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American Trucker: Aveda Transportation is Growing its Oil-Drilling Rig-Hauling Business Safely and Efficiently

“Our culture is built on safety,” said Ronnie Witherspoon, CEO of Aveda Transportation and Energy Services. “We have established standards for everyone in our operation, and just as importantly, we have an approach to build on our successes and a commitment from management to support all of our efforts. At Aveda, safety of our employees and the general public and protection of the environment is a value embedded in everything we do.”

Safety takes on a new meaning at Aveda, which is one of the largest oil rig moving companies in North America. The Houston-based company fields a fleet of more than 400 tractors, mostly consisting of double frame Kenworth models, and 660 flatbed and specialized trailers as well as a large number of light-duty trucks.

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The fleet is based at locations in Alberta (Canada), Texas, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma.

For each customer drilling site, it takes Aveda about 100 loads over two-and-a-half to three days for a full rig move cycle, which includes dismantling, hauling, and reassembly of the rig.

“The drilling rig costs per day are not insignificant, so pre-job planning is critical to ensure the rig is moved safely and efficiently,” Witherspoon explained.

“Safety on the road is very important and is equally important while we are dismantling and erecting rigs at drilling locations,” he continued. “We have several layers of safety practices in place. There are programs for assembling, transporting, and dismantling oil drilling rigs. Field safety advisers who accompany rig moves and are on job sites to ensure our standards are upheld by all employees.”

Witherspoon also pointed to practices that not only allow but encourage employees to talk about safety and to report issues. 

“With information from the people on the ground, we have the ability to identify trends and weaknesses and address issues, so we have fewer recordable accidents,” he explained.

“Through a process we call Performance Optimization Planning, we’re taking safety to a higher level. Each employee is empowered to utilize the Pause for Safety Program, a behavioral-based safety program that allows any employee to shut down any operation that is unsafe.

“That practice represents a shift in our mindset that we’ve implemented over the past three years and it’s already paying off,” Witherspoon added.

“At the same time, we are focusing on equipment inspections and effective maintenance. Not cutting corners might cost more upfront, but these practices definitely save money and improve safety in the long run.”

Aveda Transportation and Energy Services, which was acquired in June 2018 by Daseke Inc., which claims to be the largest provider of flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics solutions in North America, began operations in 1994 as Phoenix Oilfield hauling with 10 trucks. Solid growth followed, and in 2006 the company went public. It changed its name to Aveda in 2012.

In 2016, after a seasoned management team took over, Aveda’s growth accelerated.

“Our team knew the industry, knew transportation, and knew the right formula for growth,” Witherspoon said. “They also brought passion to the business and cultivated relationships with blue-chip players.”

The results speak for themselves. In early 2016, quarterly revenue was $7 million. For the quarter ending March 31, 2018, Aveda reported March 31, 2018, Aveda reported revenue in excess of $60 million.

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