By Valarie Johnson | Nov 01, 2013
Waterblast cleaning technology
StoneAge and CEO Kerry Siggins Blast through the naysayers to put Durango MFG on the map
Once told she lacked the experience to serve as key player for another company in Durango, now, Kerry Siggins, CEO of Durango’s StoneAge waterblast company, stands at the helm of the $25 million dollar company.
“We are now known as the go-to company for waterblast solutions,” says Siggins. “No one else solely focuses on tools and accessories like we do in the waterblast cleaning industry.”
StoneAge provides high-pressure, waterblast solutions in the areas of surface preparation, pipe cleaning, tube lancing, vessel and tank cleaning, rotary coupling, and nozzles and fittings. “I like to say that we make squirt guns on steroids at StoneAge,” says Siggins.
There's history in the company name. In 1979, in a dusty old garage, two young men, Jerry Zink and John Wolgamott, worked to develop an idea into a viable tool. They met while working for a Colorado university think tank and soon collaborated to design a tool worth pitching to the mining industry. The first StoneAge tool was a hand-held waterjet drill used by uranium miners to drill holes in rocks rather than blasting, hence the name, StoneAge. “Our founders wanted to have a name that represents the earth and honor their backgrounds,” says Siggins.
StoneAge is now recognized as a world leader in providing tools and equipment for waterblast cleaning, and the garage has been replaced by a modern, well-equipped facility in Durango. Those same two men help guide the company in the development of new and better tools, but they are now part of a larger team that has grown to provide comprehensive engineering, manufacturing and engineering service capabilities.
Siggins leadership has been an integral component in that growth after joining the team in January of 2007. She has been instrumental in building StoneAge’s global presence and distribution network. Siggins was named one of Colorado’s Top 25 Most Influential Young Professionals and she is very involved in several Colorado and Durango based economic development groups.
Her passion lies not only in organizational and leadership development; she also likes to focus on customers and employees. StoneAge is 100% employee owned,” says Siggins. “We have an engaged workforce because they are owners of the company. It is a great way to build a culture within the company that matters.”
In terms of being a Colorado-centric manufacturing business, Siggins sees advantages to their location. “Although Durango is not a very big manufacturing community, it is a great place to live and work, says Siggins. “We are on a mesa and snowy roads can pose some problems. But we have worked to overcome that with some hot-shot companies, and it is totally worth it to be able to live and work here.”
“Durango is a great place for Colorado businesses, says Siggins. “I believe in economic development and to have a vibrant community and state, we really have to have it. I want my son (who is a toddler) to be able to come back and live and work here after college.”
Challenges: Creating more complex systems poses the biggest obstacle for StoneAge. “Our biggest challenge is the fact that our industry is changing and requiring safer and more automated systems,” says Siggins. “We have to change our processes and our organizational structure.”
Opportunities: Siggins sees the prospect of becoming a leader not only in the waterblast tool industry but in waterblast equipment industry, especially in the automated areas. “We see the biggest opportunity in becoming the industry leader in the automated equipment space and not just with tools,” says Siggins.
Needs: “We need to develop strategic relationships with true-end users,” says Siggins. “They are driving the hands-free automation movement and we need to have relationships with them.”