Sage Oil Vac: 10 Years in the Land Down Under

July 09, 2018

Perth, Australia is one of the world’s most isolated capital cities. Home to over 2 million people, Perth is famous for its capital wealth and extravagant beaches. Australia is the world’s top exporter of iron ore, gas and gold, most of which is found in Western Australia. Thus, it was once said Perth was home to more self-made billionaires than any other city in the world.

Amarillo, Texas, is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle. Home to approximately 200,000 people, Amarillo was once the self-proclaimed “Helium Capital of the World” for having one of America’s most productive helium fields. Each year thousands upon thousands of travelers driving along U.S. Highway 66 stop off at the Big Texan Steak Ranch to watch would-be heroes take on the legendary 72 oz Steak Challenge.

In other words, these two places couldn’t be more different. One connection is the Sage Oil Vac system. For over 10 years, Sage Oil Vac equipment has crossed the Pacific Ocean en route to Oil Vac Australia, where manager Jon Lamb and his team provide superior maintenance solutions for a variety of industries such as agriculture, construction and mining.

But how did this partnership come to be? Well, with a 13-hour time difference and a five- to seven-week lead time on product shipments, it didn’t happen overnight. Through a series of marketing partnerships, Sage Oil Vac founder Gary Sage and current CEO Aaron Sage met with Colin Wootton and Ron Kossen in 2002 to talk business. The latter two own and operate OIL and Energy PTY LTD, a company that hosts one of Australia’s most comprehensive lubricants distribution portfolios. So, they know a thing or two about the lube exchange process. “Resource extraction and mining are significant contributors to Australia’s economy — iron ore and coal are by far the largest exports,” explained Aaron Sage. “With big mining operations comes heavy-duty mining equipment like bulldozers, excavators and loaders; that meant there was a need for our fluid exchange system whether they knew it yet or not.”

After a few years of relationship building, Wootton and Kossen were ready to bring the Sage Oil Vac systems to Australia. After all, what better way to gain more oil customers than to also offer a premier lubricant exchange system?

In 2008, Lamb was sent to Texas in order to become an expert on Sage Oil Vac equipment, gaining the knowledge and expertise needed to set up shop in Australia.

“I’ll never forget when I met with Gary Sage for the first time; he said to me: ‘This will be the hardest thing you will ever sell,’” Lamb recalled. “And Gary was right. Most of our competitors use the old-fashioned pump systems and that was all that our customers knew. Using compressed air instead of a pump was a new idea for our customers, so it took some convincing.”

Lamb put in a lot of time on the ground setting up demonstrations with his connections in the mining industry — and his perseverance paid off. He said his focus on the health, safety and environmental factors, coupled with the general time-savings benefits of Sage Oil Vac equipment, really hit home with his customer base. Plus, Aaron gave him a little added motivation.

“Aaron made the commitment to me that if I could sell 100 units, he would buy me a pair of Beck cowboy boots which are made in Amarillo,” Lamb said.

The 100-unit goal was surpassed nearly five years ago. To date, Lamb has sold close to 250 Sage Oil Vac units. His biggest product sellers are LubeBuilder systems, trailers and skids.

The Oil Vac Australia customer base includes a broad spectrum of industries. Their units are now being used by world-leading oil and gas resource companies such as BHP, Rio Tinto, Glencore; service and equipment supply companies such as Coates Hire, WesTrac, Cummins South Pacific and Komatsu Australia; and by local farmers who perform their own agricultural equipment maintenance.

“Over here, people do like to work with their own people to create their custom service trucks, so I often work with about nine or 10 custom fabrication companies to create Sage Oil Vac and make sure they get their Lubebuilder kits to set everything up,” Lamb explained. “The Sage Oil Vac systems have proven themselves to be faster, safer and especially cleaner, time and time again. It might have been a hard sell at first, like Gary said, but now it’s much easier now that people are more aware of the brand.”

As for the boot wager, Aaron was more than happy to come across with a nice pair of Becks to celebrate the accomplishment.

“Jon earned those boots tenfold — Oil Vac Australia’s success comes from his ability to relate to the customers through his hands-on knowledge, and through his demonstrations showing the equipment’s application adaptability,” Aaron said. “He has tremendous credibility with some of the largest mining operations on the planet. I have always said that Jon knows the Sage Oil Vac product and can demonstrate it just as well as Gary Sage or any other principal at Sage Oil Vac.”

If you’re interested in becoming a Sage Oil Vac dealer in your area, please contact Sage Oil Vac for more information.