Tagged: oil and gas

Blood & $45 Oil

A few days ago marked the tenth year anniversary of my father’s death. He started buying valves out of scrap yards in the seventies, loading them into the trunk of his car, and driving thousands of miles to offload them to a buyer base he established all over the gulf coast. Eventually he managed to buy a truck, then a trailer, and then moved his family to Corpus Christi, so he was closer to the scrap yards. Over the next twenty years, he built one of the largest inventories of used valves and wellheads through hard work, and hustle.

Three years before my Father died, he asked for me to come join him, which I did, and hated it, until I loved it. It was like an arranged marriage, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was born to buy and sell equipment; it was in my blood. Not long after I joined the company my Dad started, my youngest sister got involved in the business, and it was the first time I spent any time with her as an adult. It was fun.

My Dad died a few years later, and although I had spent six months out of the year playing professional baseball, I had picked up the business enough during the off-season working for my Dad, to take over the business. A few months later, my brother joined our team of ten, and the next couple of years we caught fire. My sister and brother left the family business at different times and started their own companies, respectfully. It caused a riff in our relationships for a time. Over the course of the next ten years, the company my father had started from the trunk of his car became a globally recognized manufacturer of pressure control equipment. I sold the business in June of 2012, and have many scars to remind me of the pain, sacrifice, and loss that led up to the exit.

The past couple of years have been full of ups in down, both personally and professionally, but in spite of $45 oil; we’re still making it, and finding time to reconnect as a family. We’ve even talked about working together. Some say blood and oil don’t mix. We shall see.

This business can be ruthless. At any moment, it can turn on a dime, and bring grown men to their knees, and show the smartest guys in the room how much they have to learn; I certainly am no exception. However, now that I’ve had my fair share of experience, my plan is to stay focused on what’s most important…what cannot be taken away.

About Henderson

A slightly-seasoned, serial entrepreneur who is passionate about people, purpose, and giving back.

Henderson started his first company at 19, and since then has bought and sold, or started and sold a total of nine companies, including, and most recently DOYLES, an Inc. 5000 recipient in 2008/09.

Henderson is the founder of Henderson Rigs & Equipment, a leader in the sales and brokerage of drilling rigs and capital equipment; as well as the founder of DrillingExchange.com, the fastest growing, commission-free, on-line marketplace that connects buyers and sellers with no middle man.

Determined to do the right thing, Henderson makes no apologies for his approach. His direct, non-conforming style is certainly uncommon, but most of all, his disarming transparency is what makes him one of a kind.

Last Rig Standing

Last year, OTC set an attendance record with nearly 110,000 O&G professionals from around the world; the most since 1982. More than 4,500 rigs were running that year, and by the mid 80’s, less than 600 rigs were turning right. Arguably the worst bust ever. To most in the space today, something they will only know of through the memories of the old-timers. However, if you haven’t had a chance to drive through Midland/Odessa, the picture above tells it all; dozens of brand new 1500HP AC drilling rigs standing tall, waiting for their chance to get in the mud.

Everyone has an opinion, but most drilling contractors agree that the days of mechanical rigs are behind us, at least here in the US, and in large part. SCR rigs have replaced most, and AC rigs, believe it or not, are still being built by the heavyweights in our industry, albeit at a slower roll. The cost corrections have been made, oil prices are climbing, and hundreds of the land rigs that have been stacked will be back to work before we know it, along with the ones that can actually run them. My prediction anyway.

But, I guess the smell from the blood in the streets travels East, because we’ve been fielding a plethora of calls and emails from MENA, Europe, and Asia from drilling companies who are curios to learn what they can buy on the cheap. And of course, an SCR rig is a major upgrade for a lot of these drillers, so needless to say, we’ve become quite popular. Prolific times, no doubt, and a day that I certainly will later reminisce with my children, should they decide to follow the steps of their father, and grandfather. I sure hope they do. I love this business.

So, what will be the last rig standing? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d bet big that it will be one whose life was long, hard, and at times lonely. Even rigs must succumb to the circle of life.

Hope to see you at OTC!

About Henderson

Henderson Rigs & Equipment is a Houston-based U.S. supplier of new and remanufactured drilling rigs and drilling equipment to domestic and international drilling contractors. In addition to our own new and remanufactured equipment, Henderson engages a large, Worldwide network of quality vendors, which allows us to locate virtually any piece of equipment used on a drilling rig.

Hard to be a Hustler

After selling DOYLES in June of 2012, I had a choice. Stay on with the company that acquired us, have a big title, a nice salary, stock that vested over three years, or…I could quit, or resign as some would call it. Of course, I did what anyone entrepreneur would do in my situation, I quit after only four months. Quitting meant that two thirds of my income would be interrupted for what was an unknown amount of time, and it also meant forfeiting the stock the company had worked so hard to keep during our negotiations. But, I felt as if I had no choice. For 16 years at that time, I’d never worked for anyone, and although I liked the people that I would be working with, I needed to be in control of my own destiny. Donedees.

So, there I was, no job, no business to speak of, no team, and no real income. I was in EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) at the time, and I remember making a presentation to my forum taking them through the 11 opportunities I was pursuing. I was throwing everything up on the wall to see if it would stick, and it was as if the wall was made of teflon. One of my forum mates challenged me to figure out what I was going to focus on, because no one can pursue anything and everything that they are interested in, and be good at all of them. So, I did; got focused that is.

As I reflected over the success and failures I had experienced over my career, I realized that the O&G space had been good to me, and that it was best that I leverage the skills and experience I had to impact the industry in a positive way. Although being in business for many years at the time had rounded out my skills, my passion was and remains sales, marketing, branding, business development, etc. All customer facing aspects of running a business. I can read a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement better than most, but prefer to discuss strategy, vision, and market domination through unparalleled service, honesty, and transparency.

So, I launched DrillingExchange.com at OTC in May of 2013, as it allowed me to marry the skills I had developed by running a large web development company in the late nineties with the previous 10 years I’d spend in the oilfield equipment space. It was a very successful launch, and although there’s been some rough patches, the company has developed into a viable on-line marketplace for drilling rigs and equipment. Plug: If you have rigs and equipment for sale, and you don’t have them listed on DX, shame on you. Then, in November of the same year, part of my non-compete expired, so I started trading equipment again. Boy, was I disappointed.

For the past ten years, I had invested a significant part of my time and energy into building a company that stood for something, and I was under the impression that once I was “back in business” I’d have a huge following of fans and supporters. Nope. I was discouraged, depressed, and at times angry. And then it struck me…I was a nobody. It’s funny now, but at the time, I realized that although we had built a good reputation as a company, I had been successful in making sure that the company didn’t need me to operate as a business, and as a result, no one knew that the values that built DOYLES, were ones I had instilled in the company, and it’s people. It was time for me to go back to work, and build relationships one customer and relationship at a time.

I hit the road, made mistakes, and more phone calls per month than I had in previous years combined. If I were going to be successful in the buying and selling of rigs and equipment, I was going to have become a hustler, no differently than I was when I started my first business more than 15 years prior. Smile and dial, greet and meet, conventions, luncheons…the whole nine yards. Oh, and once I got up off my ass, and got a goal, good things started happening, and mama got a brand new bag.

Whether you run your own business, or work for someone, you can still be a hustler, and control your own destiny. That doesn’t always mean you’ll be rich, or wealthy, but if you want to be successful on your terms, you got to find the hustle, but be warned; it’s hard to be a hustler. Leaving you with one of the greatest movie scenes ever from Pain & Gain.

About Dan Henderson
Henderson is the founder of Henderson Rigs & Equipment, a leader in the sales and brokerage of drilling rigs and capital equipment; as well as the founder of DrillingExchange.com, the fastest growing, commission-free, on-line marketplace that connects buyers and sellers with no middle man.