‘Making customers happy’

Published 11:14 am Thursday, October 31, 2019

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S&T Fencing offers security and privacy

By Glenn McGlothlin

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There are some careers that grant workers access to a wide variety of properties such as residential backyards, parking lots, caves and even top-secret military projects.

Ellis Walker, president of S&T Fencing in Nicholasville, said fences can have many purposes from security and privacy to pet control and landscaping.

“We build all types of fences,” Walker said. “Our most popular fences are wood and ornamental fences, but we also build chain link fences, farm plank and farm wire fences and we also install vinyl fences.

Some people may know S&T Fencing as S&T Watkins Fencing. In 1984, Lloyd Watkins founded Watkins Professional Fencing, and exactly ten years later, Susan and Tim Watkins started S&T Fencing in 1994. Ellis Walker joined S&T Fencing in 1996 when the company bought out Watkins Professional Fencing thus creating S&T Watkins Fencing. Walker said Tim Watkins retired four years ago, prompting a name change to simply S&T Fencing.

For Walker, it’s all about designing for and pleasing the customers

“Engineering and design are areas that have always made me happy,” Walker said. “My favorite part is making customers happy and providing a good place to build relationships with customers and employees.”

One key ingredient to satisfied customers is competent workers.

“We work hard to provide customer satisfaction,” Walker said. “Our employees are well trained and experienced installers. Our foremen are actively training and teaching skills to their lead helpers to continue to grow qualified installers.”

Office manager Joey Deering helped with projects in the field before shifting his responsibilities to the office.

“I always liked going to the different places this job can take you and meeting the people,” Deering said. “Now that I’m working in the office, I don’t get to do that anymore, but the best part has always been the people I get to work with and the guy I get to work for is one of the best kinds of people. He is truly caring of his employees and customers and is one-of-a-kind.”

Walker described the steps needed to complete a project and emphasized the importance of checking for underground utilities.

“The week before the install date, we will call in an underground utility locator,” Watkins said. “Over the next 48 business hours, representatives from the major utilities will enter the property and locate any buried utilities so that the fence can be built in a manner that doesn’t interrupt services.”

But before the utilities are located and even before the first shovel digs into the ground, a plan must be created.

“We want to meet on-site to measure and discuss the needs and application of the fence a customer wants,” Watkins said. “Then we design a system that meets their needs.”

Aside from the building permit application, Watkins said any applicable homeowners association must also be consulted prior to work commencing.

“We may also require the customer to stake the property corners or have them hire a surveyor to mark the corners, so the new fence stays inside the customer’s property,” Walker said.

Although the company works throughout the entire year, even through the winter, Walker said there are two elements of nature that can prohibit or suspend work.

“Of course there are days the weather won’t allow us to do our job on location,” Walker said. “It might be too wet or too muddy. Also, if the temperature is not 27 degrees and rising, we can’t work with the concrete. Fortunately, our winters are mild, and we only lose 14 to 16 days of fieldwork.”

“Watkins Professional Fencing had a great customer base for both residential and commercial work,” Walker said. “Watkins and I continued the quality of work and formed great relationships with our customer base.”