May 2022 Vol. 77 No. 5


Manufacturing Background Leads Arrow to Contracting Success

Jeff Griffin | Senior Editor 

It seemed clear that the time was right. 

Eric Acton and Preston Renfro had worked for Tesmec USA for 15 combined years. They knew the Tesmec line of trenchers and each model’s capabilities, and they knew how to operate and maintain them. 

They also knew the markets in which the machines were used and personally knew many of the people at the companies in these markets. 

In 2018, the two men stepped away from the manufacturing side to the contractor side, establishing Arrow Trenching. The plan was to keep things simple by specializing in digging trench for oil and gas lines. 

“In the beginning,” said Acton, “we limited work to digging trench for clients, renting equipment while we built the company and established our reputation with our customers. At that time, we were running two trenchers – a Tesmec 1075 and a Vermeer T655. 

“A combination of back-to-back projects helped us establish ourselves with our clients and it got our name out to new potential customers.” 

By 2019, the company was in a position to purchase equipment that the partners believed would help the company grow and better serve its customers. The company purchased a Tesmec 1150 and Tesmec M5. 

Then, in 2020, the pandemic arrived. 


With the pandemic and other market factors, Acton said Arrow Trenching diversified into wind and solar work, while maintaining relationships with customers in oil and gas. 

Acton explained that for Arrow’s part in projects, there’s not much difference for either wind, solar or oil and gas customers, except the widths and depths of trench and the allowable tolerances of different trenches. 

“On a pipeline project,” he continued, “the digging is from point A to point B along a detailed route set forth by the client. On a wind project, there are multiple trenches on different routes, all leading back to a substation. A map of the trenches would look like a family tree template, with branches of trenches in different directions. 

“On a solar project, the site location is confined to the size of the solar farm, and all of the trenches are running side by side in straight lines parallel to each other.” 

Arrow Trenching has grown and expanded into new markets, but its business focus remains digging trench with trenchers for its customers. It does not handle what goes in the trench or make connections to pipes that are installed. 

The company works regionally, primarily in Texas and New Mexico, and also has completed projects in Oklahoma and Arizona. 

“We are open to job opportunities wherever they may be, “Acton said. 


Keeping Arrow’s focus on trenching, he explained that the primary contractor manages all other aspects of the job – manholes, bores, line crossing, installation and backfill. 

“Pipe range from diameters of 4 to 30 inches is installed in the work that we provide for oil, natural gas and water,” he said. Widths range from 24 inches to 42 inches and depths from 4 to 8 feet.” 

For wind farm work, trench is excavated to the tower and from the tower to substations. 

“Wind and solar cable is direct buried, not put in a pipe or conduit,” Acton pointed out. “Trench widths vary from 18 to 24 inches with an average depth of 4 feet. Equipment uses different size chains for the smaller widths of trenches.” 

Challenging projects completed include the company’s first large pipeline that was 63 miles long, he commented. Others were trenching for a wind farm project through the rolling hills of Oklahoma and trenching in some of the hardest rock company crews ever encountered in Arizona. 

“No matter what the challenge is,” said Acton, “we always find a way to push through it and come out the other side stronger and ready for the next challenge.” 


Today, Arrow owns five trenchers and is anticipating expanding operations. Equipment ranges from 90,000-pound weight class to 160,000-pound weight class for trench widths from 18 to 42 inches. All are digging chain type machines. 

“We have owned a variety of brands of trenchers,” said Acton, “but we have stayed true to what got us into this business, Tesmec. My partner and I worked for Tesmec before venturing off to start our own business, so we know the machines well, what they are capable of, and how they were built.” 

Arrow Trenching is based in Andrews, Texas, located in West Texas on the border with New Mexico, approximately 110 miles southwest of Lubbock and 35 miles northwest of the Midland-Odessa area. 

Acton said the company provides customers with high-quality service, and the right equipment and dedicated personnel to get jobs done on time, the first time. 

Looking back, Renfro said he believes it is the partners’ knowledge of trencher manufacturing and understanding of the importance of proper service that gave them an edge when starting their business. 

“We knew the equipment and how to keep it in good repair and running,” said Renfro. 

“Trenching can be demanding, and equipment must be operating properly to be productive. Our experience and knowledge have helped us do that. We also outfit our company trucks with necessary tools and supplies. Personnel in the Arrow family receive continuing training on equipment operation and maintenance.” • 


Tesmec USA, (800) 851-5102, 

Arrow Trenching, (254)394-2447, 

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