Burd passes on a Pendleton fixture

Garry Zollman, left, stands with Larry Burd in front of the Larry Burd Well Drilling office in Pendleton. Zollman took ownership of the business earlier this year. Staff photo by Eric Florip

PENDLETON - Larry Burd recently handed over the reins of his 38-year-old business, Larry Burd Well Drilling. But he's not exactly retired.

"He is our number one consultant,"?said Garry Zollman, Burd's successor and now owner of the business.

In fact, most days you can still find Burd in the company's office, tucked next to a rocky ridge off Lindell Lane in Pendleton's Riverside area.

What started as a humble business without a regular location, Larry Burd Well Drilling has become something of a fixture in Pendleton. The business drills wells ranging from small domestic projects to irrigation systems for farmers. Zollman said he hopes to build off what's already a well-established presence, while adapting for the future.

"It's a big responsibility,"?Zollman said. "I've got to fill (Burd's) shoes, plus stay on top of what's happening."

Zollman isn't a stranger to the business - he's got about three years' experience as a licensed driller. And he's no stranger to his new office, either. Zollman worked as a diesel mechanic for Pendleton Diesel Service when it was located in the same spot.

Though it's long since left, a faded "PENDLETON?DIESEL?SERVICE" sign still sits in a front window.

Zollman and Burd first got acquainted through their work in the 1970s and 1980s. Zollman has owned and passed on three previous businesses during his career, while Burd continued his work with Larry Burd Well Drilling.

For Burd, 74, the future will focus on his work as a machinist, but he said he'll continue to be a regular presence at the Larry Burd Well Drilling office.

Zollman takes over at an uncertain economic time for the business world. And though things have slowed some for his company, it hasn't been enough to change operations as usual, Burd said. The economic downturn of the early 1980s was a tougher time, he added.

"I?didn't have a (drilling) job for three months," Burd said.

Zollman officially took over the company in April. It's now called Zollman's Larry Burd Well Drilling.

For customers, the change of hands won't mean much, Zollman said. He plans to keep the same staff and keep serving its customers in the region.

"We believe that we can make this as successful as anything,"?Zollman said, "and continue the tradition of the Larry Burd Well Drilling name."

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