John Archambeault, an industry expert is retiring after 28 years with McLaughlin. He was regional manager for the Midwest where he established himself and McLaughlin a lasting reputation. He was steadfast through the good and the bad times –but through and through John proved himself, to his customers and dealers, as the go to guy for any and all of their needs. During his retirement party it was said many times that no matter the hour or day they could always rely on John to answer. Nicknamed, “Visor” John Archambeault the man, the myth, the legend took some time to provide insight on his time in the industry along and the great friendships he has made over the years with the Vermeer dealers and customers across the country.

What are industry trends you have noticed over the past 30 years working in the underground? 

The 2 biggest trends would be HDD and Vacuums. These two technologies have gone from being an early concept or specialty method to being the industry standard or expectation for utility installations.  For years I could see the underground industry trying to find new ways to install utilities with lower impact and disruption as well as increased productivity and the quality of installations. It has been great to be a part of the training and technology advancements in Vacuum Excavation and HDD over the past 28 years and am excited to see where the future takes these technologies

Where do you see the future of vacuum excavation?

With most utilities being put underground, and such a huge focus on “safe digging” the future will see a steady growth in vacuum excavation. More utilities, gas companies and stake holders are specifying Vacuum excavation to expose their utilities before performing any underground excavation, trenching, boring or directional drilling.

What about air excavation? The ability to reuse the spoil – do you think that will gain popularity?

In certain parts of the country air works well with the smaller CFM units. The larger CFM units with 6” or 8” hoses can excavate well with air in North America. McLaughlin’s new VX series with 6” hosing will answer the air problem encountered in North America.

What do dealers value most and look for in a great factory sales rep?

Number 1 has to be product knowledge. Dealers will come to rely on a rep that can teach their people (service, sales and parts) about the type of equipment the rep sells.  Being the expert with respect to product applications, operational training, service and maintenance and foremost safely operating the equipment. Communication is and having a true personal relationship with the dealers and customers is critical.  Constant communication with the manager, sales mgr., sales people, service and parts. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” holds very true.

What in your opinion are some tips/tricks to keeping a good open line of communication with your dealers.

The technical age is here to stay. Calling certain sales people is a no no. I really feel emails and texts work well with all of my customers. Staying in contact is one thing, but they do need to see a face.

What is your favorite McLaughlin product/product line and why?

I think all McLaughlin products are my favorites. The fact that when using our products, the satisfaction I get when the job has been successfully completed is GREAT! When using a utility locator and finding a certain line, marking the line, and then exposing by vacuum excavation the exact spot is a good rush. The same when auger boring or piercing tools, and the bore comes out perfect.

What is the funniest/best story you have from working in the industry?

There many memories (some I cannot share). I will have to think about this for a bit and get back to you.

During John’s retirement party surrounded by friends, family, dealers, and coworkers many GREAT stories were shared-many about his time on the road or on a jobsite- regardless everyone who shared a memory with John couldn’t help but say what a reliable, loyal and honorable man John was. After the speeches, toasts and laughs were completed he admitted that his retirement party very well could be one of his best stories.

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