Oracle Elevator discusses what’s attractive about the region and how its presence there will lead to further growth.
Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Oracle Elevator provides maintenance, repair and modernization for OEM vertical- transportation (VT) equipment. The company has been growing, acquiring companies throughout the South — most recently in Atlanta (ELEVATOR WORLD, December 2018) — and opening its technology and training center in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (EW, May 2018). EW caught up with Oracle Director of Acquisitions Craig Jones (CJ), whose recent travels included a visit to the new Texas facility, to talk about Oracle’s plans in the South and beyond.
EW: How is it going with the new technology center?
CJ: Very well. We are collecting and cataloging circuit boards from our field offices. We have more than 10,000 boards in stock. We are repairing solid-state drives and motor starters, which has resulted in fantastic savings for the company. We are building our staff of technicians, trainers and technical writers, as well as a team that will manage large modernization projects and procurement. [In early July] the staff [stood] at 17 and counting. We are conducting training classes on competitors’ equipment and [as of early July, had] trained more than 60 technicians.
EW: The company has acquired at least five companies in the past year or so in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Texas. What is attractive about companies in the South?
CJ: Oracle was born of an acquisition in Florida 16 years ago, and expanded through organic growth and acquisitions in the years following. Atlanta was a strategic acquisition for us in a key market that filled a hole in our footprint. Our acquisitions and growth in Texas will allow us to support our western expansion strategy.
Oracle will now start to expand our footprint outside of the South — into the North and West — so we can become a viable alternative to the multinational elevator companies. We have a number of national accounts that are encouraging us to expand into new markets so we can serve more of their facilities.
EW: What Southern cities are your busiest, and what does the work primarily consist of?
CJ: Each market is unique, of course. However, Oracle is becoming known for our work in large facilities like universities, hospitals and transit facilities because of our flexibility and commitment to the customer. We are a trusted partner for escalator and moving-walk maintenance, an area that many independents shy away from and the multinationals have dominated for a long time. We bring a new approach to escalator and moving-walk maintenance that is allowing our customers to experience more uptime and longer equipment life.
Facilities like the Miami International Airport, South Florida Regional Transit Authority, Dallas Area Regional Transit and a number of retailers with escalators have chosen us for maintenance. Our ability to flexibly staff universities and customer facilities for key events like holidays, move-ins and game days is something that our customers really appreciate. Along with our maintenance approach that prolongs equipment life and uptimes, they see a real return on investment from our mutual partnerships.
EW: What is your outlook for the Southern U.S. VT market over the next five years, and what will be the primary business drivers?
CJ: Oracle believes the outlook is good. Trends continue to show that more people and companies are relocating from other areas of the U.S. to the South. Southern cities continue to outperform the growth rates of other U.S. geographies. This is a strong indicator for the health of the VT market for new installation, as well as modernization and maintenance opportunities, for years to come.