Owner, Dancutter Expert, Product Development Manager
As a founder of Apex CIPP, Travis Shirley has a deep understanding of the need for high quality trenchless equipment and materials. Since day number one, he has managed the service center, specializing in Dancutter maintenance and repairs. In fact, Travis is likely the foremost Dancutter service expert in the United States.
The early days
Although Travis didn’t necessarily set out to have a career in trenchless, his life experience prepared him for what was ahead. His education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and his early career years were spent in land surveying, which primed him for technical layouts and job planning. But it wasn’t long before Travis was recruited to work for a pipelining company, first as an installer and then as a robotics technician. During his years in lining, he was introduced to what would become his passion, robotic cutters.
The cutter king
One of Travis’s favorite jobs included coming to the aid of a contractor who had problems with a project in Chicago. The contractor was using a cutter that wasn’t, well, cutting it. The stakes were high, since the location just happened to be the White Sox stadium, Guaranteed Rate Field. It seemed that the drainage system was failing and needed a major overhaul that threatened to delay opening day! Travis was able to bring in a Dancutter SuperFlex and maneuver the flexible unit into the tight space that was restricting the other equipment. He continued to work and make on-the-spot repairs until the stadium was operational again. We’re not saying that Travis saved Major League Baseball, but he (and the SuperFlex) sure saved the White Sox from tearing up their stadium. And yes, the contractor with the other cutter became a Dancutter user.
The Florida native immersed himself in robotic cutting/milling, working with and later repairing several brands and styles of cutters. He sought to learn everything he could about his favorite machines, even becoming one of the first Dancutter-certified operators and service technicians in the U.S.
Moving forward in the trenchless world
As the need for trenchless pipe rehab expanded in the states, the demand for robotic cutters grew with it. Travis was already a Dancutter expert, servicing robots and training team members on proper use and maintenance. So, it was only natural that he joined a small group of pipe repair pros to launch Apex CIPP. The company is still independently owned and operated and includes Dancutter USA, the direct distributor of Dancutter products for North America.
Since the company began, Travis has seen an explosion of growth in the trenchless industry. He has followed new technologies and tested hundreds of products for field use. He enjoys meeting with manufacturers and isn’t shy about offering technical input. As a matter of fact, one company has a unique part they call “The Shirley.” You guessed it, it’s named in honor of the inventor, Travis Shirley. While the part is a small adapter that lowers the profile of the wheel flange for a robotic arm, it serves a great purpose that expands the usage of the robot which allows operators to get into smaller-diameter pipes for reinstatements.
Travis still enjoys putting his design degree to work by creating intricate logos and working on branded materials for Apex CIPP. The orange-eyed viking holding crossed robotic arms is one of his finest works and appears on much of Dancutter USA’s merchandise.
Aside from cutters, Travis is acutely familiar with trenchless lining equipment such as inspection cameras, drain cleaning machines, inversion tanks, and more. His advanced training has taken him to Denmark, Sweden, and throughout the United States. It’s common for Travis to service a camera or consult with a contractor in the field, offering step-by-step instructions for a repair in order to keep a project operational.
Customer success is #1
Watching customers succeed motivates Travis to aim higher.
“Seeing a company go from doing good service to great service keeps me excited about the future of the industry.”
In the last five years, public awareness has fueled the demand for trenchless services. Apex CIPP has been instrumental in training contractors that want to offer cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) repair and teams that want to expand their offerings with new technologies like point repair and UV LED curing.
“One of the systems I’m most impressed with is the Magnavity UV LED from Brawo. It solves a lot of the problems that face other UV systems.”
Travis and the Apex team completed extensive training and testing of the light-curing method. They are longtime proponents of the flexible and transitional liners from Brawo (Brawoliner) and they were equally enthused by the Magnavity. The equipment is NRTL certified for use in the North American market, an achievement the German manufacturer is quite proud of. For Travis, the smaller overall unit size and intuitive adaptability of the curing heads are standout features. He also appreciates the engineering behind the components that work together to form a complete UV lining or spot repair solution.
These days, you can find the Dancutter expert in his new role of Product Development Manager at Apex CIPP. He’s still overseeing the service department, but he’s now advising the company on products, system packages, and programs. He’s closely following developments in the trenchless pipe repair industry, especially the installation methods and equipment innovations.
With all of his tasks, Travis thinks first about what is right for the customer, since the Apex team is more interested in long-term relationships than quick sales.
For more information on Apex CIPP or Dancutter USA, please visit apexcipp.com or call 941-300-0441.