Sargent Drilling opens Aurora site

Sargent Drilling opens Aurora site

Thursday, August 17th 2006

A Nebraska-based irrigation manufacturing and well drilling company has expanded its operations to Aurora.

Sargent Drilling, founded in 1937 and now headquartered in Broken Bow, purchased the former Flodman Plumbing building on E Street and began offering sales and service earlier this year.

“To service ag customers you have to have a local presence,” explained Nathan Jacobsen, the company’s area manager for southeast Nebraska. “You can’t service Hamilton County out of Geneva or Broken Bow, so we thought it was important to be here in Aurora.”

The company actually looked at Aurora in 1989, opting at that time to expand into Geneva. Sargent Drilling has since grown to include eight locations, including Grant, Imperial, Neligh, Holdrege, Geneva, Scottsbluff and Carrol, Iowa.

Marquette native Dustin Nissen has been named sales manager in the Aurora office, which will serve five area counties. Nissen grew up on a farm, earned a teaching degree and has worked for the past eight years in the ag industry. He and his wife, Amy, have three children; Allyn, Devin and Logan, ages 13, 7 and 4.

The staff in Aurora could grow, and additional equipment be brought in, as local business grows. The initial inventory will feature motors, gear heads, valves and various repair parts.
Sargent services all brands of pumps and drives and will also stock parts for competitive brands and brands now out of production, which can be made at the Broken Bow plant.

“Aurora will be a service center,” Jacobsen said. “If you have a question or problem with your well we can come out and run a diagnostic program to see what’s happening so you are not shooting in the dark.”

That process has changed dramatically over the years as Sargent has developed serveral service specific programs.

In 1980, the company introduced Pump Efficiency Program (PEP) testing, which involves a thorough review of a pump’s flow, pumping water level and discharge pressure using precision calibrated equipment.

E-log electronic well logging was added in 1982 and in 1990 video inspections were initiated, dropping a camera down into the well to pinpoint damaged casings, obstructions and corrosion.
In 1997, Sargent began offering sonar-jet cleaning, which uses sound waves to clean the inside of the casing and perforations as well as break up scale in the gravel pack and formation surrounding the well.

All of those services are standard now on Sargent equipment, which includes agricultural, industrial and municipal wells. In Aurora, Jacobsen said the focus will be on the agricultural market.

“The drilling industry is going to shut down so pump repair and service is something we want to look at,” he said.

Company history
Sargent Irrigation was founded in 1937 and 16 years later Larry Whitesel and Wayne “Pete” Kaps joined Charlie Sargent in a newly formed corporation. In 1954, Whitesel and Kaps obtained full ownership of the company.

Kaps has since retired and Whitesel is owner and semi-retired. Whitesel’s son Mike is president of the company. All of the company work was based out of Broken Bow until 1971, when the first branch office was opened at Bassett. As irrigation continued to expand several more branch offices were opened in Nebraska, California in 1976, Wyoming in 1981, Nevada in 1982, and Idaho in 1986. Today Sargent continues to serve most of the Midwest . Sargent Irrigation’s rapid expansion had reached a point in 1975 where its suppliers were not furnishing a quality product in sufficient quantity, according to the company’s web site. With rapidly increasing energy costs, a highly efficient turbine pump became the top priority.

Engineering and technical people were employed to begin development of Sargent’s own design. Sophisticated machines were ordered and inventories were built up. By the spring of 1977, the completed Sargent pump was being manufactured and shipped from the Sargent Pipe plant at Broken Bow.

In 1978 the need was recognized to specialize in the municipal and industrial market. Personnel were hired with experience in that area and Sargent Irrigation Municipal Division was born. Today that division continues to serve that market as Sargent Drilling.

In the early 1980″s Sargent began to explore the international market. Within a few years one major project was completed in Mexico, in 1986 Sargent Irrigation International began drilling in Algeria, and 1989 in Egypt. Sargent is now shipping turbine pumps as far away as Australia.

The 1980″s and 1990′s saw specialization in drilling of monitoring wells, heat pump loop wells, dewatering wells, and domestic wells. This required training, specialized equipment and continuing service for each of these areas.

Sargent maintains a large fleet of drilling rigs to cover a wide range of drilling from small shallow wells to large diameter and deep wells. Some of the types of wells commonly drilled are irrigation, municipal, industrial, domestic, stock watering, heat loop, monitoring, test wells, and dewatering.

Sargent Pipe Co. is the manufacturing division of Sargent. Turbine pumps, pump parts, well casing, drilling rigs, service rigs, and rig support equipment are manufactured and warehoused at that facility.

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