We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it a thousand times; trying to manage your service business without the help of a field service management platform leads to inefficient workflows and reduced profit margins across your entire operation. We had the chance to talk to Owen Hughes, Navy veteran, MBA graduate, and recent owner of Petroleum Management, a niche environmental services company out of Massachusetts specializing in storage tank system installation, servicing, and regulatory compliance. He gave us his take on how BuildOps was able to get them off the whiteboard and onto an automated digital platform to help manage operations, streamline scheduling, and facilitate the quoting process for his new business.
Petroleum Management’s services are critical for hospitals, municipalities, and other commercial facilities that rely on oil and diesel for their boilers and backup generators. They install, service, and provide regulatory inspections for underground and aboveground storage tanks and piping systems—while managing recurring service contracts with several of their customers, generating additional repair work and larger project opportunities.
Owen: Navy Veteran Turned MBA Business Owner
Having grown up in Maine, Owen was accustomed to working construction jobs—specifically ones involving landscaping, paving, and hardscape installations, which led to a lifelong passion for construction work. After studying Business in college, Owen decided to pursue one of his other life-long passions and enlisted in the Navy. After graduating college, he set off for San Diego and completed the rigorous trials of SEAL training, before taking assignments at both SEAL Team 1 and as the Tactical Ground Mobility Team Lead for the Naval Special Warfare Training Detachment over the course of an eight-year Navy career.
Throughout his time with the Navy, Owen completed two separate tours of duty with SEAL Team 1—operating mostly as a breacher, Joint Terminal Attack Controller, and the defacto head of engineering for his team, attending to and dealing with all the vehicles, boats, and mechanical equipment he and his team had overseas. He later credited these duties for his continued interest in heavy machinery and construction work.
Once his time with the Navy came to a close, he went back to school on the G.I Bill, earning his MBA and ultimately moving into the financial sector. After working for three and a half years handling mergers and acquisitions as an investment banker—specifically with construction tech companies—he decided it was time to fulfill another one of his ambitions—owning his own construction business.
And now that he’s become the proud owner of Petroleum Management Services, he’s taking on the challenge of growing the business and modernizing operations with the help of BuildOps.
Working With Outdated Processes
“It was always a goal of mine to own a business—particularly a construction business,” Owen told us when asked about his new company. And that’s when he found Petroleum Management Services. It was the classic story of a family-run business, founded 30 years ago, with an owner who was simply ready to take a step back and allow someone else to take the reigns of his business—enabling new leadership to modernize operations and streamline growth for the future of the company.
Once the deal was closed, Owen’s first priority was to figure out how to enhance the operational side of the business and increase efficiency across all of its functions. With his existing background in finance and construction technology, it was easy to see that the solution wasn’t in more spreadsheets and increased back-office hiring, but in identifying a digital solution to bring his new business into the 21st century. “BuildOps was a great choice for us,” he said. “The platform can handle both the service and project management side of the business—which is exactly what we needed.” In addition, they needed a tool to help them ditch analog processes and jump into the 21st century—with digital features and automated commercial workflows. He and former Army Captain and current CEO of BuildOps, Alok Chanani, even had a chance to talk shop before implementation began. As fellow military veterans and MBA graduates, they found common ground as they discussed all the ways the BuildOps platform could help Petroleum Management Services reach their business goals.
How BuildOps Helped Ease Petroleum Management Into the Future
“We would look at our operational board, which was a whiteboard, and we could see that we’d have a project coming up in April,” he said. “But the fact is, we just didn’t schedule out that far in advance. We didn’t have a great way of laying out all the work and confirming the schedule until, basically, the week of.” And that’s where BuildOps really helped with Owen’s operational management. “We also knew we’d be able to convert more opportunities and increase revenue if we had something to help get our quotes out faster,” he said. “I had a good understanding of the market map of construction technology providers out there,” he continued. “Service Titan is the big one on the residential side, but we knew we needed something that catered specifically to a commercial workflow.” One tool he found particularly attractive was the assets tracking feature—which allowed him to easily track different facilities, which sometimes held multiple storage tanks per site. The ability to take photographs and digitize number plates inside the BuildOps system was also a game changer for him and his team. “BuildOps really helped us consolidate all of our operational needs into a single platform,” he said. Between the ability to upload inspection reports and regulatory forms and the use of a variety of commercial features, which allowed his team to create detailed quotes and comprehensive job folders, Owen was able to increase operational efficiency and communication across his entire workforce.
How Petroleum Management Intends to Grow With BuildOps At Their Back
“We plan to keep growing the business by expanding our service and construction departments,” Owen told us. “And by continuing to provide reliable and high-quality environmental services to our customers.” He went on to say that BuildOps’ reporting features will help them analyze data in a more systemic way, enabling them to make better, more informed decisions about capital deployment and profitability down the line. For example, the BuildOps reporting module will allow them to drill down on the different types of jobs they work, how often they work them, and which ones yield the highest payouts. “I wouldn’t know how to approach those analyses with the manual processes we had before,” Owen said. “Besides basically going with our gut. Having the data to back up these decisions will be a huge plus.”
We look forward to seeing just how far Owen and his team over at Petroleum Management Services can take their business with the help of BuildOps. Our passion has always been with our customers, and there’s nothing we enjoy more than watching yet another successful implementation. Think BuildOps might be right for your service business? Check out our product demo, or book a call with one of our service experts today.