Thorough Sourcing IX

Mar 30, 2011

Last week I told you we were going to continue Marianne’s story by exploring the opportunities LinkedIn did offer, and I promised that’d we build on those results and a few others using Hoover’s and brief search engine visits to create a robust search that would surprise you.

One of our readers, Ben Ness, SOSed Marianne (in Part VIII, Comments section) with the following:

I googled “pigging,” figured out it was the same as “pipeline inspection,” did a keyword search on linkedin using “pipeline inspection” and came up with 280 results who currently still work in this industry. And that is just in my network. The Internet is a beautiful thing. Marianne, if you arereading this, I hope this helps.

I asked Ben what kind of LinkedIn account he had, because when I put the words “pipeline inspection” into LinkedIn’s keyword box I got 280 results too, but guess what?

NONE of them had any names attached to them — only titles like:

Pipeline Inspection Manager at Weatherford International Inc.
Houston, Texas Area | Oil & Energy

Production Manager, Asset Manager at GE Oil & Gas PII

Systems Analyst & Inventory Control Manager at Pipeline Inspection Company
Houston, Texas Area | Oil & Energy

Pipeline inspection at Universal Pegasus International
Corpus Christi, Texas Area | Oil & Energy

Pipeline Inspection Manager at Mustang Engineering
United States | Oil & Energy

Vice President USA, Canada, Caribbean at TD Williamson Inc
Tulsa, Oklahoma Area | Oil & Energy

Pipeline Inspection Manager at Weatherford P&SS
Houston, Texas Area | Oil & Energy

supervisor, pipeline inspection at Superior Well Services, Inc.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama Area | Oil & Energy

Pipeline Inspection at Edward Newman Consulting LLC
Greater Denver Area | Oil & Energy

Pipeline Inspection Tech at Weatherford
Houston, Texas Area | Oil & Energy

Pipeline Inspection Tech at Weatherford
Phoenix, Arizona Area | Infor

It turns out Ben pays $89 per month for the “Executive” level account and feels it is “well worth it.”

That very well may be but it doesn’t much matter in this instance because not only would we run down a whole lot of rabbit holes chasing Ben’s pipeline inspection dreams, we’d also miss the mark because pigging operations include but are not limited to cleaning and inspecting of the pipeline.

This is the kind of thing where so many searches jump the tracks and go terribly, terribly wrong.

What we “think” the client should take is not always what they will take.

We have to be terribly, terribly careful with this.

The targets Marianne had on the screen, she had been told, would be good places to find the types of people we needed.

Using them as a starting point, we went to Hoover’s and built a list.

Here is the information on the companies Hoover’s had data on that had the word  “pigging” in their descriptions.

It turned out that one of them was her client.

A good place to start on a search is to look at who the competitors are of your client.

The list included:

SPX Corporation
Charlotte NC  4,886.80M 15,500         Industrial machinery, nec

T. D. Williamson, Inc.
Tulsa OK     456.69M     1,425   Oil and gas field machinery

Process Pigging Systems, LLC
Cincinnati OH Single Location        2.00M         4       Process control instruments

Star Trak Pigging Technologies Inc Katy TX     Single Location        1.00M         9      Pipeline construction,

Pigging Solutions, LLC
Willard MO Single Location        0.31M         2       Hardware


Pinnacle Pigging Systems Inc
Pasadena TX   Single Location        0.10M         1       Oil and gas field services, nec

Aquilex HydroChem
Deer Park TX United States                    Sanitary services, nec

It was obvious there were a couple large companies in this industry; they were listed first. The numbers you see listed on the second lines of each company are the gross sales and then the number of employees.

Eyeballing the first company, we see that SPX:

…controls the flow of multiple industries. The company operates from four units: Flow Technology (pumps, valves, other fluid handling devices); Test and Measurement (diagnostic tools, fare-collection, cable/pipe locators); Thermal Equipment and Services (cooling, heating, ventilation); and Industrial Products and Services (compactors, power systems, broadcast antenna systems, aerospace components). SPX focuses on global infrastructure development; end markets include power, petrochemical exploration, refinement, and distribution, as well as food/beverage, and tools/diagnostics. It operates in 35-plus countries with a sales presence in 150 countries. More than 50% of sales are generated outside the U.S.

The second company, T. D. Williamson, states:

T.D. Williamson must have known that a financial touchdown was in the pipeline when he founded his namesake company in 1920. T. D. Williamson, Inc. designs, manufactures, and maintains oil field machinery and systems including pipeline pigging, gas leak detection, pipeline inspection, plugging, tapping, valve and clamp, and cathodic protection equipment. The company also offers general pipeline, training, and turnkey services. T. D.Williamson operates a global network of sales offices and representatives. It has strategically located international service centers and/or manufacturing plants worldwide, including in Belgium, India, Singapore, the UK, the U.S., and Venezuela.

The others appeared to be minor players, but I thought we’d probably stumble across some others as we went along.

That’s what usually happens.

Looking more closely at SPX and Googling the terms spx pigging together we discern that the company has a division involved with pigging: GD Engineering®, an SPX company, offers a technology that allows the deployment of multiple pig launchers on unmanned platforms.

That’s what we want: the guys who go out on the sales calls who know what is required in the set-up. We find their website. The contact button reveals their locations and phone numbers for locations around the country:

GD Engineering
19191 Hempstead Highway
Phone 281-807-2818
Fax 281-807-2805

It also appears to offer up other companies for different products used in pigging:

Apex Instruments (for closures)
Girard Industries (for pig signalers)
Energy Equipment

We copy and paste all of them, along with their numbers.

All of a sudden we’ve expanded our list of targets with information that the targets themselves have provided on the Internet!

We also do a run on LinkedIn for GD Engineering. Nothing of any help comes up.

We move on.

Turning to T. D. Williamson we first do a LinkedIn search because we have the window open.

Lookie there: 108 results. Don’t get excited. One first name and last initial on the first one — a Talent Development Coordinator, Dallas B.

Titles only on every result after that first one!

That’s it (for me — your results may differ).

We refine and put the word “sales engineer” into the title box.


We remove the word “engineer” and leave “sales” in the box.

A mess of 12 comes up (no names among any of the 12, only titles!) but the majority of them do not look like they’d be much help anyway. Titles like:

Sr. Sales Rep. for T.DWilliamson — MIGHT know who we’re after, but who is it? And in what vertical? Pigging? No way to tell!

Service Center Supervisor — This person might know but again, who is it?

Business Development Mgr, Alaska at TD Williamson — Uhh … probably not

Marketing Communications, Lead Generation, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, E-Marketing, and Website Management — Absolutely not

Global Web Publisher at T.D. Williamson, Inc. — Ditto

Manager Pipeline Solutions at T.D. Williamson, Inc. — Might know but who is it?

Senior Sales Representative at T.D. Williamson, Inc. Maybe but again, who is it?

Sales/Service Coordinator at TDW — Maybe, but…

Sr. Sales Representative at T.D.Williamson, Inc. — Probably knows, but…

Contracts Manager — Probably wouldn’t know but could. But who is it?

Operations Manager — Might know but…

Senior Buyer — No.

LinkedIn is basically useless to me at this point and I quickly lose patience with the exercise.

I turn to Google and look for the website. I want to know if it, like its largest competitor, also has a division that handles pigging.

It does — it’s called TDW Offshore Solutions and they have offices all over the country with the majority centered, from the looks of it, in the Midwest.

But there’s more!

Under “Events” there’ something called “Pipeline Pigging Conference.”

Man! I can’t wait!

I click on it.

NACE Corrosion in Houston

IPEIA in Alberta, Canada

Southern Gas Conference in Charlotte, NC

And more, many more.

I copy them all out and paste them, knowing that many of them will be valuable sources of additional target companies when we need them.

And we will.

But one of the best parts of that link above is the revelation at the site of terminology used in pigging, all keywords we can use to further our search. Words like:

– Hot Tapping & Plugging Services
– Freeze Plugging Services
– Plugging Isolation Services
– Cutter Repair Services
– Equipment Repair Services
– Hydrostatic Testing Services
– Drying Service
– Pigging Products & Services
– Online Cleaning Services
– Pipeline Cleaning Services
– New Construction Services
– Gas Leak Detection Services
– Turnkey Management Services

But in the meantime my eye drifts back up to that list of offices listed throughout the United States.

I nod towards it and say to Marianne, “Let’s start calling those.”

She sits up expectantly and reaches for the phone.

Then she hesitated and shrank back into her seat, drawing her clenched hand in to her chest.

Next week we’re going to finish Marianne’s lesson and also, this series.

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed it.

P.S.  Yesterday when I was writing the IX article as I searched LinkedIn for the portions where I used LinkedIn, the only results I got were titles only.

Today the same searches are giving me (on the first couple pages) names, and then the info fades (as it does on unpaid accts) to first names and last initials and then to titles only.

Maybe it was a glitch in LinkedIn’s system yesterday but I can tell you this:

Several months ago I was one of the first who got results where the last name was represented only by an initial.

When I called it out in the sourcing circles I was told I must be imagining things.  Soon after everyone (who wasn’t paying) started getting them.

Sometimes I feel like a canary in a mine.

Are titles-only the near future of LinkedIn’s FREE search?


This is an ongoing series regarding phone sourcing. Here’s part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI, part VII, and part VIII.

Here is this Tuesday’s Phone Sourcing Tip/it is also listed in the ASK Maureen group here on ERE. I hope you’ll join and contribute to our discussion!

Customers usually know who their own competitors are and understand that those are the best ponds to go fishing in.

If you’re doing work for a third party recruiter sometimes they do not know and, worse yet, are reluctant to ask their clients for fear of not looking like they know what they’re doing.

They don’t always work exclusively in an area to know that area intimately.

Your job as a sourcer sometimes is to augment their knowledge in a manner that doesn’t destroy their fragile egos.

This is easier said than done sometimes but it is critically important that the right targets be chosen before beginning any sourcing assignment.

Extreme care must be taken here and if it means spending extra time to correctly identify the field then it behooves you to do it.

It will save you much time and heartache later!

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