30 years of boreholes | Drilcorp

By Drilcorp Founder and CEO, Dave Gowans

They say, “Time flies when you are having fun”. Well, on 28th February 2022 Drilcorp turns 30 years old but it only seems like yesterday that I first registered the company. So, if the adage is correct then I must have been having a ball for the last three decades.

There have been many fun times over those years but I should acknowledge that the passage of time is also quick when you are up to your neck in challenges, battling difficult ground conditions, broken drill pipes and encountering new regulations. Add to that, day-to-day matters like employment law issues, late payments, global recessions and COVID-19 (to name but a few) and you’ll forgive me for losing track of time.

Anyway, here we are, still enjoying our successes and tackling our challenges head on. We’re also still smiling and, worryingly, time seems to be flying ever faster.

I have been asked, “What are the key milestones you’ve encountered in the last 30 years as the company has grown and evolved.” The expected answer to that question would probably be the purchase of a new machine or the winning of a big contract.

For me, though, the pivotal moments have often been based around technology and communications. In the nineties, we had to hand-write tenders and pass them over to a member of the team working on a typewriter. Tenders would then be sent out via our state-of-the-art fax machine.

Back in those early days we would carry out a contract with just a handful of A4 pages of text. We now have war and peace just in the RAMS (we had no RAMS in those days) for a day’s work.

We did not have a computer in the year 2000. Yet we were still banned from working for government bodies such as councils as we were not Y2K compliant. Our typewriter would still work but we were unable to get approval due to fears over the millennium bug.

We all stood with bated breath as 1999 drew to a close and the new year approached, waiting for the aeroplanes to fall out of the sky and all communications to fail. Of course, nothing happened.

My first mobile phone was connected to my car and if the engine was not running the battery would drain in just a few minutes – so much so that an indicator would not even work. When we eventually got handheld mobiles for field staff, we were charged a fortune for every minute used.

In 2022, airtime on smartphones is the cheapest feature and devices are able to do more than any computer or camera from days gone by. They take pictures, make videos, connect to the Internet, play games, send texts and also make phone calls.

The internet was just emerging during the nineties but was it nothing like we have today. There was no such thing as an email or text – looking back it is almost difficult to see how we ever got anything done?

And yet somehow we did.

30 years ago, Drilcorp started life using a second-hand Edeco Stratadrill 40 mounted on an old Bedford truck.

Our first rig

Over time, we were able to update and add to our fleet. We purchased increasingly modern drilling rigs and tracked compressors, all of the time gaining a reputation for providing a high quality, expert service.

In 2022, I am proud to say that we have a large and diverse range of clients that includes public utility water supply companies, world renowned water bottling companies, civil engineering companies, government agencies and individual homeowners who need an independent water supply. We not only construct the water supply boreholes, we maintain, refurbish, test pump and, when necessary, abandon disused boreholes.

While the future is always hard to predict, what I will say is that we have come a long way over the last three decades and I’m excited to see how we will continue to grow and evolve as we progress into this next decade of our journey.

Some of our fleet

To find out more about all services provided by Drilcorp, please get in touch via info@drilcorp.vm or by calling 0191 5273970.

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