History of Power Zone Equipment, Inc.
By Trevor Toews / Co-founder
Like most family-founded businesses in this great country, Power Zone Equipment, Inc. had small beginnings. In 1999, my father and I set up office in a renovated two-car garage at our residence near Center, CO. Across the field, we hauled in a used rail car and set up a limited workshop while we looked for a place to build a better facility. Drawing from Dad’s past experience in managing similar businesses in Canada, and my enthusiasm to learn the trade, we began hunting the country for opportunities to buy equipment. Our vision from the start was to help companies get some value out of their surplus equipment, then repurpose that inventory to suit our customer’s applications, at a lower cost and faster than their option of buying new equipment. We held honesty and integrity in high regard, and in that framework looked for opportunity. The values of the company have always been faith-based, and we honor God as our ultimate Director.
Following our noses to countless bone yards, auction sales, and forgotten oil leases, we started finding used pumps and engines. I never took a personal vacation with my dad without some fascinating side trip down a bumpy field road. Some of the first truckloads of equipment we brought home came from abandoned refineries in places like Ulysses, Kansas and Pampa, TX. Much of the dismantling was done by the two of us in those early days, and as I think about it, that may have been the last time I saw my father in coveralls!
As our inventory began to accumulate, we located a piece of ground north-west of Center, CO, where we could build a shop and office building. It was along the highway (US285) and there was plenty of room to grow. The first structure we completed in 2001 was only 2600 square feet, but worlds better than our garage/rail car combo to the south. Today, the original building makes up the front office of our facility.
It is difficult to buy and sell surplus equipment, and do so in a way that assures the customer he is spending his money on sound product, without offering inspection, repair, and other basic services. We quickly reached the point where we needed to hire some top-rate employees, and thus began an enriching and colorful relationship with the company’s Most Important Asset, our team.
As the team grew, so did our capabilities. We added a 6000-square-foot manufacturing shop in 2003, and started responding to the increasing requests from our customers for complete pump packages. Even though the “as-is” sales made up a large share of our business, we were enthused about the rebuilt equipment we were producing and took pride in the turn-key pumping systems that we completed. One of the major projects we manufactured on in 2004 was a 12’x40’ pumping platform that shipped to Egypt. International sales continued to increase from that time.
Early in the evolution of our procedures, we saw the need to test the finished pump packages as extensively as possible before they left our shop. We buried a 3000 gallon water tank underground and set up an outdoor test loop. This was the first of many different testing stations with various configurations we have assembled through the years. We still agree that the use of a robust test loop is the best way to ensure a pump is ready to run when it heads out to the field...
In 2007, we once again were running low on space for the level of production we had reached. One of our most pressing needs was increased machining capabilities, and more office space. We started another construction project that added 1600 square feet of office area and a 2700 square foot machine shop. We increased the incoming electric power capacity, which allowed us to purchase a second engine lathe, a large horizontal boring mill, and some other small machine tools.
Meanwhile, the inventory was also growing and we opened a second equipment yard a few miles away. We tooled up a better service truck. We purchased more and bigger fork lifts. We added overhead cranes, metal working machines, and a long row of covered pallet racking. In short, we were continually identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies, and then finding solutions to make our processes flow more smoothly. Innovative ideas and remarkable skill from the team made it all possible.
Most years we were blessed with an abundance of worthwhile projects, fantastic customers, and interesting applications. There were also times when sales were slow, the market was tough, and we had to re-invent how we would respond to changing times. These challenging times gave us opportunities to take a close look at our efficiency, strengthen our capabilities, and organize. We also built pump packages on speculation during the slow times, which enabled us to respond quickly with complete pump packages when the market turned brisk again.
We saw a promising opportunity to rent pump packages from time to time, and focused on building a rental fleet with a wide range of capabilities. It was an excellent way to compliment pump sales, and the rental service we provide has grown to a substantial portion of our business.
The fourth major construction project commenced in 2011, when a row of mechanics bays were added to the east of the main shop. This provided a cleaner, more controlled environment for pump rebuilds to take place, and improved the flow and efficiency of our manufacturing and packaging process. Each bay was fully equipped with an overhead crane, and was designed for productivity and quality control.