You Know the Drill: Hard Work Pays Off
Tina M. Peters’ philosophy is a simple one: make an honest living and treat people the way she wants to be treated. Her strong work ethic was passed down from her grandfather and father. She says working hard to give clients the best service she can is what has gotten her to where she is today, which is pretty far.
A drilling industry professional for 24 years, Peters started her own business, Mallard Inc., two decades ago. The company, based in Bonifay, Fla., serves Florida and Georgia mostly, but takes on jobs in the wider Southeast region. Services offered include but are not limited to soil, groundwater and surface water sampling and monitoring; site assessments and remediation; geotechnical drilling; and vapor extraction well installation.
A woman business owner in a male-dominated industry, Peters says in her early days it was hard to be taken seriously. While she sees women making great strides in the drilling community, she still considers it a “good ole boy” dominated industry. Her approach is to let her knowledge and skills, rather than words, speak for her. “Most subcontractors pull up and ask for the boss when they see me. I enjoy the look on their faces when I tell them it’s me,” Peters says.
Her advice for other women aspiring to make a career out of drilling is to never let competition intimidate them, learn everything they can and use their knowledge to work smarter than the men.
Q. What do you do and what keeps you coming back every day?
A. I do just about everything. I keep coming back because I truly love what I do. I still get excited looking at the soil we bring up, and the sounds and smells of a smooth-running drill rig just make me happy. I never know what is beneath the surface, so even though I may be drilling for several days in a row, it is always different.
Q. What does a typical workday involve?
A. I start off walking and feeding/watering my labs, then finish loading up the last minute stuff, like my computer, meters, dog treats and the pups, then travel to wherever and get to work as soon as I get on site. I tackle whatever the scope is for that project or day, and then start on paperwork when I get home or to the hotel. I make and return phone calls and emails in the evenings, unless it is something urgent that I have to deal with on site. I try to keep everyone focused and safe on site. There are a million things happening at once, so honestly, few of my days are typical. I end the same way I started, taking care of the pups. They are great supervisors and deserve the best I can give them.
Q. What does it take to succeed in what you do?
A. It takes hard work, perseverance and a very thick skin. You cannot let your feelings play a very big part in business. You get told no more times than yes and it is not easy to keep getting back up, but you have to.
Q. What do you wish you knew when you started?
A. I wish I had known how competitive and cutthroat the industry can be.
Q. What tool can you not imagine working without?
A. An Estwing three-pound hammer. Seriously, for me it is like duct tape and WD-40 is for most people. If it is loose, hit it; if it is tight, hit it.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. Follow my gut instincts and, whatever I do, make sure I can still look myself in the mirror at the end of the day.
Q. How would you describe the present state of the industry?
A. The environmental side of things is in a scary place. We are so far behind when it comes to making our environment safe and repairing years of abuse. Funding for environmental work is so tight that honest contractors are being pushed out of business and some contractors are tempted to, or actually do, take short cuts to turn a profit. Safety is often skimped on and unless things change soon, our soil and water won’t be safe for us.