There's No Place Like Home
Do you know
where Sumter, South Carolina is located? Eric Fletty and I didn’t either.
of our adventure began nearly three years ago from a conversation with Vice
President of Sales and Marketing, Larry Rocco. Larry
informed us of his career change after 25 years and we started asking
questions. Thanks to Larry and Jill Williamson for setting up this visit.
We knew the
name “Thompson Industrial Services” but really did not understand their
foundation, principles, or the multiple options that this company had to the
offer our industry.
started to come into focus when we met with, who some call, a “Lifetime Serial
Entrepreneur” - President & CEO, Greg A. Thompson.
Greg left the family business and stepped out on his own. He started with 3
employees, a borrowed truck and a $10,000 loan, and as they say, the rest is
history, or in Greg’s case, the Future.
has grown to approximately 2300 employees in 20 locations, consisting of the Thompson
Construction Group, Thompson Turner Construction and Thompson Industrial
You will get
it when you visit their Corporate Offices at 100 N. Main St. Sumter, SC 29150,
located in an amazingly restored historic 108-year-old building in Downtown
interest for this article is with Thompson Industrial Services.
Greg’s missions is to keep the Family Culture inside Thompson. One of the best
examples of this is this Master Chef-style kitchen inside the corporate office.
Greg commented that he grew up on a farm and they always met around the kitchen
table and discussed their plans for the day or situations that they needed to
that same momentum today by having morning meetings with his senior management
around this same kitchen table.
One thing he
requests from his team is to tell each other one thing they do great and one
thing they need to work on. Sounds a little scary but you know that’s what
close families do.
Industrial Services serves these primary industries listed in order of their
- 1.Pulp & Paper
- 3.Fossil Power
- 4.Petrol Chemical & Refineries
Services include: Automated Hydroblasting, Chemical Cleaning, Cryogenic
Cleaning (Dry Ice Blasting), High Volume Hydroblasting, In-Situ SCR Catalyst
Cleaning, Combustible Dust Remediation, FINFOAM Air-cooled Heat Exchanger
Cleaning, Pneumatic & Hydro-Vacuum Excavation, 40K Hydro-cutting, Wet &
Dry Vacuuming and Nuclear Services.
introduced cleaning automation to the mills as an extension from work at other
industries. This has proven to be much safer and more productive. “We have a
world class TIR for our industry and relate a cost-per-ton productivity to the
mill’s outages,” he said. “Downtime costs are huge, so we are in the business
of maximizing uptime. Our goal is to do the safest possible job and keep your
downtime to a minimum.”
Greg tells me that their priority is cost containment. They sit down with their
customer’s team and spend time detailing the plan for an outage and then they
work the plan. It makes the job considerably more seamless.
past 18 months they have added resources to better plan their time, and even
developed a dedicated Outage and Project Management Team.
strategy seems to be paying off. Because of their attention to safety, their industry-unique
high volume pumps and the teams they have put together, Thomson Industrial
Services is highly recognized as a leader in cleaning Recovery Boilers to the
tune of an average of one every 5 days.
They work with contractors as well as manufacturers. One of their offerings is for
“safe dig” excavation utilizing their vacuum trucks in conjunction with air or
hydro assist. These trucks are used to prevent underground line breaks by
safely exposing sub-surface utilities, which is especially beneficial in older
facilities such as our mills.
teams have 30-40 years of experience in chemical cleaning, recovery and power
boiler, Digesters, Evaporators and all types of Pulp & Paper equipment.
for paper mills even led him to marry his wife Danielle. At one time her father
was Mill Manager at the Port Edwards Mill in Wisconsin. Danielle was raised in
both Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids, and actually worked in a paper mill. How is
that for a tie in?
Danielle and Greg believe in Sumter, SC. They have invested heavily in the
downtown area and currently have a wonderful first class restaurant, Hamptons, a pub called Side Bar and they are getting ready to
build another restaurant and a hotel. Now that is what I call really putting
your money where your mouth is about your home town.
“spare time” his involvement in the local community has been legendary: (to
name a few)
- Chair of the Sumter Economic Development Board
- A founding member of the Sumter Smarter Growth
- Former member of the Tuomey Hospital Board
the city’s success comes in the form of a three-legged stool, with cooperation
from the Private Sector, City and County.
information on Thompson Industrial Services please go to www.ThompsonIndustrialServices.com
information on TAPPI please go to www.tappi.org
there are two types of people in our industry, TAPPI Members and those who