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Small Company Is Big on Service

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Jake Courrier, principal owner of ADCO, welds casing on a job. A vent tunnel helps remove harsh fumes and smoke from the work area.

ADCO Elevator Drilling has a growing reputation for innovation in the repair of borehole casings.

Hydraulic elevators are known to be reliable workhorses of the vertical-transportation industry, but like any complex machine, they are subject to breaking down. Valves and seals wear out, pumps lose compression and fluid degrades due to excessive heat or other factors.

Sometimes, though, the problem is in the ground: boreholes suffer failed integrity. ADCO Elevator Drilling of Walters, Minnesota, specializes in tackling this problem. Though small, it has become known throughout the industry for using innovative techniques to repair and replace borehole casings.

ADCO recently celebrated its seventh year under its current ownership, but its roots go back much further. The original ADCO Drilling started in the 1960s in Harrison, Arkansas, under the ownership of Eddie Adcock and his wife. In 2012, the couple put their company on the market and invited Jake Courrier to visit a jobsite in Joplin, Missouri, for hands-on learning about the borehole-drilling business.

This experience, plus discussions with trusted friends in the elevator industry, persuaded Courrier to take the plunge. He secured financing and, along with two minority owners, became the majority owner of ADCO Elevator Drilling on July 7, 2012.

By design, ADCO remains a small operation. Courrier is the certified driller, running the crew and staying onsite from start to finish for each job. Customers have come to appreciate the company’s evenhanded approach to taking on work. Describing that approach, Courrier said:

“ADCO has always had the policy that our drilling jobs go in order of received purchase orders from our customers, and we will remain with that policy, as it gives equal importance to each customer, no matter how big or small they are.”

ADCO uses old-fashioned augers for consolidated and clay formations, and down-the-hole (DTH) pneumatic hammers for bedrock of all kinds. The DTH hammers can strike from 700 to 900 blows per minute with up to 170,000 lb of pressure per hit. “The harder the material, the better the hammers work,” Courrier said, adding, “We never bring a combustion motor of any kind into the building or hoistway, and all of our equipment has been redesigned and reconfigured to fit into any normal door opening.”

ADCO has subcontracted for every national and global elevator company, as well as numerous smaller, private companies, both union and independent, nonunion shops. Said Courrier:

“We have had the pleasure of dealing with so many great people and have made many friendships along the way. Upfront communication [throughout] predrill, during drill and post-drill, is among the most important features we bring to the industry. Honesty and integrity are paramount to our success, and we pride ourselves on our successful foothold in the industry.”

ADCO’s approach is appreciated by those in the industry, from OEMs to smaller independents, and that appreciation is evident in testimonials. Mike Morton, a service superintendent with KONE, said:

“I’ve worked with ADCO as an elevator mechanic in the field and as a service superintendent in the office for KONE. I am not sure that I have ever worked with a group of people as passionate for what they do as [the staff at] ADCO. Jake and his crew will do whatever it takes to get the job done, done right and done timely. His ability to engineer and fabricate onsite is second to nobody. Their sales and marketing department always stays in contact, and never fails to call or visit when they are in the area. At KONE, we value ADCO greatly.”

Jenn Black, owner, Allied Elevator Services, Inc., echoed that praise:

“We have worked with ADCO Elevator Drilling on multiple projects. Jake and his crew are very knowledgeable and have a ‘don’t-quit’ attitude until the project is complete. Communication is top notch, from quote to closing out the project.”

In addition to Courrier and the two minority owners, ADCO has a sales and marketing director who maintains contact with every listed elevator company in the U.S. and many in Canada via email, postal mail, LinkedIn and other channels. The company has worked jobs from the Canadian to the Mexican border, from Washington state to North Carolina and many states in-between. It remains small, but Courrier sees bigger things ahead:

“Expansion is inevitable for our company, but we will take it slow and make solid business decisions based on the national financial climate, the success of our marketing and the needs of the customers. With thousands upon thousands of existing hydraulic elevators and more being added constantly, there will always be the need for a company like ours — especially one that specializes in repair/replacement and solidifying the integrity and plumbness of existing boreholes.”

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Elevator World | September 2019 Cover