When your country calls

Versa-Drill supports the U.S. Army National Guard

 
 

When your country calls, you deliver. The country called Versa-Drill.

The Army National Guard had an immediate need in 2006. It had drilling rigs—in fact, it had contracted with the same drilling company for over two decades—but it needed another rig fast. “One of the unit sergeants had seen our equipment,” said Martin Wright, CFO of Versa-Drill. “He just called us for a general inquiry. He wasn’t even from purchasing.” That conversation had a big impact on both parties.

It’s not so uncommon to see someone with drilling expertise in the Army National Guard. “There’s usually at least one person on an Army National Guard team who is a driller,” said Wright. This unit sergeant’s casual inquiry turned into a rig order; the Army National Guard requested a Versa-Drill rig to provide water wells on bases and for humanitarian work in local communities in the horn of Africa.

In early 2007, Versa-Drill delivered that rig set—which included a V-2000 Drill rig, a water truck, a mud and fluid recycling system, tooling, accessories and spare parts. The later systems included a portable air compressor. The Army National Guard ended up ordering four more rigs, three of which went to Afghanistan. “The new contract required that we have 24-hour technical support with these systems. We found individuals with military experience to deploy with these systems as Field Service Representatives,” explained Wright. “These folks had previously been part of an Armed Forces well drilling team and some were even deployed with the equipment we sent to the horn of Africa in 2007. We brought these individuals to Indianapolis and trained them to service our equipment.”

These first five sets were responses to immediate requests for help from the U.S. military. Due to the overall performance and quality demonstrated by the systems deployed in the horn of Africa and Afghanistan, the Army did not want to take a chance of putting a bid out for future systems and getting something other than a Versa-Drill. Generally, anything purchased by the federal government must go out for a competitive bid, but through a great deal of effort on their end, the government was able to obtain a Justification and Approval (J&A) to contract directly with Versa-Drill. As soon as the J&A was obtained, Versa-Drill was asked to provide a proposal to the Army for a Program of Record. Securing this contract would essentially mean that the U.S. military and Versa-Drill become partners for the next several decades.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Wright said. “It’s a big opportunity for us. We understand we are a small company. We want to make sure that we can get them what they need.”

 
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And it is no small task to deliver the unique needs of the Army National Guard. “Their equipment needs to withstand 4Gs without coming apart. We had to restrain components that we wouldn’t normally restrain. The rigs had to be able to start up at 20 degrees below freezing,” said Wright. They had to be sure the vehicles were stable enough to weather rough terrain. They did rollover tests to figure out the rigs’ center of gravity among many other tests. The drilling depth test was the easiest part. “We weren’t too worried about that,” said Wright. 

What’s incredible is that, even with the additional features, Versa-Drill’s military rigs are still uniquely Versa-Drill. “95 percent of these orders is what we sell to everybody else. Only 5 percent or less is specific military modifications,” said Wright.

Versa-Drill is proud to serve its country through this partnership. “This is about more than just dollars and cents,” said Wright. “We want to make sure our drilling rigs enable our men and women out there to get their missions accomplished.”


 
 
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Miriam Sweeney