Case Studies

Craft Electric Inc.

Integrated electrical construction services for the oil and gas industry

Mike Craft began his electrical career in the Wyoming oil fields. After that training, he founded Craft Electric Inc., a small commercial and residential electrical services company in Williston, North Dakota, in 1977. In 1987 he moved his business home to Stanley, North Dakota. Today, the company provides integrated electrical services for oil and gas production operations in North Dakota and Colorado.

Between three locations in Stanley, North Dakota; Minot, North Dakota; and a new office in Colorado, Craft Electric employs 85 people including several teams of experienced electricians specializing in oil and gas applications. Over the years, this dedicated staff has honed its expertise and built lasting relationships with clients serving America’s energy needs.

Maintaining a strong market share

While Craft Electric still performs some commercial work, the company’s largest target market is the oil and gas industry, raking in approximately 95 percent of revenue. “We work on oil production sites, pipeline compression stations, saltwater disposals, fresh water injection systems, rail load out stations and we’ve even done some wind towers,” says Mike W., general manager of Craft Electric. “We opened a Colorado division in August, based on relationships with existing clients who couldn’t find reliable people to do the job in Colorado.”

The business now serves production clients extracting oil and gas from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and the Niobrara formation in Colorado. Though Craft Electric serves a specific niche in the industry, the company still faces a significant amount of competition. In order to stay ahead, the team focuses on quality work and quick, responsive customer service.

“The prices are dropping, a lot of our competitors are losing guys and we’ve been able to spread our crews out more,” says Mike W. “We have picked up new customers based on price and because we have a company mentality that prioritizes service and value. Our customers’ success is important to us and we work with them as partners. Despite the recent recession, we have not lost much ground and we have gained customers. They know that we can provide a better finished product because of the level of commitment we have to their success.”

Working together

Craft Electric’s rock-solid relationships have culminated in a broad portfolio of complex electrical projects. In both North Dakota and Colorado, the team has tackled diverse system installations and service work in the oilfields.

“Our customer in Colorado has a lot of big facility projects,” says Mike W. “Some of the more fun ones have been salt water disposals and freshwater injection systems they get to be large multipad facilities. We have a really great crew of super knowledgeable automation guys and we can push into that direction which is where I feel like the future is going.”

In a combined effort, the leadership and staff of Craft Electric continue to rise to new challenges. In an industry and a market that change frequently and rapidly, technology plays an important role in the company’s success. Craft Electric is continuously upgrading materials and in-house skill sets in order to improve value for clients.

“We’re really pushing into the supervisory control and data acquisition [SCADA] side of the industry which is where the programmable logic controller [PLC] can be operated and manipulated remotely,” he elaborates.
“You can do it on a computer at home or in the office and manipulate it from there. The more we get into that the more interesting it is to see what can be done. We have younger guys working on it and they are full of fresh ideas. We are currently developing a server system to display to a prospective customer.”

Looking ahead

Over the years, Craft Electric has been able to build and sustain growth through careful management and organic expansion. “One of the biggest challenges for us is growth spans,” says Mike W. “The slowdown period was nice, but since then we have picked up five or six new or recurring customers and kept our staff up. Our fast growth has been a significant challenge.  We work to be careful with spending and fixing glitches we knew existed, all while maintaining value and professionalism on each project.”

Over the coming years, Mike Craft and Mike W. see continued expansion, although at a steadier pace. While the price of oil is low and production companies are spending less, they anticipate that the price will rise again. “For now, we’ll continue to expand our customer base, but probably not substantially,” he notes. “We are just gearing up for when prices come back and continuing to improve our control and capabilities. Then we’ll be ready for it when the market grows again.”

Looking ahead, the team will continue to hone its electrical expertise and maintain service-based relationships with customers. “Craft Electric is very proud of the quality men we have out there representing us every day,” says Mike Craft. “That’s what makes us unbeatable, we work as a team.”

Through professional conduct, efficient operations and a willingness to adapt to new technology within the industry, Craft Electric Inc. remains a leader for energy-industrial electrical services. 

Published on: September 16, 2015

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