Dredging & Marine Construction

Martin Instrument and WDS Merge to Form AllTerra Central

Longtime survey equipment providers Martin Instrument and Western Data Systems (WDS) merged on January 17, and are doing business as AllTerra Central, headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Martin Instrument co-owners Bobby Hempfling and Mike Minick signed the merger agreement with WDS owners Wendy and Michael Hefer.

AllTerra Central will continue to provide sales of both new and used equipment, service centers to repair equipment, and rental/leasing services to industries and municipalities. Additionally, it will operate the most complete virtual reference station (VRS) network in Texas and Oklahoma, and will continue to provide online access to products, services and information

Michael Hefer founded WDS in 1984 as an equipment supplier. It is an authorized Trimble Geospatial Dealer for Texas and Oklahoma. It provides positioning equipment and complementary devices for applications including dredging and hydrography, offshore drilling station-keeping, and marine construction and pile driving. The company provides sales, rentals, training and technical support for the geospatial, marine, seismic, utility, environmental, fleet management and oil/gas/chemical industries. 

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Complementary equipment from other manufacturers include echo sounders, UAVs, UASs, inclinometers, software and more, supplied from six company stores in Texas and Oklahoma. Wendy and Michael Hefer retired after the merger was signed.

Martin Instrument is Trimble’s Premier Authorized Dealer for survey equipment. It was founded in 1994 by Marty and Gina Richardson. In June 2016, employees Bobby Hempfling and Mike Minick acquired a majority interest in the employee-owned company, while the Richardsons moved on to other endeavors.  With Hempfling as president and Minick as vice president, the two have worked at growing the company’s business and service to its customers through its sales of new and pre-owned Trimble, Nikon and Spectra Precision survey products, including GPS Systems, total stations, data collectors and accessories, sold from its stores in Austin and San Antonio.

Hempfling leads the AllTerra Central management team as president, with Mike Minick as vice president, with continued operation supported by the employees of both companies. The new company is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with offices in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, McAllen, Oklahoma City and Midland/Odessa.

“We have long admired Bobby and Mike and the incredible success story they have created at Martin Instrument. I strongly support the AllTerra vision for the future and the culture of innovation and great customer service,” Michael Hefer said.

Dredging and Hydro Surveying Unchanged

Wade Jordan will continue to provide the dredging, hydrographic and marine construction industries with on-water survey and guidance systems, which he has done since joining the company in February 1997.  Prior to that he was in the marine marketing department at Trimble Navigation. Before moving to Trimble, he was in hydrographic systems sales at Rentec International, working with pre-GPS positioning equipment for nine years, and then installing GPS systems when Rentec became a Trimble distributor.

His office in Houston will continue to focus on representing Trimble products, along with equipment from companies that complement those products, to provide hydrographic survey systems and dredge and marine construction guidance systems.

Jordan said that the merger will enable the hiring of people to work with him and take over tasks such as installation and training, freeing him to focus on the sales and consulting roles that best utilize his expertise.

“The merger gives us a lot more resources, and the ability to leverage redundancies,” Hempfling said. “It will give our salespeople the ability to focus on the individual customer,” he continued.

The combined staff of the two companies, under the AllTerra Central brand, will focus on bringing Trimble Optical, GNSS and GIS systems and field supply availability to the surveying, engineering and construction markets in Texas and Oklahoma, Hempfling said.

“Both of our companies have prospered for more than 25 years because of their technical knowledge, strong customer relationships and focus on great customer service. When the opportunity became available to merge the talents of both, everyone involved knew that something incredible would result. This company will be unstoppable in providing support and high-tech solutions to the industry,” he said.