Energy and Natural Resources
Brandon Dewan | Eagle Pipe, LLC
Earning his wings
As CEO of Eagle Pipe, Brandon Dewan uses analytics and innovative supply models to rise above the competition.
ith an initial investment of $50,000, Brandon Dewan began turning his vision into a reality: a new way to supply oil companies with pipe at a reduced cost. And in less than two weeks, Eagle Pipe had $1 million in revenues. Typically, it takes 21 months for the average US small business startup to reach that milestone.
But as quickly as a company can flourish, it can also start to flounder, especially in the face of adversity. In 2015 and 2016, Eagle Pipe and the rest of the energy industry suffered a steep downturn — among the worst in oilfield history.
“That totally wiped out many companies,” Dewan recalls. “The downturn pushed us to the limits of our capabilities. It was either evolve or go out of business.”
Thanks to Dewan’s drive, creativity and enthusiastic leadership, Eagle Pipe emerged from the crisis stronger than before. Its revenue surged by triple-digit percentage points in 2017 and 2018, and it has retained every employee it’s ever hired.
High-tech, high trust
Eagle Pipe’s edge lies in using data analytics to identify price trends quicker than the competition. This allows the company to purchase product for less and offer customers lower prices as well.
Dewan’s talent for building innovative supply models adds an edge as well. It buoyed the company during hard times and continues to set Eagle Pipe apart. He established relationships with new US steel mills that used advanced techniques to manufacture better products, and he arranged to provide other mills with the high‑quality materials he wanted them to use.
In an industry dominated by Japanese companies known for being formidable competitors, Dewan says quality domestic suppliers enable his company to react faster to customer demands and changes in commodity prices.
The company also updates customer pricing much more frequently than the industry standard: every month instead of every quarter. By sending suppliers and customers a detailed pricing analysis every month, Eagle Pipe provides transparency that demonstrates its value to all its stakeholders, a unique approach that’s given the company a positive reputation.
“Through our proprietary analytics and unique supply models, ultimately we’re able to reduce costs and increase efficiency for our broad customer base,” Dewan says.
The downturn pushed us to the limits of our capabilities. It was either evolve or go out of business.
Turning adversity into advantage
Dewan envisioned Eagle Pipe as a one-stop shop for all the piping needs of his customers. When he was forced to confront the slowdown of 2015–16, he wasn’t about to abandon that goal. He doubled down, investing in crucial technology, processes and relationships. He and his co-founder ran the business during the day, and at night they spent hours finding ways to manage their cash flow to pay suppliers.
“That was an extremely challenging time from a lot of different perspectives — everything from financial constraints to the amount of buyers and consumption in the market,” he says.
Even so, Eagle Pipe continued to be profitable every year, and Dewan’s strategy paid off handsomely. The company’s product line has grown rapidly over the years to meet the needs of its oil and gas customers.
“My proudest accomplishment is that we’ve been able to cross the hurdles and obstacles to get from that Day One phase to becoming one of the predominant companies in our industries,” Dewan says.
Investing in attitude
To Dewan, talent is only partly based on experience and expertise. He’s more focused on a job candidate’s attitude than experience, seeking out those with a thirst for success and a willingness to hustle.
Dewan has been singled out for how generously he rewards that can-do attitude. Not many companies pay for 100% of employees’ health care costs, but Eagle Pipe does. And after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Dewan bought new clothes for several employees and their families and paid for their accommodations while they were displaced.
Through the Eagle Power Initiative that he developed, employees are empowered and provided with regular training and job enhancement skills. He also has every staff member attend weekly status meetings where he and his management team provide business updates, new developments, financial status and a weekly motivational discussion from Dewan.
He must be doing something right, as not one of the more than 30 people who have joined his team has quit or been let go. While the average small business generates $100,000 of revenue per employee, for Eagle Pipe, this metric is in the millions.
“I want my employees to make as much money as they can from this business as well,” Dewan says, citing regular bonuses for his dedicated staff as one way Eagle Pipe shares the wealth.
These days, the company is exploring ways that artificial intelligence can supplement human talent, and it’s looking beyond oil and gas to municipalities as a new market. For the man who knew his business had to evolve or die when times got tough, continued success is no pipe dream.