ABOUT THE PROJECT
Tim and Heather Van Barriger started Drill It Underground with Tim’s father in 2017 to provide underground boring services for utility and other construction projects. Today their services have expanded to include underground splicing, cable location, aerial communications cabling, testing and horizontal directional boring services, allowing them to provide an in-house turnkey product for their customers.
They worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Waubonsee Community College when they started the process of purchasing the business in 2020. It was then that they learned of the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center (FVEC) accelerator program. The SBDC helped them prepare their pitch and they were accepted.
FVEC and Graydon Management assisted them with completing the acquisition and started working on an aggressive growth strategy.
“Our family business started off with organic growth, but I knew we had the potential to grow faster,” said Tim. “Transitioning from organic growth to high growth required us to both think and act differently.”
To start with, they applied for certification as a veteran owned business. Tim focused on growing the field operations, while Heather managed the finances and office operations.
“I really didn’t know what I didn’t know,” said Tim. We focused on developing policies and procedures for everything we do. We also formalized our overall management structure and wrote formal job descriptions for everyone. We were growing very quickly and needed to structure our business to handle that growth.”
Part of their strategic growth plan included re-branding and renaming the company to target new markets. They launched as Terrazon Group in January 2022.
Terrazon has since acquired another company, grown revenue by 11x and employees by 5x.
“We needed to invest in ourselves, and Graydon Management taught us how to do that,” said Heather.
“Graydon brought contacts to the table that have been critical in helping us grow.”
“Now I think like a CEO rather than just a driller,” Tim acknowledged. I know what I’m not good at, and I empower other people in the company to fill those gaps. We have a vision for continued growth, and now we have a foundation that I know will support that growth.”