JOURNAL: So how do you get that knowledge?
BEAVERS: We get most of our training from the
manufacturers of the equipment that we work with. The
good ones will always offer training on their products,
and you have to take advantage of that. You have to be
familiar with all of the manufacturers and their technologies
so you aren’t locked into a single approach. Different
jobs require different
solutions, and you have
to understand all of the
would you advise
someone who is
interested in this
new market but who
wants to be careful,
take small steps and
walk before they run?
most important thing is to try and team yourself with
another company that has in-depth CNG experience and
see if you can work together. That’s certainly what we
did when we got started. Even now, we partner with other
companies in various ways.
We might, for example, build a relationship with a
service company that has a strong presence in a state where
we are building a new station. If there is a gas leak or a
simple reset has to be done, they can be our first responder.
They’ll get there and evaluate the situation. Then through
a phone call with myself or one of our staff, we’ll determine
together if it’s something they can handle or if it’s something
we need to respond to. That practice allows us to reduce the
response time to the customer.
I’ve also worked with a partner in another state who
had some special civil expertise that we combined with
our mechanical expertise. That relationship started when
we met at a meeting and he said, “I don’t know anything
about CNG, but I know that I want to get into it. Do you
think we can figure out a way to work together?” It’s taken
quite a while, but we’ve worked on several small projects
and have built that relationship up. Now, they are gaining
experience, and we’re working pretty well together as a team.
JOURNAL: Are there any other keys to a successful
BEAVERS: Just make sure that when you look for a
partner to help teach you the ropes, you find someone with
real experience and a strong commitment to doing things
the right way.
out of nowhere,
can do the work,
but they do so by
I can’t stress
dangerous it is to
cut corners in this
are very serious projects that we’re talking about. It takes
money to do things the right way, and lots of safety features
have to be built in. Make sure your partner doesn’t just
have a colorful brochure and a fancy website. Ask them to
show you locations they’ve actually worked on.
JOURNAL: What strengths do PEI distributors and
service companies have that they can build on in the CNG
BEAVERS: I’d say the strength of having an infrastructure, a
territory and customers that are asking about CNG. In a sense,
that’s how our work with NYNEG got started. We were already
doing their petroleum work, and we just added CNG to the
portfolio. We didn’t know CNG in the beginning, but we had a
customer who trusted us with their traditional fuels and wanted
to get into CNG.
You will have to get training and maybe a more experienced partner’s help. But the foundation is there. You already
know how to respond to calls; you know how to train techs;
you know how to manage service; and you have built relationships with customers who want CNG. That’s a very strong
Compressor compound and electrical room for an unmanned CNG station.
The open-air design prevents any natural gas from being trapped inside.