WWJ Closeup, January 2023

RICKY TOMPKINS
Owner and Operator
Reliable Pump & Well Services LLC
Montgomery, New York

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED?
The job isn’t completed until the money is in the bank. I find that without good office staff to make sure the billing goes out for every job done is a key part. Too many companies forget to bill and have no problem doing the work. Billing is just as important as the work itself.

WITH TAX CREDITS BEING PASSED, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON GEOTHERMAL WORK IN 2023?
Amazingly busy year with tax rebates pushing 30% to 40% and even more for commercial in the state of New York. With most large housing projects, it wouldn’t be smart for them to go any other way. In 2022 we doubled the production of geo drilling and couldn’t keep up with what we had.

NO. 1 TIP FOR CONTRACTORS DIVERSIFYING INTO GEOTHERMAL?
Make sure you have a lot of laborers. It’s not a one to three process. In my opinion, I think this is why most people don’t do it. Water wells are not as labor intensive, which is one of the reasons I think mom-and-pop companies don’t get involved.

MOST SATISFYING PART OF YOUR JOB?
Being in the field running equipment and working beside my guys. I feel that workers in the field show more respect for their boss when they swing in casing or drill rod and running rigs right beside them.

WHAT MINDSET CHANGE IS NEEDED TO TAKE ON GEOTHERMAL PROJECTS?
Keeping rigs running longer hours and the key is regular maintenance and having a backup for every tool. It’s hard to keep a drill rig rolling when everything must be shipped overnight or a couple days shipping. Simply, $100 to $1000 parts to not have readily available cost us $10,000 to $20,000 when equipment isn’t running.

HOW CAN DRILLING FIRMS RECRUIT THE NEXT GENERATION OF WORKERS?
With our industry rapidly growing between water wells and geo wells, it’s important to have the manpower to tackle whichever job. With that, looking for laborers right out of high school or college is the best way to grow. Guys who know nothing at all can be taught the right way and your way of doing things.