Piling Canada

Drilling to the Core of Customer Service

Drill Hub Inc. supplies quality foundation drilling products with an emphasis on innovative solutions and fresh thinking
Written by Lisa Gordon
January 2021

Photo: Drill Hub Inc.

In a little more than a year, Drill Hub Inc. has tapped directly into an industry need for quality foundation drilling products, backed up by expert advice and expedited delivery.

The Calgary-based company opened its doors in January 2020, doing business from a modest office trailer parked in its equipment yard. However, word soon began to spread through the drilling industry about a little company that is very big on service.

Despite the uncertainties of launching a new venture in the midst of a global pandemic, Drill Hub is a success story – one that has been co-authored by sales manager Robb Dickieson and general manager Sean Dann.

Recognizing a need

Dickieson, a 30-year drilling industry veteran, worked his way up in the drilling supply business, progressing from shipping and receiving into sales, and then into sales engineering roles. His focus has always been on providing high quality equipment in a timely fashion – and at Drill Hub, Dickieson says no job is too big or too small.

“We are a young, fresh, outside-of-the-box company that will provide everything from start to finish that our customers are looking for,” said Dann, who came to Drill Hub following a 13-year sales career in the recycling sector. “Drill Hub was formed because we saw a need for a good local supplier that could provide foundation drilling products quickly and reliably. We felt there was a gap in the market, where only a couple of suppliers were providing this equipment.”

Drill Hub can supply a full range of equipment and parts to keep a drilling operation working. Small necessities include drill teeth, wear parts, bits and casing. On a larger scale, the company rents loaders, cranes, excavators, diesel hammers, vibrocoring equipment, side grips, leads and screw pile heads. Dann is looking to grow the company’s large diameter casing and tooling sales, while Dickieson specializes in down-the-hole (DTH) piling, casing for tiebacks and four- to 48-inch DTH hammers.

“Instead of just the casing, we can provide the drive head or the excavator that will power it into the ground,” said Dann. The company is an authorized dealer for new Heavy Equipment Manufacturing Company (HEMCO) products and has a yard full of used inventory for rent or sale.

Drill Hub currently sells across Canada, filling orders with the help of a Toronto warehouse in addition to its Calgary headquarters. Currently, its customers are located in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. In the near future, there are plans to expand into the U.S.

Rapid growth

For a company that sent out its first load of rental supplies in April, expansion has come quickly. In the fall, the trailer was vacated and Drill Hub moved into a new building, complete with a loading bay. Dickieson and Dann have been joined by an office administrator, a yard manager and a sales assistant.

“Growth has happened quickly; we’ve had some great sales under our belt,” said Dann.

He says in November the company had already tripled its revenue projection for the first year. Although mining operations have been slower, the company has been busy supplying tar sands, diamond and coal exploration operations.

Both Dickieson and Dann say the growth has been welcome, but somewhat surprising, coming in the midst of the pandemic. While they were attending ConExpo in Las Vegas, Nev., in early March, Covid-19 exploded. The pair hurried home amidst talk of closing borders.

“When we came back, we had isolation for two weeks and we were second guessing what we were doing starting a company,” said Dickieson. “We started thinking that our timing couldn’t have been any worse, but we kept pushing on with optimistic attitudes. By June, the company was getting busy. We haven’t looked back since.”

According to Dann, Drill Hub aims to win the hearts and minds of its customers with quick quoting and fast turnaround times. “This industry is very time sensitive. A lot of times, when people call, they needed a particular piece of tooling two days ago. We expedite it to the site to prevent stopped drilling.”

However, they’re not just parts providers – Drill Hub delivers solutions, too.

“We set up a lot of jobs where we take on sales engineering,” said Dickieson. “Anyone can sell a DTH hammer with string and pipe. With some of our rental equipment and specialized tools that we can build, we can often knock down the price and give the customer more choice. I’m ready to take on pretty much any call. First, I learn all about the job before I quote it.”

Dickieson is also working closely with HEMCO to incorporate higher grades of steel and improved tooling that will produce stronger equipment.

“In Western Canada, there is a lot of rock and hard drilling, and that’s the kind of tooling we’re looking to improve for this tough terrain,” he said. “We are working with HEMCO hand-in-hand to bring our customers better tooling that will last longer.” Piling Canada

Lisa Gordon is a freelance writer who produces informative and engaging articles for trade and association magazines in a variety of industries. Contact her at www.mustangmediaservices.ca.

Category: Profile

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.

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