The Fellers of Feller Oilfield Service, Inc. have three generations worth of experience with the oil industry, so they’ve seen plenty of ups and downs along the way. To help ride out the business cycles the energy sector is known for, the company is expanding its services to include earthmoving capabilities.
To prepare for the expansion, Feller Oilfield Service had to augment its fleet of construction equipment, and there was no doubt in Kirk Feller’s mind what kind of equipment to buy or where to purchase it. The company has been buying Case equipment since 1973, and has been a Birkey’s customer since the dealership came to Mattoon.
The company’s newly-diversified fleet includes 850K and 1650K crawler dozers equipped with winches; CX130 and CX210 excavators equipped with hydraulic quick couplers; 580SM and 580SM Series 3 backhoes; and 450CT compact track loaders.
“Our first Case backhoe came from what was a factory store in Effingham in 1973,” Feller noted. “We’ve been buying Case equipment since.”
Price, service and quality of the equipment are all factors behind his loyalty to Case equipment. “A major reason for our loyalty to Birkey’s is the excellent service we get from them—whether parts or service or whatever I need. They give me good deals on the equipment and they ack up what they sell. They’ll send a mechanic to anyplace, anytime, to keep the equipment going—including weekends,” Feller said. Oilfields operate 24/7, so dependable service at all times is imperative for his company.
Feller doesn’t employ any mechanics, so he depends on Birkey’s for all the major work on his Case equipment, from repairs to overhauls. “I am completely happy with the service I get from Birkey’s,” he said.
Feller has had the most experience with Case backhoes, which the company buys new. Typically, the company puts 600 to 700 hours on a backhoe in a year and trades them after about 5 years. Feller’s dozers and excavators probably don’t work quite so many hours each year, but all have proven durable and reliable.
“Over the years, we have had other brands, and we’ve found Case is as good as or better than any of them. Right now, the only equipment we own that aren’t Case are some road graders we bought before Case introduced a road grader. When it comes time to replace them, we will definitely be looking at the Cases.”
The oilfield service company was founded in 1941. Kirk Feller’s father, Lloyd Feller, bought it out in 1963. Currently, Kirk serves as president, with his wife Brenda as secretary-treasurer. Their two sons, Dane and Casey, are vice presidents of the firm, which has 15 employees and works mostly for Petco in the oilfield north of St. Elmo.
The oilfield services Feller provides include hauling pipe and water, maintaining roads and rights-of-way, and pressure-testing lines. Much of that work requires specialized equipment, so when the company decided to expand its services, Feller made a major investment in Case equipment that will allow the company to diversify into other work. So far, the contractor has done some excavation work for Petco—digging ditches, backfilling and landscaping and is bidding on other, non-oilfield projects.
Looking to the future, Feller said that the company eventually aims to have a 50-50 mix of oilfield and non-oilfield work. For the next few years, a 70-30 mix would be a good step toward that goal.
“Making a major investment in Case equipment to expand his business is an indication of the trust Kirk Feller has in Case equipment and Birkey’s. We’re proud to have earned that trust, and we will do our best to keep it,” said Nathan Gannaway, Birkey’s sales representative.