By Julie Fitz-Gerald
A Q and A with Stauber Drilling’s Lorne and Fred Glass
By Julie Fitz-Gerald
Stauber Drilling is a Saskatchewan-based drilling company with a long history.
Stauber Drilling is a Saskatchewan-based drilling company with a long history. Harold Stauber formed the company in 1959, drilling wells in the area for local farmers and the commercial hog industry. In 2002, brothers Lorne and Fred Glass bought the company and began growing it into a full-service business that can meet all of its clients’ drilling needs. With Lorne out in the field as production manager and Fred manning the office as general manager, these co-owners seem to have found the perfect balance in running Stauber Drilling.
|Harold Stauber formed the company in 1959, drilling wells in the area for local farmers and the commercial hog industry in Saskatchewan.|
What circumstances led you to buy Stauber Drilling back in 2002?
Lorne: I’d been in the business for 10 years before that and then when I saw the opportunity to go out on our own, that’s what we did. I’d been working in an identical business, so it was a good fit.
Fred: I was in a different industry, but Lorne couldn’t come up with the money by himself. He had put a plan together with some other partners, but they still couldn’t make it a go, so he approached me. I said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it with you, but I don’t want these other partners.’ So he and I ended up buying this business in 2002 from Harold Stauber. Harold had a very good reputation and was very successful putting in water wells for the hog industry in Saskatchewan, so he was doing really well drilling farm wells and bigger commercial wells.
How did you ensure a smooth transition when taking over the company?
Lorne: When we bought the business there was a lot of work that went with it. The previous owner’s health wasn’t very good and he was looking for somebody that could take over and just walk in and go. He didn’t want to have to sit with them and bring them up to speed; he was looking for someone who already knew the business and he gave us a pile of work that came with it, so it worked out pretty good.
Fred: It was actually very easy because Lorne had been in the drilling industry already and he made the needed improvements.
How were you able to reach out to Stauber’s existing clientele?
Lorne: We stayed in touch, we stayed in the area and we kept all the signs up to let people know that we’re not leaving; the company’s not going away.
Fred: We kept the phone number and we kept Harold’s advertising campaign. We’d get calls from older farmers saying, ‘You put this well in in 1972.’ So we were able to keep all of those contacts and service their wells.
What direction have you taken the company in since purchasing it?
Lorne: We’ve gone with a lot more commercial work than what Stauber used to do. I did more commercial work with the previous company that I worked at and we had a good working relationship, so when I went out on my own, I kept a lot of the customers that I had.
Fred: We’ve added a lot of equipment to become more of a full-service shop. With some new equipment and becoming more of a full-service shop, if somebody calls in the middle of winter and says, ‘Hey, we have this winter drilling project, but have to find some other contractor to do snow removal,’ we can look after all of that. They just have to make one call. Safety’s much bigger now than it was; safety’s gotten huge. So we have a full-time safety manager to help with all of our policies and procedures. That’s been one of the biggest changes we’ve made.
How much has the company grown in the last decade?
Fred: I’d say it’s at least quadrupled in size. When Harold Stauber had the business he would serve central Saskatchewan. We’re now servicing the entire province, as well as into Alberta and Manitoba, so we definitely are covering more area. We do a lot of work with engineering firms now as well, because we’re doing quite a bit of environmental work in the mining industry, such as core sampling, geotechnical sampling, monitoring well installations, that kind of thing. That’s been another area of growth for us.
What are you the most proud of when it comes to Stauber Drilling?
Fred: Our newest tag line right now is, ‘Where Drilling is Just the Beginning,’ so we’ve really been pushing that. And the other thing that we’ve been promoting, which is a cultural change actually, is that the drilling industry is known for being a bunch of rough-and-tumble guys that aren’t very pleasant to be around, but we’ve taken that and done a complete 180. We’re getting a lot of customer feedback about how wonderful it is to work with our guys. We put stickers on all of our trucks and hard hats that say, ‘We’re easy to do business with,’ and our guys have really taken that to heart. And it sure makes my life easier in the office, getting positive phone calls instead of negative ones, so the guys are pretty proud of the way we’re changing the culture. I mean, we have the knowledge, the skills, the safety and the latest technology, and you can have all of that, but you also have to have the right attitude amongst your workers. That’s what I’m most proud of.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed.
Julie Fitz-Gerald is a freelance writer based in Uxbridge, Ont., and a regular contributor to Ground Water Canada.