WWJ Closeup, November 2022

Published On: October 19, 2022By Categories: Business Management, Drilling, Workforce Development, WWJ Closeup

PIERCE KILTOFF
President
JKA Well Drilling & Pumps
Monroe, Washington

THE BEST ADVICE I EVER GOT?
The best advice probably was from my father: “The most important thing is to get paid.” followed closely by “You never know how much you can get until you ask.” I always liked the quote: “A lack of preparedness on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL SELF?
I’m working on my coaching and emotional intelligence skills. I’d love to have the innate interpersonal skills I see in the leaders of many mid-sized to large businesses. I find it incredibly challenging to manage people and also get work done.

MOST SATISFYING PART OF YOUR JOB?
A good-looking installation by one of our crews. I like the pride I feel in the work we do. Also, I’m very numbers-driven, so when I see the bottom number on our cash flow reports growing month after month, it’s very satisfying.

TOUGHEST CHALLENGE FACING BUSINESS OWNERS TODAY?
The drilling and pump business is going to get worse before it gets better. There are more people close to retirement in this industry than there are coming in, and people, our clients, haven’t stopped drinking water. The demand isn’t going away, and many aren’t training their replacements.

WHAT RULES AND REGULATIONS KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT?
Honestly, none. I’d certainly like some things more streamlined, especially licensing laws in Washington state. I’m not opposed to rules and regulations in general as they create a level playing field and a barrier to entry for the lower-priced competition.

HOW CAN DRILLING FIRMS RECRUIT THE NEXT GENERATION OF WORKERS?
Be competitive with other trades for quality of life and compensation, and actively training. We’re past the point of being able to find farm kids to fill the open positions. We have to pull kids straight from school and teach them everything. That’s a tough thing to do.

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