Minimizing Layers of Management Keeps Employees Invested in Company

Turner Underground Installations attributes its 10-year average tenure for employees to the personal company culture it aims to cultivate

Minimizing Layers of Management Keeps Employees Invested in Company

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Rhett Turner’s goal is to keep his second-generation, family-owned HDD company both manageable and growing. Turner Underground Installations serves mainly New York state, with some work spilling over into 17 other states.

That combination of being growth-minded yet conservative can be tricky in the business world.

“We keep the layers of management to a minimum,” Turner says of his approach to running the company. “I know a lot of big companies that have all kinds of different managers. It seems like everyone is a manager at some of the companies. We have been slim with that, but we also are carefully promoting experienced help into those positions.”

It helps that the firm’s 30 employees are, for the most part, cross-trained and very familiar with horizontal directional drilling, auger boring and micro-tunneling. That experience is key because company projects are wide ranging. Notable projects include running a directional drill to lay 1,400 feet of 6-inch HDPE under the Mohawk River, and micro-tunneling for 13 miles to install a 38-inch steel pipe for electric lines.

“Most of the guys are pretty versatile. We do have some who are better at certain things, but for the most part they all know a little about everything,” says Turner.

Employees have stayed with Turner Underground because it is a small and still personal company, Turner says, a company without layers of management. The longevity of crew members — average tenure is nearly a decade — benefits the company in several ways, one being that customers find project crew members credible.

“Nobody wants to listen to some guy who just started doing this two years ago,” Turner says.

Turner’s goal is to continue to retain and develop his crews and to build out the company steadily but surely.

“I am interested in expansion, sure. We are a small operation and take a lot of pride in the work we do. I want to keep focused on what we have here, just keep providing quality boring and drilling services and taking it slow.”

Read more about Turner Underground Installations in the August 2021 issue of Dig Different magazine.


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