COVID-19 pandemic forces groundwater industry to be creative, expand virtual footprint

September 21, 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic originated this past winter, many in the groundwater industry have been forced to be creative and expand their virtual footprints to maintain business operations.

roscoe-moss-394Roscoe Moss Co., a manufacturer of water well casing and screen in Los Angeles, California, has certainly adapted to the times.

“For years, our company has emphasized the importance of face-to-face meetings with well drillers and well designers to understand the unique situation that each well drilling project presents,” said Charlie Hoherd, director of sales and marketing.

“Providing these professionals with the technical resources on not just our well casing and screen products, but also providing additional assistance in well efficient design, has been the cornerstone of our success. With face-to-face meetings essentially cancelled due to the quarantine, we quickly pivoted to a virtual online model in order to serve our customers.”

Roscoe Moss hosted several workshops and seminars with municipal agencies and drillers via the Zoom video conferencing platform covering topics such as proper well design, gravel pack and slot size determination, and corrosion mitigation. The company has also substantially grown its online presence through platforms such as LinkedIn to further reach its customers and provide information on its products and the projects that they are being used in.

“Ironically, if the pandemic never happened, we would have probably been content to operate in the same, stagnant manner,” Hoherd said, “so we saw this quarantine challenge as an opportunity to push the company to the next level.

“In terms of business, water will continue to be in demand. We have seen some municipal well drilling projects delayed due to the pandemic, but we are forecasting 2021 to be on par with 2020 and we continue to see new water well drilling projects coming out for bid.”

Since California was one of the first states to declare a shelter-in-place order in early March, Laval Underground Surveys in Fresno, California, was confronted with its own set of challenges. Shortly after the order was put in place, Fresno County followed suit, and commerce within California grounded to a halt.

“Fortunately, serving the groundwater industry meant that we were deemed an essential business and were allowed to continue operating,” said Eric Hadden, vice president of sales and marketing at Laval Underground Surveys, a manufacturer of downhole video technology. “We quickly went to work implementing a personal protection and social distancing protocol, which includes wearing face coverings throughout the workday, routine washing of hands and sanitation of workstations, and socially distant in-person meetings.”

The next step was Laval Underground Surveys communicating to its customers that the company was open and business running at full capacity.

“We regularly send out e-newsletters to update our customers, but we wanted this message to speak directly to hardworking men and women of the groundwater industry,” Hadden said. “We recognize that many of these professionals do not receive the recognition they deserve too despite being on the front lines every single day. We felt it was important that they understand that we value their commitment and are standing there with them.”

For many manufacturers and suppliers, March is typically a busy time with state association trade shows and customer visits scheduled across the country.

Hadden said the company made a strategic decision to preemptively pull out of trade shows that were in areas with growing caseloads.

“While we are big believers in meeting our customers face to face, we also recognize that it is not wholly practical or safe to do in the near term,” he said. “With that in mind, we continue to promote our robust collection of online training materials and video content, as well as conducting virtual training sessions for customers and distributorships.

“Looking towards 2021, there exists a fair amount of uncertainty for the groundwater market and the world economy as a whole. What we can count as a certainty is our commitment to our customers. Since our founding during the latter half of World War II, Laval Underground Surveys has stood alongside groundwater professionals through some of the most difficult times our world has encountered. 2020 is no different.”

article by Mike Price; photos courtesy Roscoe Moss Co.