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A positive attitude and hard work has turned adversity into one of Atlas Copco’s largest dealers
Venture Drilling Supply, headquartered out of Tahlequah, OK, recently acquired Rock Drilling Supply of Georgetown, TX, to become
Atlas Copco’s sole deep hole and water well product distributor for the south-central USA as well as the large blast hole and SDE
product distributor for Texas and Oklahoma.

             ayne McCarthy started Ven-       was down or a part was needed. “The sup-       suppliers right off that we would not use
             ture Drilling Company with       ply business started with four hammers         our supplier relationships to compete for
             a couple of partners in 1977     and several bits,” recalls Michele with a      drilling business and the respect for those
much as many businesses get their start. It   smile. “We took the hammers and bits out       relationships has made us a stronger busi-
was three guys sitting around a table with    of the boxes and set them and empty box-       ness today,” says Michele. “Team work
a simple and ambitious strategy following     es out and took a picture for marketing. It    benefits everyone”.
the old proverb: nothing ventured, nothing    made it look like we had twice as much
gained. We can only wonder what Wayne         inventory.”                                                 STARTinG OVER
would think of his company today. Wayne           Many small business owners – espe-         Any time someone starts a business there
was killed in a racing accident in 1994,      cially drilling contractors – can probably     are hurdles to overcome, but when Wayne
leaving his young wife, three children        relate to the early years at Venture. Long     died in June of 1994, there were a com-
and a core of committed people behind to      hours and a total family commitment went
keep the business going. Today, Wayne’s       into getting the job done. Michele worked
widow, Michele McCarthy, continues to         in the office managing the books while
build the company with her children Colt      Wayne and his top people like Jack Green
and Nocona, (a third son, 16-year old Ace,    and Danny Freehill (both employed for
is still in school), and many good people     25 year) worked in the field building the
with positive attitudes.                      business. George Gummere, along with
                                              Wayne’s experience, helped to turn the
             ThE EARly yEARS                  Supply Company into what it is today.
A few years after starting the contract           Together, Green and Freehill, along
drilling business, Wayne bought out his       with numerous loyal employees, have
partners and for the next 17 years the        built the drilling side of the business into
company grew from a blast hole drilling       more than 2 dozen rigs doing quarry blast
company to include a service, sales and       holes and specialty drilling work.
supply company for drills, parts and con-         “I believe our supply business benefits
sumables.                                     greatly from the experience and knowl-
    Wayne started the supply business         edge of the drilling company,” says Mi-
out of necessity in 1984. He needed parts     chele who credits the fact that they know
and consumable inventory for his drilling     what it means to be broken down or stuck
business, but he also committed to support    in the hole.                                   Michele McCarthy with daughter Nocona and sons Ace
other drillers in the area when a machine         “We committed to customers and             and Colt.

Venture Drilling Supply General Manager George Gummere listens intently to comments   In 1984, Wayne McCarthy started Venture Drilling Supply with his first order of hammers and
from customer Chris Ryan while discussing the features on a new drill.                bits. Celebrating this moment with his dad was son, Colt, who is now the manager of the Texas

pletely different set of challenges. “On the                   in the same situation. Generally speak-                   las Copco’s distributor representatives
day of Wayne’s funeral, I made a commit-                       ing, drilling is a Man’s World,” said Mi-                 as another key component in making the
ment to the employees to keep things go-                       chele. For three years, the business didn’t               transition move smoothly. “We’ve had
ing and they made a commitment to me to                        change much; Michele was conservative                     great support from Atlas Copco over the
work together,” remembers Michele.                             and smart about growth and paid off the                   years from Scott Slater to Derrick Ander-
    “Wayne was the business in the early                       banks.                                                    son, and each new contact has helped our
years,” says Michele. “Banks and custom-                           After that, the business began grow-                  business in its next stage of growth,” says
ers saw him as the person behind the busi-                     ing and hasn’t looked back since. Today                   Gummere.
ness and did business with us because of                       Michele says there is real trust and loyalty                  Gummere also cites his personal rela-
his personality and trust in him as an in-                     with everyone in the business. “I manage                  tionship with Atlas Copco’s consumable
dividual,” recalls Michele. When he died,                      finances and working relationships. Each                  salesman, and former Venture employee
Michele had to start fresh building that                       employee has their own responsibilities,”                 Jeff Harris as another part of that success.
trust.                                                         says Michele.                                             “I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet Jeff is
    The day after burying Wayne, Michele                           George Gummere is the point man and                   Atlas Copco’s number one salesman in the
was in the office calling quarries and sup-                    Vice President of Venture Drilling Supply                 world for more than one particular prod-
pliers. Some people didn’t appreciate that                     today. Since the acquisition of Rock Drill-               uct.” Gummere cites Harris’ commitment
and thought there should be a mourning                         ing Supply, the company has regionalized                  to each customer and his outstanding sales
time. Michele knew her healing process,                        day-to-day responsibilities with Colt Mc-                 record, which included doubling Venture’s
and out of respect for Wayne’s memory,                         Carthy managing the Georgetown, Texas                     steel business in just the last couple of
that meant picking up where he left off. It                    office, Robert Baughman managing the                      years.
takes a lifetime to build relationships and                    Tahlequah office, and Nocona McCarthy                         Michele McCarthy and her dedicated
customers, and a minute or one mistake to                      doing marketing and advertising for all                   team have built Venture Drilling Supply
lose them.                                                     divisions.                                                into one of Atlas Copco’s top dealerships
    Michele’s situation was more than                              “Supply wise, we know drills,” says                   in the US, but it wasn’t an easy road. She
challenging in those years. She sold many                      Gummere pointing out the years of expe-                   says it came down to sink or swim 13
of the personal assets (men toys) they had                     rience in his service and sales personnel.                years ago, and they chose to swim.
acquired over the years to make the busi-                      “I would put our field service techs up                       When Wayne started this venture 30
ness work: the helicopter, airplane, race-                     against anyone in the business, and with                  years ago he had no idea where it would
cars, etc. that were a big part of Wayne’s                     the parts distribution center in our back                 go, but it’s Michele who has taken that
life. “He was an adventurous and charis-                       yard, we have that as an added advan-                     simple principle and made it her own. She
matic person who lived dangerously – a                         tage.”                                                    is a humble person who says that she’s
real adrenaline junkie – and people loved                          Timing hasn’t always been on Michele                  ‘just a country gal in blue jeans’, but it’s
that about him,” says Michele.                                 McCarthy’s side, but this time it was.                    her compassion and strong leadership
    When Wayne needed money, the                               Johnny Armstrong approached Michele                       skills that her people have entrusted to
bankers loaned it to him on the collateral                     in August 2006 and the deal to purchase                   guide them. She says, “As Christians, The
of the purchase and his word. When Mi-                         Rock Drilling Supply was completed                        Lord promises not to give us more than
chele took over, the banks wanted the net                      January 2007. “Johnny’s business fit well                 we can handle,” but looking at what she
worth, life insurance and equipment as                         with ours and the two companies merged                    continues to build, it looks like she can
collateral. “The bankers required double                       well,” Gummere pointed out.                               handle more than most.
from me than they would have from a man                            He credits their relationship with At-                                                                DhD 2 07

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