Pinnacle Drilling Products excels as an industry “total solutions” provider

By Lisa Gordon

When Allan Zdunich founded Pinnacle Drilling Products back in 2007, the Vancouver,

B.C.-based company supplied drilling tools and products to the oil and gas, mining, construction, geothermal and waterwell industries. Its first shop was a mere 2,000 square feet, and it was home to just four employees.

But Zdunich – a drilling industry veteran who is marking 50 years in the field this year – was clearly onto a good thing. It took only eight years for Pinnacle to grow into a new facility in Burnaby, one that is five times bigger than its original shop.

In 2011, a company restructuring initiative brought in more capital to fund targeted growth.

At the time, this allowed Pinnacle to further develop its new facility in Calgary, Alta., which was established to bring the company closer to its clients in the oil and gas and construction markets. Under the leadership of industry experts Jim MacPhail and Darryl Michalko, that location has experienced tremendous growth, increasing from 3,000 to 40,000 square feet since it opened its doors in May 2010.

“Pinnacle also started a CNC machining and welding shop in Calgary,” said Zdunich. “We were really a sales group; but when we needed things built, we’d have to farm the work out to other machining companies. When they were busy, we were all standing in line. We decided to do it ourselves.”

Today, Pinnacle employs 35 people. Collectively, its employees have a grand total of 258 years of industry experience, with eight team members each having more than 20 years in the field. Calgary handles about 70 per cent of business and Burnaby the remaining 30 per cent, with Pinnacle offering a wide selection of 7,500 different products to its drilling industry customers.

“For the oil and gas market, we provide coring tooling,” said MacPhail. “For the waterwell market we provide casing and down-the-hole (DTH) products and bits.”

But Pinnacle’s main focus these days is the deep foundation construction industry. In short order, the company has become a leader in the large diameter drilling market.

“There was a movement to start putting in larger diameter piles for offshore applications – bridges, ferry terminals, etc.,” said Zdunich. “We’re talking about jobs that require large 18- to 60-inch diameter piles, using reverse circulation [RC] drilling techniques. Large diameter offshore and land-based drilling projects are our focus.”

A lot of the technology involved in those projects employs RC drilling techniques. Zdunich says that method was once thought to be very expensive, but today’s customers are starting to realize the savings.

“When you’re drilling in the conventional way, you might have 10 air compressors tied together to drill that hole,” he said. “With reverse circulation, you could probably do the job with three or four compressors. When you do the math, the fuel savings alone represent thousands of dollars. Think of one compressor burning 20 gallons of fuel an hour, times $4 per gallon, times 10 hours a day.”

But an even bigger attraction of RC drilling is that the same drill rod can be used for different sized holes, reducing the need for equipment and offering customers significant savings.

“As the technology grows, we seem to be at the forefront,” said Zdunich, who makes it a priority to attend industry trade shows and events around the world, in order to stay on top of trends. His involvement has paid off: Pinnacle’s share of the large diameter drilling market has grown rapidly.


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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.