Mike Johnson, TRC Sucker RodsMike Johnson

Board of Directors, TRC Services, Inc.
Board of Directors, TRC Rod Services of Oklahoma.
Board of Directors, TRC Rod Services of Texas, Inc.

 

Q.  Why did you decide to make an investment in TRC?

A.  The simple answer is because the rate of investment return was acceptable.  The management team was the very best in the business.  And, it was a business I understood.  But, it was much more to me than just that.

My career began in the pipe inspection business in Odessa, Texas in 1974.  Bob Payne, our Chairman, began his career in 1971, also in Odessa, Texas.  From 1974 and continuing through today, our paths have crossed many times and in so many ways.

Up until 1971, used sucker rods were inspected at the well site.  The process was performed by a single inspection company, Tuboscope.  They had a virtual monopoly on the service.

In 1971, Bob came up with the idea of trucking the sucker rods out of the field to a centrally located plant where the rods could be inspected in a controlled environment.  In addition, they had equipment at the plant that could repair many of the rejected rods so they could be reused.  Amazingly, within three years, Bob had captured all of the sucker rod inspection business and Tuboscope virtually ceased inspecting rods.

Our paths crossed in 1974 when Bob decided to grow his business and entered the pipe inspection market.  To say Bob was a tough competitor is a major understatement.  During my entire career in pipe inspection, I only met one other person as tough.  When you took any business away from Bob’s company, you really felt good about yourself.

Over time, I really gained a lot of respect for Bob and his team.  It became a dream of mine to put our two companies together.  That dream just never happened.  We sold our business and Bob retired.  He did get to see his company grow into the largest pipe inspection company in the United States, though.

It is kind of funny.  Tuboscope, who was the original company that had all of the sucker rod inspection business prior to 1971 is the company that we sold to.  And, after Bob’s retirement, Tuboscope ended up buying the business that Bob built.

Anyway, through my investment in TRC, I was able to make my dream come true!

Q.  How has your investment in TRC turned out?

A.  Most investments are measured by risk and reward.  So, on that basis, TRC has been very good to me and its shareholders.  As you can probably see from my answer to your previous question, my investment was more than just a financial decision.  In that regard, it has exceeded all my expectations.

As an investor, you have very little direct input to the Corporate Officers and much less to the managers, staff, and line personnel.  As a Director, one has some involvement or input into the Corporate Officers.  What I have enjoyed is that Bob and his team ask the Board members to help them solve their problems. Bob has done a great job at tearing down walls at every level.  He wants one team and he wants that team getting up every morning thinking about one thing…solving sucker rod problems.

After working with Bob, I am surprised we were ever able to get any of his business when we competed with him!

Q.  What gives you the greatest pride in TRC?

A.  When we were all sitting around the table talking about forming a sucker rod business, each of us talked about what was important to them.  That was in 1995.  I am very proud of the fact that virtually every expectation we had when we formed TRC has been met and most have been exceeded.  I think that it is a very unique accomplishment and I am very proud to have played a small part in achieving these types of results.

Q.  When you are not working on behalf of TRC, how do you spend your time?

A.  I am involved in a small investment company that makes investments primarily in start-up businesses and supports the growth of its existing investments.  So, I have plenty to do to fill up my work week.

When I’m not at work, spending time with my family takes up a lot of my time.  I am lucky that my kids, their spouses, and my four grandchildren, along with over 30 other relatives, all live in the same town as me and my wife.  Our holidays are quite lively!

Q.  If you only had a few moments to tell someone about TRC, what would you say?

A.  Every single person at TRC wakes up every morning thinking about sucker rod problems and how they can solve those problems.  The corporate structure that has been put into place encourages everyone to do the right thing and to think outside the of the box, knowing that they will be financially rewarded if they do.

TRC has put together an amazing group of professionals that have already changed the industry.  And, I don’t think they are near being finished with what they are going to accomplish.