WWJ Closeup, January 2020

COLE SULLIVAN
President
Sullivan Water Wells Corp.
Chugiak, Alaska

THE BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED?
I’ve been grateful to have had decades of experience passed on to me. The most valuable is to not let the “bad apples” change the way you treat customers. People are inherently good and you should always treat them fairly. Equally important advice is to never cut corners.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL SELF?
The ability to let things fall where they may and not lose sleep over it. Overthinking and worrying doesn’t change the outcome, and whatever problem is in front of you, it can typically be overcome much easier than a runaway mind will allow you to think.

MOST SATISFYING PART OF YOUR JOB?
Helping people with one of the most valuable resources in the world and being able to see a tangible difference that you have made as each day ends. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your work and happy customers all over in the place you call home.

TAKING REINS OF YOUR COMPANY IN 2017 FROM YOUR FATHER, BILL, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN MANAGING YOUR BUSINESS?
Even though I’ve changed some things, I’ve held tightly to the basics he taught me. Among them: Never promise something you may not be able to deliver. Buy the best equipment because you get what you pay for. Take the time to do it correctly.

IN 2019, HOW DID ALASKA’S FLUCTUATING CLIMATE IMPACT DRILLING?
The warm, dry weather didn’t seem to impact drilling, but we saw a continued need for well repair of every kind imaginable after the November 30, 2018 magnitude 7.2 earthquake—including the loss of some aquifers entirely.

WHAT NEW DRILLING TECHNOLOGY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ADDING TO YOUR REPERTOIRE?
We took delivery of a new Foremost DR-12 (in 2019) and it’s our newest piece of technology currently. We always try to find little things to improve with our current operations. It’s incredible the efficiencies you can achieve from small changes.

HOW CAN DRILLING FIRMS RECRUIT THE NEXT GENERATION OF WORKERS?
I’m not sure there is a perfect answer. I have found that one thing that attracts one person may not interest the next. Good employees are the most important aspect of any business and it should never be taken for granted.