Ralph Gilstrap is one in a million. We met him when he was 82 years old. Referred to us from a Manufacturing Alliance agent that was helping him manage the growth of his business. Ralph had no desire to sell except that he worried about the trouble he might leave his spouse, children, employees and customers if “something happened to him.”
Mr. Gilstrap was fit as a fiddle, as they say. But, as they say, no one lives forever. And who knows when one’s day will come? It could happen at forty, but the odds move against as one moves beyond sixty. So I sat down with Ralph. He did most of the talking.
Ralph did not graduate from college. He studied engineering and left early to get to work. His life story should be in a book. It’d be an amazing read. But here we were at a later chapter. Ralph had designed and built a tool used to pull very heavy loads at the oil and gas well site. He spent some years working in the oilfield, and then delivering services to the oilfield, and envisioned a tool that could fill an important niche. So he designed and built it.
He named the tool the Casinjac. Its primary use is lifting (“jacking”) very heavy “strings” of well hole “casing,” i.e. pipe. It pulls loads that exceed the safe pulling capacity of most rigs used in the field. It saves time, money, reduces damage to the commonly used equipment, and — most importantly – saves lives.
At first, Mr. Gilstrap just used his prototype unit to provide “jacking” service in the field. But as his desire to do field work waned he began making and selling units. Sales took off. He charged a hefty price and required fifty percent of the purchase price upon order and the balance upon delivery. Oilfield service companies, E&P companies and equipment rental firms gladly met the terms.
In late 2011, however, his desire to protect his loved ones was high on his mind. He had three beautiful and successful daughters, but none wanted to take over the business.
We developed the offering documents, established a buyer search plan, and went to work. Forty buyer candidates and six months later we were down to the most qualified and motivated four. In the end, Ralph picked Superior Fabrication, Inc. (SFI), an Elk City, Oklahoma-based ESOP owned company that manufactures a variety of oilfield equipment and tools. It was, and continues to be, a great fit.
Ralph is a consultant for SFI and helps them as they work to meet demand for the Casinjac. He’s now 84, happy about the deal, but wishes he could live forever.
Who could blame him?
Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Elk City, OK, USA