By Josh Erdman, Senior Consultant
Shock and Awe
I had no idea what to expect when visiting an industrial drill bit company. I knew there would be lots of metal and welding for sure, but when I stepped into the lobby at Melfred Borzall, all my expectations went out the window.
There were drill bits and tools for boring, sure, but it was the sheer scale of these industrial juggernauts that was beyond anything I had imagined. These things were massive – but that wasn’t all. What struck me was the unexpected marriage of design and function these tools embodied. Clearly, these were the best tools for any drilling job – but who would expect them to be so darn stylish? Fire engine red with snarling teeth offset with shiny chrome, Melfred Borzall’s products are in a class if their own.
The point of our visit with Marketing Director Peter Melsheimer was to build a 3-year technology plan that would focus on future investments with server storage, backups, and centralizing data storage for all the employees. As we browsed through the user accounts and the typical data files I realized that we were building a new infrastructure for file storage that would house data collected throughout this company’s long history of 70 years. I love history, so learning a company’s story always is of interest to me, so I asked for a tour to give us a better perspective.
Peter told me that in 1946 his grandfather, Fred Melsheimer, literally turned the industry on its side when he invented the first horizontal drilling system by, well, turning an oil well drilling system onto its side. Fred continues to be known as the father of horizontal directional drilling today.
Peter walked us through the shop where parts are machined and then welded together to make the drill bits and accessories and onto the warehouse where I was blown away by the variety and size of these tools. Some bits and bores are so big, large slabs of steel are custom cut and then stacked on top of each other and welded into place to create the final piece.
Lifeline to the Future
Finally, Peter showed me their custom trailer, a portable welding classroom designed specifically for career days at the local high schools. It rocked an impressive inventory of metal parts – steel rods, washers, and tubes, that they give the kids to weld into their own metal works of art. He even sent me home with a handful of these parts so I could continue the welding projects I was working on with my own children.
It was evident that education and outreach are where the company’s’ passion lies – they invest a significant amount of thought and time to expose high school kids to a trade that pays well and is another option for those who have made up their mind not to go to college. I left feeling very excited and proud to be helping plan Melfred Borzall’s technology future, knowing they are doing so much to help guide the future of our local students in such a positive way.