Watco Tanks, Inc.
Quality you can see
Business View Magazine interviews David Watson, President, and Jason Holland, Sales Manager, of Watco Tanks, Inc., for our focus on Steel Tank Fabrication
Watco Tanks was the #1 tank producer for total gallons for all of STI technologies in the United States for 2019. Year after year Watco Tanks is consistently in the conversation as one of the largest STI producers in the United States, 2019 was no exception. Steel Tank Institute (STI) tracks the total number of gallons sold and the total number of tanks sold. Watco Tanks was also the #1 ACT-100® gallon producer in the World and the # 1 Permatank® gallon producer in the United States. As far as the total number of tanks sold, Watco Tanks was the 7th largest STI manufacturer in the World.
Since its homegrown beginnings in 1964, Watco Tanks, Inc. has become a leader in the building of shop welded UL and API Type Storage tanks. A third-generation, family-owned company, Watco Tanks is focused on delivering a quality product at an affordable price. Watco Tanks has excelled in steel tank fabrication by combining the most up-to-date equipment with its highly skilled and experienced workforce. With over 50 years of experience, Watco Tanks has extensive knowledge to meet the demands of customers and holds its products and services to the highest standard.
David Watson, President of Watco Tanks and grandson to the founder, speaks to the history of the company, “My grandfather, James Watson, started the business by buying a load of steel, building a tank, and driving it around in the oil field until he sold it. He would repeat this for several years until my dad, Wally Watson, came into the business in 1967. Upon graduation of college, Wally was just coming home for a visit on his way to California for a job opportunity. He decided to stop and help for a few days, which resulted in his tenure at Watco Tanks lasting 50 years. Together, my grandfather and my dad primarily built Oil Field tanks through the 1970s. In the mid-1980s, Watco joined the STI and started building aboveground and underground fuel storage tanks. I came on the scene in 1997.”
Today, Watco has about 50 employees in a single location in Floresville, just outside San Antonio, Texas. Over the years, Watco has supplied storage tanks all across the country and overseas. Some of their most notable tanks went to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the country of Mongolia, along with numerous airports across the country. Watson admits, “freight cost is our biggest logistics challenge.” Hence, they typically stick to Texas, Louisana, and the surrounding states.
Jason Holland, Watco Tanks Sales Manager, explains, “We typically sell to our preferred distributors, which are usually members of the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI). They handle equipment and installation for the end-users’ fuel needs. Our team has the background and knowledge to understand the necessary quality and engineering that goes into each steel storage tank that we fabricate. Newer companies don’t have that. Our longevity in the industry and the fact that we’ve been building up customer relationships for over 50 years has established us as a preferred manufacturer in the petroleum equipment industry.”
Watco Tanks has a distinctive advantage over the competition – quality. Watco Tanks is one of a handful of world-wide companies with 20 straight years of earning the STI quality award. The quality award is subject to 6 unannounced inspections a year. The inspectors look at every aspect of the building, welding, coating, and paperwork process. To pass the yearly quality award, a company cannot have a single negative mark against the product during the inspection. Watson reflects, “I remember my father telling me as a kid, ‘when you are dealing with quality, the only acceptable grade is 100%.’ Watco Tanks has followed that motto ever since its beginning. I always heard, we may not be as big as some companies, but when it comes to quality, we will stand second to none.” Holland adds, “One of the benefits of having the quality award for 20 straight years, is the confidence our customers have in knowing we have fine-tuned our quality tracking method. So when a tank leaves our shop, it has virtually eliminated all tank problems at the job site. However, when a problem does arise, we have built an established reputation for knowing how to handle situations at the job sites. And when a customer needs help, we will always have a Watco Tanks representative on-site to assist.”
Quality and reputation are what separates Watco Tanks from the competition. Holland acknowledges, “Right now, the main focus is taking care of our current customers. We want to make sure our customer service stays at the highest level. For us, growing is something we’re ready to take on whenever we feel the timing is correct. It is all about finding a strategy that will better take care of our customers. This has helped us build good relationships – we are a good working partner, we have a good network of customers. People like to know that they can do business with us on a local or national level and still feel the comfort that they’re getting the top of the line product with low downtimes and upstream capabilities. We cater to all markets – mid, upper, and lower. Our shop is capable of producing high-quality products at an affordable price. Watco Tanks is still growing, and with that comes new technologies, advanced manufacturing operations, and reaching new markets where we see possibilities as a good business partner. The sky is the limit as we build on the capital investment of taking care of our customers’ growing demand.”
AT A GLANCE
Watco Tanks, Inc.
What: Leader in steel tank fabrication
Where: Floresville, Texas