quickly.”
The sense of family values and shared ownership running throughout Geoprobe® extends to those in the industry who are not yet customers.
“I think that those who take care of people still win, right? That’s what you want to do right, take care of people? It is what we want to do,” Omli said. “We’re passionate about taking care of people, and I would invite anybody from anywhere in the world to come to visit us. We’ve got a lot of rigs, tooling, and technology to show people. We like to introduce not just our products, but also our people and service support systems, when people come see our rigs in action.”
1835 Wall Street Salina, Kansas 67401 Phone: (785) 825-1842