WWJ Closeup, January 2021

BUDDY SEBASTIAN
Vice President/General Manager
Sebastian & Sons Well Drilling Inc.
Springport, Michigan

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED?
My father said, “Always watch your integrity and the money will follow” and do the job like you’re going to live there and have to deal with it. Past NGWA President John Schmitt, CWD/PI, said, “There is one thing that is constant—change.” If you’re going to have success, you have to adapt to change.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL SELF?
Have a few clones of me! I think realization that you can’t do all or change all is a self-evaluation we all have at one time or another. I’m not sure I would change anything professionally other than I wish I had more time to get a degree in hydrogeology.

WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS FOR A COMPANY TO BECOME SOLVENT?
Know your costs to do business. Many companies price drilling products and services based on the closest competitor. How do you know they are solvent? Are they set up to replace and repair their equipment your company needs to? Is the pay structure going to keep and attract your employee expectations and quality?

MOST SATISFYING PART OF YOUR JOB?
Seeing the gratitude and happy faces of my customers after we are done with a job or solved a problem another company couldn’t. Listening to my employees talk to customers with ownership of the work they do with pride and conviction.

MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR WHEN CONSIDERING PURCHASING A NEW RIG?
What will your budget handle based on your business? What kind of drilling are you doing? What kind of formations are you seeing consistently? Service location and parts are huge now. It’s not a matter of if it’s going to break, it’s when. Last, what are you and your drillers comfortable with?

WHICH SKILL WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARPEN IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
Actually, we recently purchased a company an hour south of us with five cable tool rigs. I would like to sharpen, no, actually re-learn, my cable tool skills. I believe that it is becoming a lost art but more valuable skill to have and pass on. 

NO. 1 TIP WHEN INTERACTING WITH WELL OWNERS ON WELL MAINTENANCE?
Take time to explain how the system works. Go beyond the pump and tank with treatment and filters and basic water chemistry. The more you teach your customer about their water supply system, the more they will trust your judgement and rely on you to be their water supply contractor.