Boosting Communications

Bakken Electronix provides the equipment to keep companies connected in the oilfields.
Boosting Communications
Bakken Electronix, owned by Dave Ludwig, sells cellphone boosters, antennas, amplifiers, oilfield location software, Garmin GPS devices and other communication equipment to improve oilfield communications.

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As Dave Ludwig recovered from back surgery in 2012 he knew he had to find a different career path. His music business just wasn’t cutting it anymore, and his back had paid the price.

“I needed to find something a little less destructive for me to do,” Ludwig says. “Lifting heavy speaker equipment gets old, so my brother made a remark about cellphone boosters and cellphone signals in the oilfields.”

One thing led to another and soon Ludwig was operating Bakken Electronix, offering cellphone boosters to those working in the oilfields of North Dakota.

“I found a company called Wilson Electronics and told them who I was, that I was 21 years old, and we got hooked up and got things started,” Ludwig says. “They sold me one unit at the beginning, I tested it out and by golly it worked great.”      

Ludwig ordered a couple more boosters and started his new business in mid-2012. He told his friends, who told their friends, and began handing out business cards.

“Within that first month we sold 10 units and we were just amazed,” Ludwig says. “We decided it was lucrative enough, so we ordered a pretty good selection of inventory including antennas, amplifiers and cables. That was what got us started.”

Now, two years later, the company has grown substantially with new products and accessories specifically suited for the oilfields. Ludwig’s store offers not only cellphone boosters, but also CB radio equipment, Garmin devices, portable satellite Internet, oilfield navigation and asset tracking equipment.

“This has been a growing concept as I went along. Ultimately, at the end of the day, Bakken Electronix is a communication solutions company,” Ludwig says. “It’s not that we want to sell you a product, we want to find you the right product and the right service and pair you up with that.”

Of the products Bakken Electronix now offers, Ludwig says one of the most popular has been OilTrax USA oilfield navigation software from SiteFinder GPS. OilTrax USA is a Garmin-based system that allows individuals to search, select and drive to well sites anywhere in the country.

“It’s software that works on a Garmin,” Ludwig says. “Insert an SD card and you have turn-by-turn directions to any well site. It’s only $200, which might seem like a lot, but when you’re a driver and you’re being paid by the barrel, going to multiple well sites at night, it can be dangerous using paper directions. With this you can listen for your turns, glance at the screen on your Garmin and be a lot safer.”

Another popular product has been the satellite asset tracking devices from RHx Systems, based out of Sioux Falls, S.D.

“I heard an ad on the radio here that $65,000 worth of equipment had been stolen from the oilfields, and they were offering a very sizeable reward,” Ludwig says. “I went in search of something to track assets so if someone steals it, you could track its location. We found RHx, and that’s what they specialize in.”

With satellite asset tracking, customers can also recall deliveries, record IFTA mileage and track equipment maintenance.

Ludwig’s newest offerings include communication vehicles outfitted with equipment from Nomad Global Communication Solutions. There are multiple vehicle platforms, from standard trucks to Suburbans to semi-sized vehicles. Trailer-mounted units are also available.

“The oilfield is not paper and pencil anymore,” Ludwig says. “Everyone needs to be connected as companies want to know every detail about a well pad. These solutions have cellular Internet capabilities, satellite Internet capabilities, MESH network capabilities and technology designed specifically for emergency services. What drew me to them were the turnkey solutions that can be implemented in a matter of minutes.”

Ludwig, 24, doesn’t have any employees on payroll, but his dad does help at their home office in Williston, N.D. In the future he would like to see the company grow and add employees.

“I want to move into a nice storefront with a receptionist, repair department and possibly rental department,” Ludwig says. “Controlled growth is key in my mind.”

Ludwig has enjoyed seeing Williston grow the last several years thanks to the oil boom.

“I’ve been out here my whole life. I grew up out here and to see Williston revitalized into a healthy economy is nice,” Ludwig says. “It got pretty slow, pretty stale for a while, but now that growth is here, I’m happy to have it and happy to have new people in town.”  GOMC

For more information on Bakken Electronix, visit www.bakkenelectronix.com.



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