“There’s a lot of red tape in the corporate world; everything needs permission. You need permission to buy a paper clip,” says Sean Riccardelli, the owner of RCS, a pipeline integrity contracting service. “As a business owner, you make the decisions. If you wanna hire somebody, there’s no roadblocks. There’s no hurdles.”
Riccardelli became the owner of RCS in 2007. The company prides itself on being a premier pipeline integrity service, and Riccardelli takes an immense amount of pride on being on the cutting edge of the technology that goes into maintaining pipelines.
In 1994, after serving as a tank gunner in the Marines, Riccardelli found a job in Utah with Max AMC, a U.K.-based company.
“We were doing some industrial inspections over there at Kennecott,” he says. “That’s kinda how I got into the entire inspection, quality assurance business.”
Riccardelli did a variety of jobs for Max AMC, including the construction on the Wells Fargo Center in Salt Lake City and the 2002 Winter Olympics. After the Olympics, he was offered a promotion and moved to Seattle.
It was during this time that Riccardelli found his calling.
“I met some folks involved in the pipeline on the gas, and then I ended up doing some work for them; and decided to just leave that company altogether and go on the road and do oil and gas pipeline work,” he says.
While out on the road, Riccardelli found his “niche.”
“My area of expertise is ultrasonic technologies,” he says. “The way I was able to use the ultrasonic technologies in oil and gas was a more scientific type of analysis of defects on pipelines. We ended up going from looking at seismic structural welding and critical welding to more of pressure vessel, pressure containing pipeline type of inspection.”
Mark Carte, a business development manager at Olympus, says his long-time colleague is a great entrepreneur because “he can visualize good business and make correct decisions.”
“Along with his excellence in business, he is honest, straightforward and generous. People gravitate to Sean because of his attributes,” Carte adds.
Using a variety of technology that range from ultra-sonics to magnetics to infrared, Riccardelli is always looking for new ways to better his business. But as his business continued to grow in scale, he realized he realized he might be over his head.
“I had no formal business training,” he says. “So, I got some really high-level training out of the Goldman Sachs program.”
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program offers business education, a network of support from business professionals, and access to capital to small businesses throughout the country. Nearly 9,000 entrepreneurs have graduated from the program.
“It’s an amazing program,” Riccardelli says. “It really allowed us to put into perspective all of the metrics of how to run a business and scale for growth.”
Riccardelli and RCS look to use the lessons from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses to improve the systems they have in place — systems which currently manage up to 100,000 of the 500,000 miles of pipeline that run through the United States.
“Without hesitation, I claim [Riccardelli] is the best businessperson I have ever known,” Carte says. “Sean could build and run a Fortune 500 company today!”