Students encouraged to ‘think outside the box’

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JAY — Students in Dan Lemieux’s high school robotic and pre-engineering class got a close-up look Monday at some robotic equipment that the Ted Berry Co. Inc. uses to do video pipe inspections.

Jim Timberlake encouraged students to think outside the box and to develop solutions for problems as his company does.

Timberlake, owner of the Livermore company, gave an overview to high school students of what services the company offers to municipalities and industry, and the trenchless technologies it uses.

The company has about $500,000 invested in inspection equipment, Timberlake told students.

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He showed them a small, remote-controlled tractor with six wheels that would have a camera attached to it as it goes through underground pipes.

“We’ve developed a way to do inspections without having people involved,” he said.

Student Travis Sturtevant put on blue gloves to push a cord with an attached camera through a piece of pipe to see items that had been placed at the end of it. Students could watch the equipment’s progress on a screen.

“We’re in a field that there is no school for what we do,” Timberlake said. “You get on-the-job training.”

The company provides much more than video inspections, including trenchless pipe rehabilitation and repair, and cleaning. The company has developed a way to install new pipes underground without digging, he said.

The service area has expanded into most of Maine to northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire over the years.

They have about 40 employees at work every day, Timberlake said.

When customers have unique problems, he said, the company has to invent something to solve it.

“It’s thinking outside the box,” he said. “We hire people who can solve problems.”

The attitude of “’I can’t do that’ doesn’t fly in the business world. The customer will find someone else who can,” he said.

Anybody can buy the equipment, but it’s how you use it after you get it that makes one successful, Timberlake said.

The family-owned business was started in 1972 by Ted Berry, Jim Timberlake’s father-in-law. It initially sold fire equipment and apple orchard sprayers.

It has evolved through the years, and the company no longer sells that equipment, Timberlake said.

“We sell our services and our knowledge,” he said.

Jim said his son, Matt Timberlake, 35, vice president of the company, has incorporated technology into the mix.

Student Dustin Jones said he liked the presentation.

“It is a cool opportunity to do something later in life,” Jones said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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