Dan Echino, president and founder of Calroc Industries, has been in the oil and gas business long enough to have witnessed several boom and bust cycles. He says that staying resilient and reinventing yourself and your business strategy when times are tough is the only way to survive in this industry.
“If helping our customers survive this downturn means we have to reinvent our company to focus on repurposing and restoring equipment, then that’s what we’re willing to do.”
Calroc Industries is doing just that — having recently repurposed its Medicine Hat facility to repair and restore pumpjacks, engines, and other oil and gas equipment that can be purchased by customers at substantially lower costs when compared to new equipment. The massive 110,000-square-foot facility was previously being used to manufacture frac ponds, rig mats, and other new oil and gas equipment.
Used is the new “new”
Echino says that injecting new life into older equipment is a great way of dealing with the current downturn in the oil and gas sector. “Right now companies are figuring out how to save money any way they can and used equipment that can get the same job done as new equipment is a great way of doing that,” he says. “For a lot of companies struggling to survive right now, used is the new new.”
Increase of U.S. buyers
The downturn has also allowed Calroc to expand its client base in the U.S., largely due to the drop in the Canadian dollar, and Echino says that an increasing number of his sales month over month are coming from south of the border. “We’ve had a spike in sales from companies buying our equipment from the U.S.; it’s mainly because they know they can take advantage of the low Canadian dollar right now. A refurbished pumpjack that’s a good deal for a company in Canada is an even better deal for a company from the U.S.”
Focus on Alberta
Despite sales and new customers coming from the U.S., Echino says that his company is focused on helping local Alberta-based companies first, and he prefers to sell locally before looking to customers elsewhere. “The downturn has negatively affected companies everywhere but I got my start in this industry in Alberta and during tough times if I can help out a local company with some used equipment, then I’ll sell it here before I ship it anywhere else.”
Calroc is also helping sustain jobs in a slumping economy by keeping employees busy at a time when new manufacturing jobs are becoming increasingly hard to come by. “We were looking at shutting down our Medicine Hat operation completely and I know other companies have had to do that, but if the refurbished pumpjacks keep selling as well as they have been so far, we’ll keep our people working and ride out this slump. Hopefully, other companies facing sink or swim situations can do the same thing by deploying some of the same strategies we have.”