Field-Tec, a Muncy service providing business, began as an afterthought for two area college instructors.
It has since, grown into a family sustaining business in a shaky economy, and looks toward the future with as hopeful an outlook as they have already endured in the last 28 years.
The business services stationary hydraulic systems and mobile equipment powertrain systems (the group of components that provide the power to make the vehicle move), in more than a dozen states.
The business services stationary
hydraulic systems and mobile equipment
powertrain systems. Pictured is Dale Appleman, Field-Tec service manager.
Field-Tec is the authorized service and repair center for Al-jon and Roadtec, two manufacturing businesses, that are spread across 13 states.
"We offer hydraulic system repairs to every industry here - mobile and industrial. We do mobile and industrial hydraulics. From your log splitter to your biggest hydraulic system, we work on it all," said Ben Eldred co-owner of the business. "If hydraulic fluid flows through it, we do it."
Eldred and Scott Appleman began their combined journies as college professors in the Heavy Equipment Technology program at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
They noticed, as professors, they were giving out a lot of free information that they could be making money on. The business also helped them out in the classroom?
"By having this, we were able to stay current in what we were teaching. That was really the plus when we looked back. Traditionally, teachers in the business, worked in it and then taught and said, "this is all the experience I had," Eldred said.
According to Eldred, instructors have an obligation to the students to stay current.
So, many would work in their field in summer months to gain knowledge of any changes in the industry.
"We were able to keep current because we had this business and employees and you had to stay current to survive here. We were then able to take real life experience into the classroom all of the time," Eldred said.
Immediately, they began hiring Penn College graduates. As professors, they knew who the students were, according to Eldred.
"The vast majority of employees have been either graduates of Penn College (some have come from other technical backgrounds) or the military. Being that we are veterans, we have also hired from the military," Eldred said.
Eldred and Appleman took early retirement from the college in 2005 and 2007 respectively, Eldred said.
In the last 28 years, the business has proven to be stable, surviving recessions while continually growing.
Beginning operations in 1981, the building that they currently reside in was built in 1985.
Ten years later, marked the building's first expansion followed by another 10 years later.
"Over the years, we have had a good stable work force here. We are a company that pays family sustaining pay and benefits. We take pride in the fact that we do that in our industry. You can support your family and work here," Eldred said.
One key to the success of the business is they changed with the changing needs of the economy.
According to Eldred, they stayed in business by adjusting to the changing markets and becoming more diversified.
The biggest change was to accommodate the changing customer needs and the reduction in corporate profit, according to Eldred.
"We have had to adjust dealing with pricing, warehousing and everything that we have done here. Payment terms have changed because of cashflow on the part of companies because they look much closer to their bottom line," Eldred said.
Now, in the horizon of Marcellus Shale, business seems to be looking even more bright.
"It is having a real positive effect because what we do is directly involved with the drilling aspects. The type of technical repairs and remanufacturing of components that we do here, that is what these drilling rigs are made up of," Eldred said.
If everything goes as planned, within the next ten years, Eldred anticipates the business will experience even more expansion.
Individuals interested in contacting Field-Tec may do so by calling 546-2607 or by accessing the Web site at www.fieldtecservices.com.