Henry DeBoer Sr., second from left, with family-member employees. (Christine Carignan)
When Henry DeBoer Sr. arrived back stateside after serving in the Marine Corp, he was living out of his car and figuring out what to do to support himself. “I grew up in a fairly poor family,” DeBoer says. “I knew I would need to get into the trades. I was not going to college.”
He ended up landing a job with a well company in Windham, where he worked for eight years learning the industry before deciding to set up his own company. And Epping Well and Pump Co. has been a true family affair from the beginning with DeBoer securing funding from his father and then father-in-law. DeBoer has steadily grown his business to serving 35,000 customers primarily within a 35-mile radius of its two locations in Epping and Pittsfield. The company launched an in-house testing lab in 1995 and in 2015 bought Seacoast Analytical Services to provide more robust certified testing services.
“I had nothing and had nothing to lose,” DeBoer says of starting his company. “I developed a relationship with every customer… We take care of people. When people have no water on Christmas Day, there is a crew available and dispatched.”
While 11 of Epping Well and Pump’s 30 employees are family members, DeBoer says he considers all his employees to be family. “It’s not just the dedication of our people who work here but their families as well,” he says, noting water emergencies mean his employees work odd hours and in some of the hottest and coldest weather. “It takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication.”
And being related to the boss doesn’t get you any shortcuts. “No one can be put in a position they are not qualified for. Just because you’re family doesn’t mean there’s a job. Everyone starts at the bottom and works up to a position based on their strengths,” DeBoer says. As for the future, DeBoer says it is possible the company will become employee owned.