Riley Industrial Services Inc.
- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
G.W. “Sonny” Riley established Riley Industrial Services Inc. (RIS) in 1970 as an offshoot of his equipment rental company. Over 40 years later, RIS remains a family-owned and -operated company with three generations of active Riley family members.
The team at RIS proudly offers clients a choice between sandblasting, hydro-blasting, industrial painting and coating, as well as industrial vacuum truck services. RIS represents an increasingly diverse set of specialties to serve industrial, mining, power generation and the oil and gas industries with over 350 employees across six total offices. Above all, RIS holds fast to the values of safety, integrity and loyalty in its operations, ensuring the team remains ready to handle virtually any request.
“There’s a wide variety of services we offer, but our main specialty is just being the go-to choice for our clients,” admits Amy Riley, director for public relations and marketing at RIS. The company maintains headquarters in Farmington, N.M., as well as branch offices in Show Low, Ariz.; Lubbock and Odessa, Texas; and one remote office in Basin, Wyo. The network of outposts enables RIS to serve clients across the Four Corners Region and into the major industrial activity centers in the western half of the country.
RIS continues to offer sandblasting services, but the company added other specialties to provide a complete industrial services package. The RIS team represents a mix of skilled professionals ready to lend their expertise to hydro excavation, painting, coatings, lead abatement, equipment refinishing and turbine blasting. RIS also invested heavily in vacuum services and maintains a fleet of equipment suited for handling liquids, solids and slurries for safe containment and transportation off site.
In fact, RIS’ diversification over the years has garnered the company a loyal following of clientele across many market sectors. So when the economic downturn hit in 2009, RIS was able to simply shift its resources to focus its efforts on active markets and solidify its place as the Southwest’s industrial service provider of choice. “We can proudly say that we never had to have a layoff and actually, we were able to expand,” adds Amy.
Seizing an Opportunity
Instead of holding back, RIS decided to double down and pursue growth by moving into areas with booming industrial activity. RIS opened its Lubbock, Texas, office in 2010 and the Odessa, Texas, office followed in July 2012.
By 2013, RIS will operate a total of 33 industrial vacuum trucks and 31 hydro excavator units. RIS equips the hydro excavators with both hot water heaters and high pressure water pumps to remain functional in even the most tundra-like conditions, ensuring clients can call upon RIS to lend a hand at the plant and out in the field.
The company also operates 75 sandblasters designed and built in-house, 14 water-blasting machines, 225 18-wheelers, 100 flatbed trailers, plenty of walkie-talkies and possibly the largest tire shop in Farmington. Of course, maintaining such a large fleet of equipment requires extensive facilities and RIS operates a 130,000-square foot shop at its Farmington headquarters for just such purposes. The space includes a 20,000-square foot repair shop and a roughly 4,500-square foot welding shop to keep the fleet in tip-top shape through the seasons.
With such diverse services, RIS maintains the professionals and equipment needed to stay busy throughout both winter and warmer months, something Riley pursued rigorously from the beginning. RIS was born out of Riley’s desire to put some little-used sandblasting equipment to good use for customers and provide a bit of balance for when equipment rentals were slow. Eventually, the sandblasting operations branched out into the industrial maintenance and coatings side of the business and eventually RIS began building its own customizes hydro-blasting equipment.
Behind the scenes, the company worked to invest equally in the safety and professional development of its employees, which RIS considers to be family. The company opened a $1 million state-of-the-art training facility in 2010 to host the ongoing variety of specialized safety training courses to stay abreast of new industry regulations and ensure employees are adequately prepared to whatever the client may need.
After all, RIS made a name for itself by pursuing the kinds of projects that make most industrial service companies uneasy. For example, in 2005 RIS landed a contract to sandblast and repaint a 2,000-foot long natural gas pipeline spanning southwestern Wyoming. Sandblasting a natural gas pipeline presents its own challenges, but this project managed to draw only one other bidder as the pipeline was covered in lead-based paint and suspended across the Green River at the Flaming Gorge Dam in the middle of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.
Nevertheless, RIS employees developed a system to support the bulldozers and trucks with a steel cable to keep the vehicles from sliding down the steep terrain. RIS also devised a rig up to hold the sandblasters and all the equipment to simultaneously sandblast and paint the underside of the pipeline as the equipment moved along. The team managed to design the rig up to also catch and sequester and falling paint chips that may have escaped the team’s vacuums. RIS delivered the project 18 months later, just as the company promised.
It’s hard to say exactly what’s next for RIS, but two things remain certain: the team won’t be backing away from challenging projects any time soon and the Riley family has no plans of letting the company go. Wherever opportunity lies next for the team, Riley Industrial Services Inc. will work to ensure every client has a partner for the most challenging jobs.
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