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CWJJ Episode 124: Tommy Precht 

CWJJ Episode 124: Tommy Precht

Thursday, July 21- This episode, the guys discuss pipeline integrity, composite wraps, compression sleeves, and more with Allan Edwards Account Executive, Tommy Precht.

Quick Links:

Tommy Precht on Linkedin

Episode Transcript


Jim Schauer:  [0:24] Good morning, everyone. Welcome this week’s episode of “Coffee with Jim & James.”    [0:27] James, you know, I know you’re going to bring in our guest in a second, but when I, you know, when we met these folks recently at SGA and such, and all of a sudden we started to geek out about composites and things, which I’m kind of a little geeked about myself, I was excited for this episode.[0:44] But before we bring our guest in, James, how are you today?   

James Cross:  [0:47] I’m well. We are getting some things done today. And I’m excited to have Tommy on with us. You’re right. We’ve ran across the Allan Edwards folks several times here lately, got to spend some quality time with several of them.    [1:03] And so when, when we looked at the schedule today and saw Tommy on there, it was like, “Hey, man, let’s do it,” so…   

Tommy Precht:  [1:10] All right.   

James:  [1:10] …Tommy, good morning, man. How are you?   

Tommy:  [1:13] Good. Doing great. How about you guys?   

James:  [1:14] Doing well.   

Jim:  [1:15] Fantastic.   

James:  [1:16] How’s the weather in Lake Charles?   

Tommy:  [1:18] You know, actually, it’s been dry. We’ve missed the tail end of the rain on the last few fronts in a pretty odd time. Usually we’re pretty wet this time of year. But it’s pretty dry, and it’s getting 90 degrees, so summer is here. [laughs]   

James:  [1:31] It was almost 100 degrees in Texas yesterday.   

Tommy:  [1:35] Oh, man.   

James:  [1:35] So I feel you. I feel you.   

Jim:  [1:36] It was 91 yesterday in West Palm Beach, which is warm for us. Well, it’s summer weather.   

Tommy:  [1:42] Yeah.   

Jim:  [1:42] So…   

James:  [1:43] Man, this isn’t a weather podcast, this here. But, you know, when you reach a certain age, these things are important.   

Tommy:  [1:51] That’s right.   

Jim:  [1:52] That’s what we do. OK, let’s get on track, James. I think that was the cue to get on track. Tommy, you’ve been in the industry for a few years.   

Tommy:  [1:59] Yeah. True.   

Jim:  [2:00] You’ve been with Allan Edwards for a good eight years.   

Tommy:  [2:03] Mm‑hmm.   

Jim:  [2:04] We kind of know what Allan Edwards does. Can you give a flyover to the audience to let them know what your values are in the marketplace?   

Tommy:  [2:13] Sure. Sure. Allan Edwards, you know, started many years ago, primarily back then in the buoyancy industry, putting concrete coating on pipes to hold them down in wet conditions and set on weights and now into the bag weights today.    [2:29] And then, of course, we’ve just kind of gotten innovated over the years. And now we handle a composite, and we have a new heat induction compression sleeve. And so, so some new things going on with us.   

Jim:  [2:40] Well, let’s go a little bit deeper into that because pipeline integrity is a really important subject. I mean, it’s been going on for decades and decades and decades, as we all know.    [2:50] But really, over the last 20 years, with a lot of the regulations and rules and such like that, pipeline integrity and pipeline integrity testing has come about. Give us a little insight as to Allan Edwards and some of the roles you play in integrity.   

Tommy:  [3:06] Sure. Well, you know, right after the buoyancy, then the, the steel sleeves came along. And that was sometime, like, in the mid ’50’s. And, of course, we’ve got a new facility. I think it’s about three years older there in Tulsa, got a new Fab shop to build the sleeves and got into some aggressive testing programs with sleeves.    [3:26] It’s something that’s pretty fairly new to the industry. Not much testing has been done on steel sleeve industry, so that’s been really exciting.    [3:33] Of course, our new facility’s just great, you know, CNC equipment. And just, it’s really a nice place up in Tulsa.   

Jim:  [3:40] That, let me just…    [[3:41] crosstalk]   

James:  [3:41] I’m gonna have to slide up there. You know…   

Tommy:  [3:42] Yeah.   

James:  [3:44] …I’m in Tulsa.   

Tommy:  [3:45] You need to.   

James:  [3:46] I’m in Tulsa a lot. I’m on the Oklahoma Gas Association Board.   

Tommy:  [3:49] Yes.   

James:  [3:49] So we meet about once a month, but we’re getting back in…   

Tommy:  [3:53] I can hook you up with a good tour there, that’s for sure.   

James:  [3:55] Man, I would love to do that. Sign me up. I don’t even…

Tommy:  [3:59] Yeah.

James:  [4:00] I’m sending the email now.

Jim:  [4:05] Let me hit on this little bit. Tommy, I’m going to bring it on a path. Because steel sleeves, again, if a pipeline has been gouged or maybe, whatever, corrosion, whatever the case may be, you can put a sleeve around it to keep the pipeline in place so it keeps flowing and, in essence, repair it.

Tommy:  [4:22] That’s correct.

Jim:  [4:23] I also know that you guys do a lot with composites, you said, too.

Tommy:  [4:29] Yes.

Jim:  [4:29] Has that, has that really grown a lot for you folks recently? What’s that been like?   

Tommy:  [4:33] It has. And, of course, I spent 14 years in the composite industry before Allan, before Allan Edwards, so I got some history there as well. But yes, we have a e‑glass system and a carbon system. And, and it’s fairly new to the market, but we’re getting there. We’re getting some customers.    [4:53] And, of course, with 75 years in business, service has been a huge part of Allan Edwards’ success and innovation. You know, we really put our customers first. I know sometimes that sounds like a sales cliche, but it’s really true. I think we do a good job of listening to the needs of what the customers need.    [5:11] And, actually, [clears throat] that’s kind of how some of these new products came about, was listening to the customers needs.   

Jim:  [5:16] All right.   

James:  [5:17] But what, what is that? I know, I know, ’cause I’ve been around you guys here lately enough. But tell me, what’s the, what’s the product, you know, the new product that you guys are out there talking about?   

Tommy:  [5:30] Well, the newest is OmegaWrap. And it’s, again, it’s a composite that we have an e‑glass system and a carbon system. And then the heat induction sleeve is really a neat, neat process as well, too.    [5:44] Just basically, it’s a heat‑inducted sleeve that once you put it on the pipe, you, we induce heat to it to get the sleeve to grow and kind of locks down on that pipe once it cools off. And most of it is for crack, crack‑like defects on piping.    [6:00] I think some of our vision, James, I think some of our vision was to be able to, you know, we’ve been in the steel sleeve business for years, you know, now composite. And then now with the compression sleeve, kind of gives a good, a good resource and good resources versus a cutout.    [6:15] So we wanted to be able to offer some, some different ways to be able to fix your anomalies on pipelines.   

Jim:  [6:21] And let me, can I just jump in here for a second, sir?   

Tommy:  [6:23] Sure.   

Jim:  [6:24] Tommy mentioned a few things. And for our audience that’s in the industry, you mentioned cutout as well as sleeves.    [6:31] And what that means to people that may not be in the industry is that when there’s a defect or a problem with a pipe, one way of fixing it is to shut off the valve, cut the pipe. And, in essence, nothing goes through it. Put a new piece of pipe in, weld it, and get it back up and running. [6:49] The problem though, in that case, is downstream…    [[6:52] crosstalk]   

Tommy:  [6:52] Yes.    

Jim:  [6:53] down the pipe. If you cut that pipe and there’s no way to reroute it, the people downstream, whether it be a town or a city or an industrial complex, wherever, it does not have natural gas.   

Tommy:  [7:03] That’s it. And it gets, obviously, gets not only just very expensive for the pipeline company for the shutdown time and in the process of fixing it and those expenses, but like you said, there’s somebody on the other end not getting product.   

Jim:  [7:16] Right.   

James:  [7:17] So I’m gonna be the guy here, OK? ‘Cause I don’t know these things as well as you two, so I’m, hopefully there’s somebody else out there like me that’s begging the same questions.    [7:28] So you talk about that, the ease of, you know, doing, instead of it doing a pipe repair or a replacement or cutout in that situation. Is it still, so that’s great, but is it still awesome just in normal situations?    [7:44] Or, like, because it’s still going to be a durable solution and still, you know, a composited steel sleeve, you know, like, it’s not just in that situation, that it can be used all the time? Or is it something that’s specific to, in, in lieu of a cutout…   

Tommy:  [7:58] Yeah, again…    

James:  [7:59] I guess is my question.   

Tommy:  [8:01] Then that’s exactly what it is. You know, they’ll run smart tools down the line, find deficiencies and defects in the pipeline. And, you know, even in that stage, that’s why our service is so important. Because a lot of times, depending on how many anomalies are in the pipeline, they’ll have to derate the pipe until they can get those situations fixed.    [8:20] So your, your loss of production can even start from when they start reading the pig. So, you know, if it takes a week, takes two weeks to get your repairs done, they’ve already reduced, most of the time, reduced pressure, which reduces production.    [8:36] So that’s why the service, and having a effective solution as quick as you can, because they want to get those pressures back up and get their, get their volumes back up to the customer, to the end of the line.   

James:  [8:47] That’s why you need an expert on it.   

Tommy:  [8:49] Ah, well, we try.   

Jim:  [8:51] That would be Tommy.    

Jim:  [8:53] Does that make sense, though, James, this whole world? I mean, it really goes…

James:  [8:56] Well, it’s funny because from, yeah, for me, I’m piecing it all together, right?

Tommy:  [9:00] Sure.

James:  [9:00] So, like, when you’re saying that, like when you’re saying that’s a disruption of service, I’m like, “Oh, that’s where, you know, an LNG truck or someone could, you know, pull in and, you know, do a virtual pipeline or, you know, whatever it might be,” right? So…

Tommy:  [9:16] Right.

James:  [9:16] …in my head, that’s why I ask some of the questions I do. I’ve only been here six years, but as I’m piecing it together, this makes a lot of sense for me. And then, and then I see other solutions, like the ESG stuff out there, where they’re recapturing as, you know, you’re doing that cutout or something.    [9:32] So, you know, part of me is trying to piece the big picture together.

Jim:  [9:37] All right, let me…

James:  [9:39] so I appreciate y’alls patience.

Jim:  [9:39] Yeah. I know James hit on a couple things. Tommy, and please, jump in with me, too. You mentioned a few things, James, by one, you’re absolutely right. I think, you know, cutting might be the most trident or understood method. But there’s a lot of things with that.    [9:54] Like you said, if you cut it, a lot of times with my old business, CNG and LNG, we would bring in tube trucks and feed downstream, which is…   

James:  [10:01] Right.   

Jim:  [10:02] .a lot of another whole operation. You also mentioned E, S, and G, which is a huge topic right now. And if there’s not a way to evacuate that pipe, if you cut that pipe and it’s not fully evacuated, the natural gas has to go somewhere.   

James:  [10:17] Right.   

Jim:  [10:17] So again, with a sleeve or a composite wrap, there’s no cutting…   

James:  [10:21] Right.     

Jim:  [10:21] you’re repairing. It’s almost like a cast on the arm, where, you know, that type. But again, we’re talking not a temporary cast. We’re talking huge longevity.    [[10:30] crosstalk]   

Jim:  [10:30] Tommy, how long did you, how long do you say, for sleeves or composites, they could last on that pipe?   

Tommy:  [10:37] Oh, sleeves, sleeves, I mean, if they’ve been welded on, sleeve’s there for, oh, gosh, you know, lots and lots of years. And a lot of your composites will, they’ll have a design life when they design the composite. So that could stretch out depending on a lot of factors. You know, if, your liquid lines, you got a lot more cyclic.    [10:53] There’s a lot of, a lot of calculation goes in that, but you can get them years down the road. You know, all of our testing that we do for ASME PCC‑2 is based on such a safety factor. A lot of times you see, you know, hundreds of years of service calculated‑wise. But there’s huge safety factors in the composite world.   

Jim:  [11:12] It’s…   

James:  [11:12] Tommy, I’m a married man. When you, I kind of lit up when you were talking about the testing and kind of going through that. What’d you call it, aggressive testing? Is that what you said at the beginning?   

Tommy:  [11:22] Yeah, it is aggressive testing. Yes.   

James:  [11:24] Right. Right. I just think of all the data and stuff coming out of that and how important it is and how I can parse through it. I just kind of went off.       [

Tommy:  [11:31] laughs]   

James:  [11:32] I wasn’t daydreaming. I was just kind of geeking out of what probably came out of that. I love…   

Tommy:  [11:37] Right. Right.   

James:  [11:38] that kind of stuff.   

Jim:  [11:39] Can I, I was just going to add that when Tommy mentioned some of the tests, or, excuse me, some of the repairs could be rated at 100 Years, a lot of times that’s going to exceed the life expectancy of the pipe, maybe, potentially. So the repair could last longer than the pipe does.   

Tommy:  [11:53] And, you know, it’s always, always intrigued me. Early on in the pipeline world, I was always wanting to know how the pipeline was. Because it just amazed me when I first got in this industry to realize how long some of this infrastructure has been in place and overall does well…   

James:  [12:10] No doubt.

Tommy:  [12:11] over the years. I mean, I’ve worked on pipes that were laid in the ’20s, you know, ’30s, and ’40s. So it, that’s always intrigued me in this industry, is how long our infrastructure’s been around.   

James:  [12:21] I always like it when I’m somewhere and somebody pulls out some of that wooden pipe or some of the…   

Tommy:  [12:25] Yeah.       

James:  [12:25] first pipe. You know, I’m always a geek out on that, too. I always think it’s really interesting.   

Tommy:  [12:29] Well, if you ever get a chance to do a site visit at our facility, that’s one thing that I really like.    [12:34] Allan Edwards has a ton of old pictures, and it just has always intrigued me to see how. You know, we look at the work that’s done today on the side of mountainsides and crossing rivers and all that. And to realize that they were doing that in the’ 20s and ’30s, you know, back then, that always intrigues me to see the advancement in technology, even just in the equipment.   

James:  [12:56] No doubt.   

Jim:  [12:56] Yeah, a lot has happened. You know, you mentioned the ’20s and ’30s? And, again, that’s roughly 90 to 100 years ago, which really isn’t that long, I mean, when you look at everything.   

Tommy:  [13:07] Sure.   

Jim:  [13:07] But Allan Edwards has been around for, wait a minute, hold on a second, James, I think 75 years. Did you pick up something at the SGA…   

James:  [13:16] I did. Look at that. Look at that.    

Tommy:  [13:19] Yeah, that’s right.   

James:  [13:21] Oh, I don’t know if you can say it. Ready?   

Tommy:  [13:19] 75 years…

Jim:  [13:20] There we go.   

James:  [13:21] Boom.   

Jim:  [13:21] Yeah. When we were with Hayden, Austin, and Matthew at SGA, I think they were handing those out. So that was some…   

Tommy:  [13:28] Yes.   

Jim:  [13:28] good, fun little takeaways. But 75 years, you had just mentioned the facility in Tulsa having some great pictures in history. What else can you share with us over some neat things that you, I know you haven’t been there Tommy, because you’re not a day over 29.   

Tommy:  [13:44] That’s right…   

Jim:  [13:45] Anyways…

Tommy:  [13:45] and holding, [laughs] and holding.

Jim:  [13:46] what, give us some other fun stories or tidbits or what we should do in regards to Allan Edwards.   

Tommy:  [13:54] Yeah. Well, I always liked the history part of it. And Mr., Mr. Allan Edwards, Sr. was the, he was just an innovative guy. I mean, I’ve just heard story after story, wasn’t scared to dive into anything. You know, the story of the river weights, you know, he had never built a weight in his life and went back to the shop and started building forms.    [14:14] And we got a picture in the, in the office that’s pretty interesting. He’s standing by his, his first completed concrete bolt‑on weight that didn’t crack or didn’t fall apart when he took it out of the forms. So just, just really, really neat guy, lots of good, old stories.    [14:32] And one thing that I, I just love is the fact that the, you know, we’re fourth generation. I mean, there’s not very many, many companies, you know, that, that make it that long, you know, without being sold off or family selling or whatever. So I…    [[14:46] crosstalk]   

James:  [14:47] Yeah, they’ll kick you out of this industry if you ain’t acting right? So…   

Tommy:  [14:50] Yeah, so I…       

James:  [14:52] something good. [laughs]   

Tommy:  [14:54] I think that’s another real neat aspect of our company, is, is fourth generation running the company today.   

Jim:  [14:58] That is cool.   

Tommy:  [14:59] And they got some good pictures of that in there with, you know, grandpas and dads and sons lined up. It’s…   

James:  [15:05] Love it.   

Tommy:  [15:05] …very interesting to see.   

Jim:  [15:07] Yeah. You know, James, it just hit me. Since you are on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Gas Association and you do a lot of stuff in Oklahoma, I could see a OGA kind of tour…   

James:  [15:17] Yeah.  

Jim:  [15:18] to the…   

Tommy:  [15:19] Yeah.

Jim:  [15:20] Allan Edwards facility at some point.

James:  [15:22] I know a guy. I know a guy.  

James:  [15:23] I know a couple of guys.   

Tommy:  [15:25] Yeah. I’m betting you get hooked up, too.   

James:  [15:27] Love it. Tommy. We close out our shows pretty similarly. So if you’ve ever watched one, if you haven’t we won’t judge you, but you could cheat and get ahead.    [15:37] But we always ask people, and, and it’s not, it doesn’t have to be in a business sense. It could be a personal sense. It could be anything. But if you could leave, you got the floor, so you got the soap box, if you could leave our audience with anything, what would leave them with? If you could…   

Jim:  [15:53] Well…   

James:  [15:53] …give it all the way, Tommy.   

Tommy:  [15:54] Sure. I’ll tell you what. I enjoy the pipeline industry I’ve been in it, I think, if I calculated right, about 28 years this year. And I don’t care what part of the country you’re in, pipeliners are pipeliners. And, and I enjoy that. I’ve got a lot of friends, developed a lot of friendships over the years.    [16:12] So I, and I’m sure other industries are unique and, and they have that same feeling. This is all I know. And I know the pipeline world is, is, it’s just been a good, a good, it’s been good to me, and I enjoy what I do.    [16:25] And then it’s going to be here. As long as we’re moving products across this nation, I think it’s a safe way to do it. And I’m excited to work for Allan Edwards. I, when I go to work for a company, I’m pretty much all in.    [16:38] And they’ve been good to me. It’s a family atmosphere, you know, and just got, we just got a good company and a lot of good people. We’re building our sales team, and that’s been exciting for me. [16:48] When I started with Allan Edwards there, I think I was, I was, actually, I think, I believe the first integrity sales guy at Allan Edwards. You know, they’d been, had salespeople for the buoyancy side of business. So I’ve got to watch a lot change in the last eight years, and that’s been very, very exciting. [17:03] So, but I’d love to have you guys up there. I, I think you would. And, you know, we had a company up last week. What most people tell us is it’s not just a field trip. I mean, we, it’s pretty educational. From when you start…   

James:  [17:16] Yeah.  

Tommy:  [17:16] from the front door of our shop till you get ready to leave, you actually learn something about what we do and how we got there.   

James:  [17:23] Love it.   

Jim:  [17:24] I do too.   

James:  [17:25] Man, our industry is so big and so small. We hear it all the time.   

Tommy:  [17:29] And, you know, that, that is, that is, I hear that so much. You know, when I started in this industry, I was fairly young. And, of course, a lot of the guys that I called on were in their 30s and 40s. So in the next five to probably seven years, I’ve already started losing some of them. They’re fishing and playing golf today.   

James:  [17:46] No doubt.   

Tommy:  [17:47] But, but, but it is interesting to see how much has changed, you know, just a, but, but, and you’re right. It’s a it’s a big world, but it’s a tight‑knit community.   

James:  [17:57] Yeah. Jim and I were just having a conversation with a friend of ours, and, who has an interest in our industry. And it’s a hard one not to look at and think, “You know, is the grass a little greener over there?” because it really is.    [18:13] I was an outsider seven years ago. And I have never felt so much like home. So if you’re, if you’re wondering if it’s real, it’s, it’s very real. We didn’t plan that, Tommy…    [[18:26] crosstalk]   

Tommy:  [18:26] There you go. There you go. That’s right.   

James:  [18:28] All right. Well, awesome. Tommy, it’s been great to get to know you a little bit better. And I appreciate your time there at Allan Edwards and, and everything you guys are doing over there. It sounds like y’all are rocking and rolling. And I’m gonna take y’all up on that tour.   

Tommy:  [18:42] Man, I want to thank y’all for the time this morning, too. And I hope we get to, get to do that and get to meet some more, some shows, or hopefully come to a tour of our facility.   

Jim:  [18:50] Oh, we will.   

Tommy:  [18:51] There you go.   

Jim:  [18:52] We will. Tommy, thank you so much, and audience…   

Tommy:  [18:54] Thank y’all.   

Jim:  [18:55] Yeah. And audience, thank you for tuning in. Until next week on Coffee with Jim & James, as I always say, stay safe. See y’all.   

Tommy:  [19:05] Thank y’all.   

James:  [19:06] y’all.   

Transcription by WatchingWords


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