Greg Stone on How He Made Horizontal Drilling a Viable Drilling Option
Greg Stone, the man who made horizontal drilling a viable option explains how to go from the prototype phase to the viable production phase. How to keep morale high when your rate of success is low and, much, much, more.
Greg, I was first introduced to you by one of my long-time business coaching clients and friends, Coach Don Calvert. I’m always curious, how did you first meet coach Calvert?
I know that you’ve had a ton of success at this point in your career, but I would love to start off at the bottom and the very beginning of your career. Greg, what was your life like growing up and where did you grow up?
I grew up building things in the garage.
I love mechanical things.
I always thought I wanted to be a mechanical engineer
Coach, said you had an incredible high school athletic career. How good were you?
I met Don when he was in highschool and started dating his older sister Donna
Coach said that you have worked to invent many things. I would love for you to share about the types of technology that you have helped to develop throughout your career.
After 10 years I ended up at a company called “Ditch Witch”
I came in the early 90’s and began working on a way to put pipe and cable in the ground without digging a trench.
The next ten years of my life was devoted to this project.
With this technology, you could bore a hole under highways and under established neighborhoods.
We ran into different problems such as boring through rocks so we developed a system to overcome that obstacle.
We also worked on vacuum systems that became a side company.
On one project, we took a small team, designed, and built an entirely new technology.
You have to be able to take a seed of an idea and develop it.
As an engineer, you are more of a developer.
I didn’t invent directional drilling but I developed it to be a commercial product.
Everything starts as an idea. Then it becomes a prototype. Then we see if it actually works. Then we test the product over and over. There are many tests that you have to go through.
It is a process of “This product works and this one doesn’t. Let’s change this.”
You have to make hundreds of thousands of small changes to go from the idea to a working and reliable unit.
We did a lot of testing in Germany in customer’s hands.
Did you get a budget?
There is always a budget.
There is always an accountant who is always telling you to stay under the limit.
You not only have a development budget but also a target market budget.
How do you keep the team momentum positive?
We would take breaks together, we would eat lunch together and we all believed in what we were doing.
The guys could actually see what they were designing turn into real iron and it being used right in front of them in the field, that is when it is good.
The hard part is working and never seeing results for a long period.
What kind of work did you do in China?
There was a time when God spoke to me in my mind. He was asking me to leave the engineering job and become a pastor of a new church start.
In the beginning, I was working at Ditch Witch and being a pastor.
In 2004, God told me to quit working at Ditch Witch.
God provided for us and a few years later in 2012 God told us to sell everything and go to China.
We worked in a rural area and helped with sanitation.
If you could give one piece of advice to everyone in the world, what advice would you give?