Jerry Blasdel knows the rigorous routine of being on the road. He worked in the pipeline industry for more than four decades where he traveled all across the United States from New Mexico to Florida. Sometimes he’d be away from home for nine months at a time. When he retired, he was happy to have more time at home, but he soon got bored. So, in September 2019, he started his own underground drilling company with his stepson, his stepson’s son-in-law and another full-time employee. Together the four make up Blasdel Drilling, serving the Houston area.

Blasdel Drilling focuses on the installation of telecom cable. Because he is relatively new in the business and competing with other companies with greater longevity, he needed to partner with a vendor that could assist in giving him the best start. Having previously been in the pipeline business, he knew of the Vermeer brand. Naturally he reached out to the Vermeer Texas-Louisiana branch in Cypress, Texas.

“Vermeer has a good reputation. They are essentially the Cadillac of horizontal directional drills,” Blasdel commented. Last fall Chris Barron, Vermeer Texas-Louisiana sales representative took Bladell’s call for a quote and a relationship soon formed. Blasdel said, “He (Barron) impressed me enough to make me want to trust him. I used his input to decide what machine size I wanted to buy.”

Vermeer D20x22 S3 horizontal directional drill in action
Vermeer D20x22 S3 horizontal directional drill on jobsite

Blasdel eventually purchased a Vermeer D20x22 S3 horizontal directional drill, a Vactron LP573XDT vacuum excavator and one of Digital Control’s Falcon F5 locators. Blasdel and his team also use two-way radios, rather than flags or signals, to communicate effectively while on a job. This total package helped him get his business off the ground, but it was not without its challenges. Blasdel’s accountant advised him to secure a business loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA), and it took several months to get approval.

“Vermeer worked with me. I got a SBA loan as my accountant advised, which is why I didn’t take advantage of Vermeer’s financing, but it took so long to get the loan approved, I was surprised Chris (Barron) didn’t drop me like a hot potato. The whole Vermeer team stuck with me until I got approved,” Blasdel explained.

Because his equipment is relatively new, Blasdel has not had any major problems that required repair; however, he does utilize the Vermeer service team in Cypress for warranty work. When he runs into issues working his drill, Barron has developed an open line of communication with Blasdel. “Chris is always available for a phone call. And he has actually led me to some work. I’ve gotten three or four jobs that he led us to. Chris has helped us quite a bit.”

When Blasdel first started using his D20x22 S3, he ran into trouble with the steering mechanism. He called on Barron for help. Barron and Travis Rigsby, the HDD tooling specialist in Cypress at the time, both trained Blasdel’s team on how to use the directional drill and the locator over the course of three days. “Vermeer was kind enough to walk and talk us through the problems,” Blasdel remarked.

That’s part of the Vermeer Texas-Louisiana culture. Selling the equipment doesn’t end when the invoice is paid. Relationships are built and strengthened over time.

Now, that he’s gotten his business well underway, Blasdel is able to work efficiently and go home at the end of the workday. He said, “The underground drilling process is so much faster than it used to be when I first started out. It’s nice to be able to complete a job so we can be home at night.”

There’s no more months-long jobs in Blasdel’s future. With the help of Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, he’s able to put in an honest day’s work and have a soft place to lay his head each evening.


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