From The Free Press Standard
By Carol McIntire
October 09, 2012
American Road Machinery officials proudly show off the latest in their equipment line: vacuum trucks for hauling fresh water to and from well sites. Clockwise from left are Nick Ballas, Will Ballas and Matthew Valentine.
When oil and gas companies began arriving in northeast Ohio, Nick Ballas and Matthew Valentine didn’t sit back and wait to see what evolved, they saw it as an opportunity to grow their business.
As owners of The American Road Machinery Company in Minerva, they sat down, asked themselves how they could benefit from this insurgence and went to work immediately on projects that are expanding their business and providing a necessary service to oil and gas companies.
“We sat down in the fall of 2011, looked around at the oil and gas business and asked ourselves, ‘How can we be part of this’?” said Valentine. “We decided we could do what we do best; build equipment.
The American Road Machinery Company was born on Dec. 1, 2010, but can trace its history and experience back some 40 years as one of the nation’s premier municipal equipment innovators and manufacturers. Building on that tradition, Ballas and Valentine decided to capitalize on their company’s abilities.
They already manufactured vacuum leaf collectors so the concept of upfitting equipment vacuum trucks for hauling fresh water, brine and processed to and from well sites was a perfect fit.
“We are partnering with truck dealerships to get the bare chassis and build the vacuum system and tank,” explained Ballas. “Originally, it took about three weeks to finish a truck, but now we have it down to 12 working days. We work on three to four trucks per week.”
In order to market their new equipment, company officials are working with a shale group in Athens, OH to get the word out, and better yet, they are the only company in eastern and south eastern Ohio to take the initiative.
“We are located right in the middle of the Marcellus and Utica shale movements, which allows us to deliver the trucks in a timely and cost effective manner,” Valentine stated.
“We are also very flexible,” added Will Ballas, manager of Business Development for the company.
“We outfit the trucks with different size tanks and a variety of pump packages. Trucks can also be customized with heavy duty front and rear bumpers, lighting and other options and features.”
They are acutely aware the oil and gas business does on operate on a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule.
“We are set up in 24-7 mode to provide service to our customers. We will work extra shifts in necessary to get the job done,” Valentine said.
They didn’t stop there. They now build winch trucks covering the range from frac movers to heavy haulers with winches from Braden and Tulsa.
“These trucks pick up the trailers and take them from one oil well site to another,” Ballas said. “They things pull anything between the range of 30,000 to 90,000 pounds.”
The staff’s discussion led in another direction as well: what could they do to assist in the event of a spill at a well site?
A natural fit for the company was to purchase trailers and outfit them with everything necessary to responds to a spill, which they are now doing.
Called the Oil Spill Response Trailer, it comes self-contained, complete with hazmat gear for responders, and offers a disposal service as well.
“We will dispose of the used material and will restock the trailer and have it ready to go again,” said Valentine.
The new line of products compliments the company’s established products.
“We have not dropped anything and continue to add innovations to our existing line,” said Nick Ballas. “We have been outfitting trucks for over 40 years. Our mission is to hang equipment on trucks and we are finding new ways to do it.”
They are quick to give credit to the employees who they say have “done a great job of learning and adapting.”
“We have approximately 42 employees who have been willing to learn and work whatever hours it takes to get the job done.”
The next step is to make the public aware their new products, which is being accomplished by adding an outside sales force and moving into the western markets. A new building is also within their sites and that management team is working with village of Minerva officials to make it a reality.