Copyright © 2011-22 Helical Pile World, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interview with Nick Gill… Danbro Site Support Specialist
Nick Gill stands 6’ 4” tall and weights 265 lbs. He is a big dude with broad shoulders. He needs those broad shoulders because he is the Danbro Site Support Specialist. Nick is responsible for equipment consultation, equipment set-up, load tests, product training, and in-field installation support. He is constantly on the road as our territory stretches throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. He has gone as far west as Indiana and as far south as South Carolina as our boundaries are elastic.
Nick was trained by our outgoing Site Support Specialist, Walter Smith, who, in addition to a long stint with Danbro, also spent more than 20 years with CHANCE as a territory manager. There may be a couple of helical road warriors who have logged more time in the field assisting customers than Walter, but there are not many. If Nick were only half the man Walter was, he would still be twice as good as the average trainer. Our customers have been most fortunate working with these two gentlemen.
60% to 65% of Nick’s time is dedicated to on-site installation support. “It all starts with the initial site certification process,” explained Nick. “We want to get new customers off on the right foot with the best practices for consistently successful helical installations. There are a lot of questions and handholding at first, but the investment in time pays off with installers who know what they’re doing. It results in good work and a growing business.” In addition to the initial process, the certification of new personnel, new product training, such as Grouted Helical Micropiles, and hand-held portable equipment projects often bring Nick back to the same Installer’s job sites.
Danbro also provides equipment consultation and Nick leads this effort. In his opinion, it is important “to know why the contractor wants to get into the helical Biz, what type of work they intend to do, and what kind of equipment they will be using to install the helicals. This information helps them to select a drive head and torque indicator that are compatible with their equipment and their applications.” The results are clear: “If you do your due diligence up front, you save a lot of headaches on the backend,” Nick observed. As part of the service we extend to customers, Danbro also assists with the initial set-up of the drive string assembly.
Assistance on Load Tests is yet another service provided by Danbro. Depending on the concerns of the P.E. of record, involvement ranges from on-site assistance to full blown involvement. “In 2019, we did more load tests than in the past. The load tests included static compression tests, dynamic tests, pull tests, and one lateral test. It is not clear if this activity is a new trend or just a coincidence. Several of the tests were in New York and triggered by DOB regulations requiring a test if the load exceeds 30 tons,” Nick explained.
Nick can readily cite a few horror stories to illustrate the value of site support. “We all know Murphy’s Law…anything that can go wrong will. Well, in the construction business, Murphy would be considered an optimist. For example, I spent four days in central PA on a half day job with a concerned, involved owner and two sensitive parrots. We had to switch to portable hand-held equipment to overcome all the concerns … real and imagined. Long story short: got it done and the new installer turned into a very appreciative, loyal customer. He knew we went the extra mile and got him through a tough job. I build a lot of good relationships through on-site support. It really pays off in the long run.”
Summing up his company’s commitment to customer support, Nick Gill, a true “Danbro Difference” maker, concluded: “We will do anything we can to keep you working.”
by Pat Haffert
Danbro Vice President