Case Studies

Geeding Construction Inc.

Family-owned Pipeline Services in the Central United States

In 1982 Jim Geeding founded a small pipeline construction company, including little more than a four-wheel drive pickup and a tractor with a brush hog attachment. Jim had worked for the previous owners since 1967, staying with the business through several incarnations before it became his own. For over 30 years, the company has grown as Geeding Construction Inc. (Geeding).
Jim’s sons, Steve and Dale Geeding, president and senior vice president of Geeding, respectively, have taken over management of the family business. “Our dad, at 73, is still involved with the business,” Steve notes. “He comes in every day and takes care of the permitting for trucks. He monitors equipment and drivers, making sure everything and everyone gets where it needs to be.”
Geeding specializes in pipeline construction and maintenance. The company stands apart from other contractors by acting as a one-stop shop for oil and gas companies looking for top-quality maintenance and repair of their pipelines.
“Our goal is to provide industry-leading service with leading safety, ethics and integrity,” Steve explains. “We serve major oil and gas pipeline companies throughout the Midwest and eastern United States. Our clients include around 20 major names in the industry. The mission of our company is to play an essential role in maintaining the safety and integrity of the United States oil and gas pipeline system.”
A Place to Grow
The crew operates from three locations across the central United States. The company’s headquarters is located in Troy, Mo., with two additional satellite offices in Lima, Ohio, as well as a division in Drumright, Okla.
“We work anywhere from North Dakota to Florida, from Pennsylvania to Wyoming,” says Dale. “Our only geographic limit is how far away a job is from one of our three divisions. We have our own engineering department with a professional engineer. We can do everything from station work to dirt work to filling the pipeline when it’s all done. We sub out electrical, but we do concrete work, pipe fabrication, insulation, setting and aligning pumps to motors, and filling and starting the operation of a pipeline.
“Our expansion in the last three or four years has been pretty impressive,” Dale continues. “The property is 30 acres, all utilized, with about a dozen buildings. We have the mechanic shop, welding shop and equipment organized around the property. We own about 1,500 pieces of equipment, including bulldozers, excavators, Bobcats and boats. A lot of our competitors rent equipment, but we own and maintain it ourselves. We don’t want equipment in the field that does not represent our high quality standards.”
Geeding is also committed to training, and believes that highly trained employees provide the highest quality service to customers. “Many people don’t realize we have a NCCER safety and pipeline training center at our headquarters,” Dale says.
“Before employees can go out on the pipeline to perform a task, they receive classroom training from our certified trainers,” Steve adds. “They also have to pass certain tests, both written and hands-on, before they can get out on a job site. We put a fully operational pipeline around our training center building. This allows our certified trainers to teach employees many tasks before they go out on a right of way. There’s nothing we can’t teach here at our facilities as far as any task on the line itself. Some of our customers send their employees to us so they can train on our mock pipeline.”
Challenging Work
Geeding’s contracts come with a wide range of scope and cost. One of the company’s crews is currently working on a project with a leading oil company to maintain lines and prevent spills.
“We have ongoing work doing anomaly digs,” Dale explains. “We are working with a company that performs PIGging, an electronic system of discovering faults in pipelines. The pipeline inspection gauges (PIGs) are tiny, magnetic computers with sensor and feelers that travel inside the pipes. They are really expensive and we do not have our own PIGs, but we work with companies that just specialize in running PIGs. The equipment detects defects such as cracks and changes in wall thickness. The PIG flows with the liquid and takes a few days to complete its trip. Then, the PIG is removed; data from the PIG is downloaded onto a computer for proper analysis. Once the oil company has that information, they call us and we use that information to dig and make repairs on the pipelines.”
Clients can rely on Geeding for testing, maintenance, metering, valve and pump construction and service, as well as specialty coating application. The business even has an emergency response team, offering peace of mind to customers; 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Geeding provides customers with a crew ready to restore pipeline and prevent damage to communities.
Continued Growth
According to the Geeding brothers, the recent economic downturn had little effect on business. “We powered through because the type of work we do never stops,” Dale explains. “Our biggest challenge has been growing our own foremen and superintendents. Especially as we grow at the current rate, it is difficult to find the right people with the right skill sets. Training is part of it, but that doesn’t build up the years and years of experience that these positions require. We have a mentoring program where we pair our employees in the field who want to move up to that role with a foreman or superintendent, but it can still be tough.”
While the oil business continues to boom, Geeding is trying to promote from within. Across the country, Steve and Dale say they have seen signs of recovery, albeit slow. “We hope that maintains or accelerates,” Dale says. “We have seen good things happening in the community, but the country has a long way to go.” For the time being, the company remains focused on manageable growth and providing leading service to its major clients.
“We measure our success on whether we have an impact on people’s lives,” Steve says. “We want to serve our customers well and turn a profit, but our biggest concern is sending all of our employees home safe and healthy at the end of the day. Our people are our greatest asset and they give us a real sense of pride. A company is only as good as its people are and ours are great. We brag about them all the time. Some of our employees have been with us for nearly 30 years. They still love working here. This is a great place and we are glad to have a team that looks forward to coming to work.”
It is evident that Steve and Dale share a passion for Geeding, a quality that continues to drive the company to success and growth year after year. Clients know they can count on Geeding for safety and expertise. Whether growing, maintaining or repairing pipelines, oil companies are secure in the team’s guaranteed performance that exceeds industry standards. A high level of service, safety, ethics and integrity combine to push Geeding Construction Inc. into a fourth decade of well-deserved growth.

Published on: March 14, 2014

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