Calling Out An SOS

When people in South and Central Texas need help with pumping or grease traps, all they need to do is send out an SOS. SOS Liquid Waste Haulers is a family-owned company that works with commercial and industrial companies in the San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and Waco metropolitan areas. Customers in the Rio Grande Valley area can also call on SOS for help with their waste management needs.

Humble Beginnings

Everything is bigger in Texas, but that’s not how Jess Mayfield’s business started out. In 1995, Mayfield purchased a small, struggling company called Septic’s Our Service to pump wastewater treatment plant sludge in Central Texas. Four years later, on the advice of Jason Breithaupt, Mayfield made some changes in the direction of the company. Breithaupt convinced Mayfield that the business should change its focus to pumping grease and grit traps. The two have proven to be a winning team. Currently, Mayfield serves as the president and Breithaupt as Vice-President of Operations. Under their combined leadership, SOS Liquid Waste Haulers has grown from one with “two trucks and a lot of debt” into the Texas-sized, market-leading business it is today.

Diversification—Just Run With It

Carter Mayfield, Jess’ son, joined the company in 2007 and now runs sales, finance, marketing, and compliance. After working as an engineer and a management consultant, the family business was quite a change for the Wharton MBA. When asked about the most interesting thing that has happened to him at SOS, the younger Mayfield chuckled as he recalled a story about a time when he was “processing a bunch of grease from a seafood restaurant.” One of the lines clogged, causing it to break and shower sludge all over him from head to toe. According to Mayfield, the sludge reeked of Zatarain’s, a common spice used on seafood. After he got the line back under control, Mayfield had to work the rest of the six-hour shift still smelling like seafood sludge. Now every time he smells Zatarain’s, the memory of that night comes flooding back.

SOS Liquid Waste meets the needs of restaurant and commercial food service companies, car and commercial truck washes, industrial bakeries and food processing companies, groceries, commercial laundry facilities and wastewater treatment plants. At this time, about 80 percent of their business comes from grease trap waste, 15 percent from grit trap waste, and the rest from sludge movement.

One thing that sets SOS apart from competitors is their plumbing business. When customers call for SOS to pump their grease traps, the technicians often discover that the outgoing line is clogged and what the customer really needs is a plumber to clear the clog. Assisting their customers in finding quality plumbing services was important, and now customers can get these services straight from SOS.

SOS for the Environment

Like most Texans, SOS is proud to call Texas home, and works diligently to preserve the land. “It is easy to pay lip-service to the environment while letting the regulatory bodies lead the way. At SOS, we have taken the lead on protecting the environment by operating a state-of-the-art facility that puts your liquid waste to use by either beneficially using it as fertilizer for crops or turning it into compost.”

SOS processes the liquid waste at their facility and recycles as much of the water as possible. In addition, much of the solid waste is composted or used as fertilizer for the land. Mayfield and his company don’t just talk about doing the right thing, they act on it. “We believe that we are stewards of the earth and as such, the health of the environment is our responsibility. We strive to leave the world a better place for our children and our children’s children.”

On any given day, 15 or more SOS trucks can be seen rolling down the road. “We tend to be opportunistic purchasers of equipment. That said, the vast majority of our trucks are Internationals, but we have a few Volvos and a Mack in the fleet. We use all National Vacuum Equipment pumps.”

Growing and Giving Back

That is an amazing number compared to its humble beginnings. Even though his company has grown to 18 trucks and 30 employees, Mayfield and his SOS family still hold the same values he did in the beginning. “This means that we believe in being both ethical and fair in our treatment of others. We hold our customers’ trust as something sacred and we care about the health, safety, and well-being of our workers and their families.”

The entire SOS family believes in giving back to the community that has watched them grow. “On a personal level, our team is very involved in bettering the world around us through church and service organizations.” Boysville Online, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Special Olympics, and The V Foundation for Cancer Research are just a few of the causes that SOS supports.

Breithaupt, Jess, Carter, and the entire SOS family are there to provide Texans the help they need when it comes to liquid waste. “If you are in trouble, send us an SOS. We can help!”

Story by Heidi Jenkins

Resources

For More Information:
■ SOS Liquid Waste Haulers: www.sosliquids.com
■ National Vacuum Equipment: www.natvac.com

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