Fix-it specialist

Scott Carriere founded CarWil in Winnemucca in 1997 with just a pickup truck and a cellular phone.

In 2005 the company, which provides engineering and repair services to large mining equipment such as haul trucks and hydraulic shovels, relocated to a two-acre parcel at Airport Industrial Park with 26 employees.

Today CarWil's payroll is pushing 80 people, and the company has expanded to 18 acres with a 20,000-square-foot shop. It also recently opened a 4,000-square-foot satellite office in Elko to establish a foothold in the booming Elko County market.

Carriere, who owns the company with his wife, Kristin, says CarWil's revenues have grown by 25 percent each of the past few years, a trend that's expected to continue for another three years.

CarWil is poised for even more explosive growth, Scott Carriere says, after he recently earned his contractors license, which allows the company to expand its scope of services. Previously, CarWil engineered solutions to worn out mining equipment and supplied materials to fix problems to its customers, who then had to locate another contactor to do installations.

Examples of the company's market niche include repairing and realigning the liner plates on huge hydraulic shovel buckets, or rebuilding the entire bed chute in a massive ore hauling truck.

"Now we can install solutions," Carriere says. "We can provide a full turnkey solution. This is easier for the customer to deal with just one person through the design, build and install phase. We are very good at installing, and it just expedites return of the complete package for the customer.

"It is our main goal to make things last longer so there is less downtime for the customer," Carriere adds. "That is where we really excel."

Carriere expect to add another dozen employees mostly welders and metal fabricators with the additional services. Finding welders with knowledge of the sticky rules and regulations enforced by the mining industry has been challenging, and Carriere casts a wide net to locate talented help.

The company draws from California, Oregon and Idaho, but its two most recent hires came from the coal mines of West Virginia.

"I spend about 25 percent of my time searching for new employees," Carriere says. "We are getting more people from the East Coast."

At the same time, CarWil also is growing its workforce from within by providing training to unskilled Winnemucca-based employees. But due to the demands of the company's rapid growth curve, Carriere says he can only afford to train so many unskilled workers at any given time. About a quarter of the company's workforce is training to become journey-level welders and fabricators, he says.

"Our customers expect a quality result in a timely manner," he says.

Nevada mining companies have provided much of CarWil's revenues over the past 15 years, but Carriere envisions opening satellite offices in other booming mining districts such as Arizona and Canada.

"Where there is a need we will be there to fill it," he says. "But growing and getting the right people is something you can't do alone once you get as big as we are. Our goal when things are going good is to keep on growing. The mining market has its highs and lows, and we definitely are on a high."

Gold was at its lowest point $287 and ounce when Carriere founded the business in the late 1990s.

"I thought it was a great time to start up," he says. "When times are tough, that is when you repair and you don't have the luxury of buying new. We started doing economical repairs and finding out why things were wearing out and providing solutions to fix it."


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