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Fleet-management firm, Crosshair, looks to grow

By Journal Staff

Date:

VESTAL — In the year since it was formed, Crosshair Consultants, LLC has built up a steady business within the natural-gas industry in Pennsylvania. With drilling a possibility on the horizon in New York, the Vestal–based company is looking to grow its business locally.

Crosshair is a management-consultant firm specializing in federal Department of Transportation (DOT) safety and compliance issues. From overseeing records to inspecting trucks, the company works with its clients to make sure trucking fleets are safe.

“That’s kind of a niche for us,” company co-owner Garrett Guiles says. The natural-gas industry, which relies heavily on trucks, was a perfect market for the company to pursue, he notes.

Crosshair Consultants is currently working with a large natural-gas company, which it declined to name, to evaluate the trucking fleets with which the gas-company subcontracts. 

“We evaluate every single commercial vehicle they have that goes on their sites,” Roderick Reid, a senior consultant at Crosshair, says of the gas company. The evaluations seek out both mechanical defects with the vehicle and driver deficiencies, he says.

As a result of those evaluations, over the past year Crosshair has helped that natural-gas firm reduce the number of violations per truck by 47 percent and has cut the out-of-service rate (time a truck is off the road due to mechanical or other defects) to about 10 percent. The national average, Reid notes, is 20 percent.

Those improvements boost the overall safety rating for the gas company, increase profitability by reducing fines and out-of-service times, and help provide communities the trucks travel through with some peace of mind, Reid adds.

In New York, Crosshair Consultants has been working with construction companies and contractors, providing the same fleet-management services, Guiles says. But the real growth for his business would come from natural-gas drilling in New York, he adds.

Currently, large-scale drilling is on hold as the state wrestles with the issue of hydrofracking — a process that uses sand, water, and chemicals to release natural-gas deposits from the surrounding shale. The state has a moratorium against hydrofracking in place as the Department of Environmental Conservation works to sort out issues surrounding the safety of the process. In the meantime, new legislation was introduced in May seeking to extend the hydrofracking moratorium until July 2013.

“If New York were to open the gates and be a little more welcoming, we’d see a lot of benefits,” Guiles says. Obviously, his company would benefit. He expects he’d double his revenue and need to double his current staff of 10.

Like it or not, the natural-gas industry is creating jobs and boosting otherwise stagnant economies, he says. “The natural-gas industry is the primary reason we were able to return to the Southern Tier and start a company,” he explains.

That said, Guiles also agrees with those that say the industry needs to be safe and regulated. In many cases, he says, gas companies are proactive about issues — ranging from dust control to road maintenance — in order to ward off complaints.

While it waits for the hydrofracking issue to sort out, Guiles says his company is staying busy in Pennsylvania and also working to land more customers in New York. Companies operating unsafe trucks face an array of penalties, he says. Fines can start at $150, but can range as high as $15,000 or $20,000 if a company must undergo an internal audit by the DOT. Add in the loss of income on top of that whenever trucks are deemed unsafe to be in service, and it really adds up, he says.

 “Proactive is better than being reactive, and it’s less costly,” Guiles says.

Crosshair Consultants (www.crosshairconsultingny.com), founded by Guiles and a silent co-partner a year ago, offers fleet evaluations and analysis, data assessment, safety-management programs, management training, and comprehensive company analyses. The company is located at 120 Plaza Drive in Vestal.  

 

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