The Kadant Johnson Services’ Road Warrior: An Interview with Charlie Sammons
The Kadant Johnson Services team lives on the road installing and servicing dryer equipment. I recently sat down with Charlie Sammons, service supervisor and road warrior of 24 years. I wanted to understand a day-in-the-life of the Kadant Johnson Services team. What I found out was how much the team is focused on safety and service in an environment that offers challenging conditions and long hours.
CB: What type of work does the Kadant Johnson Services team do?
CS: We’re well known for our rotary joint and syphon repairs and installations, but we also offer NDT testing of dryer cans, dryer inspections, and dryer cleaning.
CB: What is it that customers most value from Kadant Johnson Services?
CS: I would have to say our knowledge of the equipment, our dedication to safety, and performing the best service possible.
CB: So, what is a day-in-the-life of the Kadant Johnson Services team?
CS: Our typical day starts before daylight and ends at night to say the least. Most jobs we work 12 hours or more at a time. The environment is challenging. It’s hot, dirty, dark, and loud at times.
CB: How long have you been in the field, and what has changed since you started?
CS: I’ve been in the field for almost 25 years. There have been many changes since I started. Paper machines are running faster and more efficiently, but safety would probably be the biggest change I’ve seen. There was a time when you could walk into any given mill and guys would be working with no PPE (personal protective equipment). The equipment has come a long way as well.
CB: How important is safety in what you do, and how do you approach it?
CS: Safety is very important to our team. Working in paper mills has inherent risks, but we look out for each other and stay on top of safety, as well as safety training. We start our mornings with a safety conversation with the entire group. If we see a problem, we address it, whether it’s one of our guys, another contractor, or a mill employee.
CB: You’ve worked thousands of jobs, what’s the most interesting one?
CS: I would have to say rebuilding two paper machines in Florida. We successfully rebuilt both machines at the same time; replacing and upgrading all the rotary joints, syphons, and turbulator bars. With close to 30 guys we did all the work in 10 days and had no leaks on the equipment during startup.
CB: I understand you’ve just had your 10th child, how do you manage life on the road?
CS: I have an amazing wife who makes it easy.