Brady site stays put; drivers hit the road
One of the city’s largest trucking companies plans to keep the doors open at its Grand Junction office, but most of the drivers and mechanics who once worked there must now rotate into the schedule at other branches if they want to continue working full time, Brady Trucking officials said Wednesday.
A dramatic drop in demand for contract services from natural gas producers since October precipitated the worker transfers, officials said.
Brady, located at 356 27 1/2 Road, predicts that at least another year must pass before natural gas production in the Piceance Basin might return to levels that would allow it to fully staff the Grand Junction branch, officials said.
The Brady forecast takes into account a recent announcement from WPX Energy about plans to expand investment in the Piceance Basin, officials said.
Production of liquids, on the other hand, is booming in other areas of the nation and state, giving Grand Junction employees a chance to continue working elsewhere.
“First and foremost, we have no intention of leaving Grand Junction,” said Chuck Johnson, Brady Trucking vice president and general manager. “We are in the community. We intend to stay in the community. We have customers outside of oil and gas that are expecting us to continue to provide them with service. For those reasons, we’re going to stay right where we’re at, and operate, although with a much smaller crew.”
About 45 Brady Trucking employees took the opportunity extended them to rotate into schedules at other locations around the country in order to keep full-time hours, Johnson said.
Eight continue to work out of the Grand Junction office, he said.
Despite the schedule and workplace changes, about 53 affected employees and their families continue to live in and around the city, he said.
Brady payroll injects more than $3 million into the Mesa County economy each year, Johnson said.
Brady’s long court battle to secure rights to develop real property it owns near its current offices in the 300 block of 27 1/2 Road delayed plans to build replacement offices.
Now those plans are on hold again, but Brady intends to eventually develop the site, Johnson said.
In a January newsletter to employees, Johnson described a bright future for the company.
“There is a renewed sense of excitement in several market areas. We are also looking at expansion into some new markets; specifically the DJ Basin and Northern Niobrara regions, as well as the Southern Front Range of Colorado,” Johnson wrote.
The company has ordered 28 new trucks and an additional 20 or more will be ordered as needed, he wrote.