“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” You’ve likely heard that Aristotle quote before. And, it holds some water.
More than likely, you appreciate that entree without thinking about each individual ingredient that went into it. Or, you admire that sports car without thinking about all of the different components that manage to make it run.
But, let’s face it—even if they don’t often get the individual attention and praise they deserve, the singular parts are still important. After all, that sports car isn’t quite as impressive without that crisp red paint job or that upgraded engine.
This same concept holds true in the drilling industry. And, what’s one of the parts that—while you may not think of it often—is still undeniably important? Manhole covers.
Identifying a Need
After recognizing a major need in the drilling industry, Jeff Garby and his partner Carlos Lima took the leap into entrepreneurship to start Alucast Industries in Canada, which manufactures environmentally-friendly manhole covers—the kinds that come into contact with different contaminants at places like gas stations and drilling sites.
“Issues unscrewing the bolts, we couldn’t remove the cover, gaskets would rip, the skirt would break,” Garby explains of his previous experience with manhole covers, “We had daily issues with bad products. I think this always stuck with us and the stars aligned one day. We said jokingly that we would design a manhole cover that everyone would love.”
A Better Manhole Cover
And, that’s exactly what they did. Garby and Lima started with international market research with drillers and engineering firms to hit on some of the main complaints and pain points involved with the existing manhole covers. “Funny enough, of the 10 countries we did market research in, 90% of the complaints were the same,” he adds.
From there, Alucast took a grassroots approach to marketing. “We connected with drillers and engineering firms globally and started listening. We joined many of the drilling communities and asked more questions. We have drilling backgrounds, so we found it easy to fit in with this culture.”
Alucast also leveraged social media to spread the word about their better alternative to the existing manhole covers of the oil industry. This more organic approach was their goal all along. “We decided from the beginning that we would let the drillers and engineering firms learn about our products and what they bring to our industry, instead of trying to sell our products to distributors,” Garby explains.
With such an innovative product that addresses an obvious need, Alucast is growing. “Demand for our product is high and global, so we are expanding our market share to Australia, the US, and the UK by the end of the year,” he adds.
Making a Difference
There’s no doubt, Garby and his Alucast team have a lot to look forward to. But, their agendas are never too busy to help out others—including making a big difference for one of our own Pink Petro Members, Tina Peters. In fact, Alucast sponsored Tina's recent trip to HERWorld Energy Forum in Houston, TX.
Garby and Peters met through social media. “We enjoyed the information Tina was providing about the industry standards and issues, and she appreciated the specialized information we provided to the drilling industry,” Garby says, “Tina seems very passionate, and two passionate people get along great together.”
“Sometimes life offers you the opportunity to meet wonderful people,” he adds “And, with Tina, we didn’t let that opportunity slip by.”
Garby and Alucast believe so strongly in the value that Peters brings to the energy industry, that they made the decision to sponsor her trip to HERWorld, so that she could offer her voice and expertise as a panelist at the event.
“We believe Tina has a voice in this industry and should have the opportunity to offer her great perspectives to the Pink Petro audience,” Garby concludes, “We wanted to help her out as much as we could to ensure she could be present at this event. Tina is a wonderful woman, a very caring human being, and sometimes that just inspires you to do great things for great people.”