PIRTEK Kent and PIRTEK Seattle, owned by Gregory Shideler, are unique in comparison to most of the other service and supply centers within the corporation. Due to their proximity to the Port of Seattle, the teams at these Washington locations have become specialized in hydraulic operations aboard large seafaring vessels. Home base for hundreds of fishing vessels, this port is one of the largest and busiest in the world.
While both of these PIRTEK locations do, of course, welcome customers from manufacturing, engineering, construction and other industries, the majority of their large projects are maintaining the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, NOAA and large fishing boats that dock at the busy port. These locations also report regularly to the various shipyards located within 1 mi. of the Seattle shop.
It is no easy feat to win the trust of the armed forces, as well as seasoned fishing boat captains who rely on their ships' hydraulic hoses and other equipment to keep them afloat, both literally and figuratively. Some of the hoses and fittings aboard the military ships are part of their missile systems and require special security clearances to work on them. Bill Rose, technical sales manager of both Seattle area PIRTEK franchises, said that it took a lot of leg work on the part of owner Shideler and himself to secure the initial projects on these boats.
Rose explained, "no one is going to drop a great opportunity to do a huge job in your lap." He said it is their philosophy to always "be hungry," and not shy away from asking for someone's business.
Past the initial introduction, Rose and Shideler are vigilant in following up on leads. If the men hear that a particular boat is going to be due for hose replacements or other work at a certain time of year, they make sure to reach out and make themselves available.
"Even if our PIRTEK employees have never been on the boat, or never spoken to anyone on it, there are ways to do research, find a phone number or a way to get in front of the right person," Rose said.
PIRTEK Kent and PIRTEK Seattle have earned quite a reputation throughout the port. Word travels quickly of a job well done, and they receive plenty of referrals to sister ships and affiliated vessels.
According to Rose, the success of PIRTEK Kent and PIRTEK Seattle is a direct result of the teamwork and integrity that they have instilled in their employees. He said that every team member is encouraged to practice these core values:
- Safety first: no job is worth doing if it can't be done safely.
- Strive for perfection: do the job by the book and double check your work every time.
- Be a team player: have each other's back and support your coworkers.
- Make a promise and keep it: exceed expectations for every customer.
- Remember that every job builds the reputation of the business: quality work creates customers for life.
Rose added, "whether our MSSTs are working on-site to complete a major project, or picking up an extra on-call week for their coworkers, they give 100 percent. PIRTEK isn't a 9-to-5 job for us. We take pride in going the extra mile."
Rose isn't shy about singing the praises of his employees. He is proud of the reputation that they have built as a team, through consistent quality work. He raves about Frank Vierra — who runs the Kent franchise — and his precise measuring skills. He recounted an instance where Vierra was sent to a small town in Alaska to measure 231 hoses for a barge. Using his notes, they were able to fabricate more than 100 hoses for the client from their center back in Washington, and all of them fit perfectly.
Lead technician Abel Dressel is referred to by Rose as his "No. 1 hose smith." He said that Dressel knows all the fittings by heart, and impresses everyone he works with. He has equally kind words in regards to MSST's Eric Hanson, Nathan Wolfe and shop technician Christian Thomas. Rose added that the two PIRTEKs rely on the superb organizational and administrative expertise of dispatcher Melanie Terrian and accountant Tami Snider.
Rose added that the training provided by PIRTEK USA is very helpful. The extensive research and sales support provided by the management team sets their franchises apart from other hose suppliers in the field, he said.
Shideler and Rose are striving to make the Greater Seattle Area PIRTEK franchises the best in the United States. Rose is confident that they will achieve this goal, citing the importance of marine and large projects for the future of their business. In his words, "these big jobs have carried their team through the COVID-19 pandemic, and have kept every single one of their employees working, so that they haven't had to lay anyone off.
"Where other industries have slowed down as quarantines and shutdowns have taken place around the country, we've stayed busy."
So, while PIRTEK has done its part to keep the Port of Seattle and surrounding businesses operating, those customers have done the same in return.