Kyle Rhodes, president of Process Equipment and Service Company, talks during a tour of PESCO on Friday during Manufacturing Day in Farmington.
Kyle Rhodes, president of Process Equipment and Service Company, talks during a tour of PESCO on Friday during Manufacturing Day in Farmington. (Augusta Liddic The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — As part of National Manufacturing Day on Friday, businesses across the state offered tours to people interested in manufacturing.

In Farmington, Process Equipment and Service Company opened its doors to a handful of politicians, educators, business officials and other curious individuals.

"It's really a great story when children can take over a company started by their parents and make it even more successful," Mayor Tommy Roberts said prior to reading the governor's proclamation declaring Oct. 4 National Manufacturing Day.

PESCO is a second-generation company opened in 1970 that focuses on manufacturing equipment for the oil industry. PESCO President Kyle Rhodes and his brother, Jim, the vice president of plant operations and engineering, started working at the company when Kyle Rhodes was 12 and Jim Rhodes was 13.

In 1970, PESCO was located on Maple Street. But the company quickly grew, and, in 1978, the Rhodes family moved the business to its current location across from SunRay Park and Casino.

At the new property, PESCO built a single building on a little more than two acres of land. Now, there are three buildings, as well as a field station in La Plata.

PESCO currently employes 291 people, mainly from the local area.

"This place is about second chances," Kyle Rhodes said.

He told stories of a former homeless alcoholic and a former drug dealer who came to work for the company after turning their lives around. He explained that the company hires kids out of high school, as well as people on probation.

"Not everybody has to have a college degree to be successful," Kyle Rhodes said.

Farmington High School teacher Mark Pavlik attended the tour to learn about opportunities for Farmington students. He said he was surprised to learn that it's not strictly about skills. Instead, companies like PESCO focus on character and work habits.

"From what I see, this would be a really great place to work," Pavlik said.

Process Equipment and Service Company employees work in the shop on Friday during PESCO s Manufacturing Day tour in Farmington.
Process Equipment and Service Company employees work in the shop on Friday during PESCO s Manufacturing Day tour in Farmington. (Augusta Liddic The Daily Times)

Many manufacturing jobs require specialized skills and pay well, said Karen Converse from the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Program.

"For too long, the United States has sort of ignored manufacturing," Converse said.

The average salary for a manufacturing job in New Mexico exceeds $62,000 annually, according at a proclamation by Gov. Susana Martinez announcing National Manufacturing Day.

While PESCO is currently a successful business, it has faced struggles. In 2000, the company only made $18,000 in profits, and, in 2001, it struggled with costs. That is when PESCO decided to switch to lean manufacturing, a process that reduces waste.

The company became more successful, and, last year, it had $43 million in revenue, 80 percent of which came from outside of New Mexico.

PESCO is currently working on an $11 million order of equipment that will be sent to the Bakken area of North Dakota.

The company currently serves the San Juan Basin, Uintah Basin, Green River shale formation, Powder River Basin, DJ Basin and the Bakken shale formation. And the company has its eye on expansion to the Permian and Grant basins of Texas, as well as to Australia and Latin America.

PESCO makes a variety of products including tanks, separators and treaters, as well as flare combustors to burn by-products.

In addition, the company makes equipment for the hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- industry, such as large water heaters to warm water prior to it being pumped into the frack wells.

Oil and gas has been the foundation of the local economy for 60 years and has fueled the economy with good jobs and wages, Roberts said at Friday's event.

To promote the industry, the city helps through its economic development programs, which can weigh in on regulations in New Mexico.

"You promote an industry through economic development programs," Roberts said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.