Unique Employee Tribute Gives Contractor “Mighty” Reputation Boost

The tradition of naming tunnel boring machines dates back to the earliest days of the tunneling industry, although it’s unclear exactly when and how it started. In fact, many contractors and joint ventures often launch public naming contests, which is a powerful public relations tactic. Dedicating a drilling rig to a deceased employee; however, is rare. Don’t believe it? Type “dedicating drilling rig” into Google and you’ll see that my latest story, which we’re about to discuss, is second in the sparse search results.

My first objective is to share this story because it’s a unique and an idea that will hopefully inspire other heavy construction companies. My second goal is to demonstrate how a genuine move by a contractor unintentionally resulted in a “mighty” reputation boost.

The Abridged Story

The gist of the story is that a Goettle, Inc. employee named Joe “Goob” Gruber was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident at the young age of 40. He had dedicated nearly 20 years to the contractor as a lead mechanic and foundation equipment expert.

Adding another layer to the story was the fact that Goob was one of two Goettle employees that spec’d out the BAUER BG 45 Drilling Rig and sadly never got to see it delivered. Team Goettle was devastated by the loss and came together to memorialize Joe by dedicating it to his memory. The rig, they decided, would be branded with a custom logo reflecting its new identity: “Mighty Joe”.

How The Story Was Uncovered

It’s important to note that Goettle did not seek publicity or any form of recognition, nor is the company a customer of Fraley Construction Marketing. With that said, this was a classy move and they deserve the recognition.

It all started with a LinkedIn post for our customer Equipment Corporation of America (ECA), which sold Goettle the BAUER BG 45 Drilling Rig. Within three days, it received more than 100 likes. The post currently has 326 likes, 4 comments, and 15,388 impressions. And it’s not done yet. This represents one of ECA’s best performing LinkedIn posts to date.

The original post then turned into a story request from my friends at ADSC-IAFD’s Foundation Drilling Magazine. Luckily, ECA agreed and I was fortunate enough to work with Goettle to make it happen. Click here to read the original story. The manufacturer, BAUER Maschinen then posted the article on its website, and it was then picked up by GeoDrilling International. There’s a good chance it will continue to spread.

An Unintended Reputation Boost

So why did this story provide such a reputation boost and what can you learn from it? For one, dedicating Mighty Joe to Goob was authentic. People often see through marketing ploys, and we appreciate sentiment and actions that we believe to be real.

Secondly, every company claims that it values its employees, but some don’t practice what they preach. In addition to the naming of the rig, posts like this one from Goettle made it clear that the company’s sense of loss was genuine.

Last but not least, the contractor agreed to cooperate on the story, but never sought publicity. The sentiment and the story were so powerful that others in the industry did it for them.

The main takeaway here is that the most powerful reputation builders are not intentional marketing efforts. When you operate with authenticity and integrity and practice what you preach, your company’s story will become contagious. R.I.P. Mighty Joe.

What is the most moving tribute you’ve seen to a living or deceased employee? Please share the story here.

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