Groundwater Week 2022 Q&A

WORKSHOP PRESENTERS KATY AND DEREK ANDERSON OF DRILLING EQUIPMENT RESOURCES

The wife and husband will provide troubleshooting insight and tips for air drilling.

By Mike Price

Katy and Derek Anderson

Wife and husband Katy and Derek Anderson of Drilling Equipment Resources will make their debut presenting “Air Drilling Best Practices” from 8-9 a.m. on December 6 at Groundwater Week 2022.

Compressed air is used as a primary flush media for 65% of all drilled water wells. Compressors are three to four times the cost they were in 1990 and more complicated to operate and maintain, making the selection of lubricants, maintenance intervals, and troubleshooting almost a full-time job for companies. Katy and Derek will share how to form an operating and selection plan for moving forward so attendees can save their company time and money.

Founded in 2008 by Derek, Drilling Equipment Resources was born out of the desire to grow a company that serves customers to help them become as productive as they can be. The company provides three key services of consultation for drillers around the world, multiple platforms for drillers to sell their equipment, and mobile and in-house breakout services to customers within a 100-mile radius of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“I entered the drilling industry when Derek and I started to talk about how the industry had changed and become a little less customer service based,” says Katy, who is vice president and operations manager. She studied business at Oklahoma State University and has plans to add human resources to the company offerings soon.

“Like Katy said, we saw a niche in the industry and basically said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” adds Derek, who is president and holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and more than 25 years in the industry, primarily in the groundwater market.

“Out of college as an engineer, I was drawn to big equipment. After years in the office, I realized I like the jobsites more, so I transitioned to sales.”

Derek entered the groundwater industry as an Ingersoll-Rand engineer and salesman. He presented on a similar topic at the 2022 South Atlantic Jubilee, but he and Katy have revamped this workshop to be more of a conversational format.

Both Katy and Derek have a passion for the industry that is evident when speaking with them.

“The small business side is a passion of mine and I love family-run companies,” Katy shares. “We have met some of the nicest people who always welcome us into their homes and shops. I love getting to know them and the history of why they do what they do. Drilling is not for the faint of heart and I love hearing people’s reasons why.

“I would say my favorite aspect [of the industry] is the variety. The ground conditions are different, the way drillers drill is all different and it makes our job fun to see all the variety.”

“My favorite aspect in this industry is the collaborating we see among contractors,” Derek says. “People really look out for each other and share information. Also seeing fresh water come out of the ground is something that makes me excited every time.”

Water Well Journal caught up with Katy and Derek to learn more about their Groundwater Week 2022 workshop.

Water Well Journal: The title of your workshop is straightforward. What are you hoping to convey to attendees and be the take-home message?
Katy Anderson: There are some really good takeaways, but our main focus is to share some troubleshooting tips that can help save you time and money when air drilling.
Derek Anderson: This is so true. Also, I feel like a message I want people to get is that fluid additives can also be extremely useful when drilling with air.

WWJ: What are some of the most common mistakes you see made in the field from those who use compressed air when drilling?
Katy: One of the most common things we see is customers not having enough pressure and understanding the relationship between flow and pressure. We can talk through how to increase pressure to better maintain flow rates.
Derek: Absolutely correct. What I love about this is how she said “the relationship.” In a stand-alone compressor, sometimes you will have individual controls for pressure and flow, but usually there is only controls for the flow, so understanding that pressure is the byproduct of flow is really an important piece of the puzzle.

Katy and Derek Anderson of Drilling Equipment Resources have a passion for the groundwater industry that is evident when speaking with them. Photo courtesy Drilling Equipment Resources in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

WWJ: How can contractors avoid the costly consequences of not operating and maintaining their compressors as they should?
Katy: We have a few suggestions in the presentation, but one that we most highly recommend is doing oil samples on your equipment. Oil samples can tell you if something is happening before you can see it.
Derek: We recommend every 250 operating hours for compressors that are being used regularly. I would also say changing air filters regularly and keeping the maintenance records on the equipment can be helpful in remembering when filters need to be changed. Maintaining is so much easier than repairing.

WWJ: When did your company develop its operating and selection plan for compressors and what all went into its creation?
Katy: We choose equipment including compressors based on manufacturers we know and have the ability to support. We have learned what sizes work best for certain projects as well. This was the driving motivator for starting the repairs and rentals company [in 2020 and 2021 and Katy is president]. We saw our customers have needs for either larger sizes of compressors or other support equipment and having a rental as an option can help contractors get larger jobs.

WWJ: What are you hearing most often from contractors regarding their use of compressors?
Katy: For drillers who drill with air, the compressor is an essential piece of equipment. Without it, you would be grinding the rock and not drilling. Some of the things we hear as far as issues contractors can have is that the compressor is running hot or shutting down. Usually, we start the troubleshooting process and start looking at the air/flow relationship and ground conditions.
Derek: When contractors are open for some consulting, problems can be solved a bit easier for the most part. We don’t usually hear from the customer unless there is a problem, but it is nice when we hear feedback that a job is successful, or we were able to help resolve an issue.

WWJ: With many contractors struggling to keep up with the workload, how has your company met the demand for compressors?
Katy: Our company philosophy is all about relationships and that includes with our manufacturers and their distributor networks. We can supply new equipment but have built good relationships with large companies that take trades and are able to then sell us the used equipment. We then repair any issues or just get it back up to good running condition. Having our own in-house mechanics has allowed us to get quality equipment and offer them at prices our smaller contractors can
afford.
Derek: I have been in the equipment market long enough to have seen these types of trends before that makes used equipment harder to come by. The conditions of the market that we are in right now plus the emission requirements that have changed so much over the last 10 years has all played a part in manufacturing levels which increases the need for used equipment, and us being just slightly ahead of that allowed us to be ready for the demand for our customers.

WWJ: What are the top lessons you have learned over the years consulting on projects?
Katy: The biggest lesson I have learned is that communication is key. Telling our customers the how and why of the problem they are having has made our job of supporting them easier. In today’s world, you can communicate in so many ways. We pride ourselves in using mediums that our customers prefer. If you text us, we will text you back. If you need to talk on the phone, we can do that too.
Derek: I have learned the hard way not to assume anything. What I mean is when I start working with someone I have never worked with before, I won’t assume what they know or don’t know. It is better to start fresh and really listen to what they are saying and always ask questions. She says it all with communication is key.

WWJ: Katy, you work in a field that is predominantly male. Are you beginning to see more women enter the workforce or ask you about the profession?
Katy: I do think we are seeing more females join the industry as a whole in roles such as sales and on the groundwater conservation side. We are dedicated to bringing talent into the groundwater community and are proud that half of our company is female. We will keep striving to allow women the opportunity to grow and move this industry forward.

WWJ: Lastly, how excited are you to present your workshop?
Katy: I am very excited about presenting. I love the continuing education classes and could often be found attending the classes at Groundwater Week in the past. So, getting to present is new and also going to be a very neat experience.
Derek: I am honored to be presenting at Groundwater Week. It is a great way to give back to a community that we truly cherish.

Plan to Attend Drilling Workshops at Groundwater Week 2022
There are a variety of workshops on drilling at Groundwater Week 2022.

Katy and Derek’s colleague, LaTisha Shipman, will present “All Things Hammers and Bits” from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on December 6. Choosing the right tooling for a project is important. This presentation will offer helpful tricks and insight on choosing the right setup for different applications as well as insight on the dos and don’ts of warranty issues.

Click here to see all the drilling workshops during Groundwater Week 2022.


Mike Price is the senior editor of Water Well Journal. In addition to his WWJ responsibilities, Price contributes to the Association’s scientific publications. He can be reached at mprice@ngwa.org, or at (800) 551-7379, ext. 1541.