Here to stay: Oregon man moves to Dickinson, finds success with hydraulic and machine shop
The majority of Ben Page’s clients at Bakken Hydraulic and Machine Inc. have been farmers and ranchers needing work on farm equipment, and he’d like to keep it that way.
“I picked the name — I started this company before we moved here, I wanted to have the corporate stuff handled with the state of North Dakota before we moved,” Page said. “Based on my research, ‘Bakken’ was just a cool name that seemed to sum stuff up. Really, I’m just here to serve the community.”
He’s been doing a lot of repair and rebuild work for agribusiness at his shop in east Dickinson.
“I’m here to take care of farmers, take care of locals — people who have been affected by oil and can’t get the services they used to be able to get now because oil is making people busy,” Page said. “There’s a lot of work here for someone who wants to serve the community. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
The amount of agriculture in North Dakota surprised Page when he first moved.
“In Oregon we just didn’t know that everybody here (in North Dakota) farms,” he said. “And everybody here does. And I love that.”
But the oil industry provided quite a shock too.
“Until I saw the oil stuff, I just couldn’t understand it,” Page said, “until you really see it.”
He worked for an oil field service company while getting Bakken Hydraulic set up, which served as a learning experience for the area’s major industry.
“I didn’t know anything about oil field work — nothing,” Page said.
Machine work wasn’t Page’s first vocational calling.
Page always wanted to be a cop, but in his home state of Oregon he had to wait between his high school graduation and his 21st birthday to live out his career goals. In the meantime, he took up a trade.
“It was a good learning experience,” Page said. “I learned a lot about machine work.”
He did eventually get to be a cop, a career he practiced for a decade, but continued to work in machine shops part time.
“After 10 years police work I had had enough of it and I went back into machine work, working for an aerospace company,” Page said.
He worked as a machinist and eventually started his own shop in Oregon, but when the economy slowed down in the Pacific Northwest, so did his work.
“Things just slowed down and slowed down and slowed down until it wasn’t worth the hassle anymore,” Page said.
A friend had moved to North Dakota and encouraged Page to do the same.
“He said, ‘It’s you’re kind of town, your kind of people, and there’s work,’” Page said.
He delivered some parts to a Dickinson company last June, giving him the chance to check out the city.
The visit proved fruitful.
Page told his wife he loved the city and it was similarly sized to their hometown of Redmond, Ore.
“It’s got that feeling of home,” Page said.
When he returned, they started to make arrangements for their move. His wife applied for dental hygienist positions and quickly found a job.
“We came last October,” Page said. “Sold our house in Oregon, sold our property and moved.”
They lived in an RV for the first six months in North Dakota.
“It wasn’t bad — I wouldn’t want to do it again — but it wasn’t bad,” Page said.
They found an apartment and sold the RV. Eventually they’d like to either buy land and build from scratch, or find an older “fixer-upper” with character to remodel.
The Pages are in Dickinson to stay.
“I want people to know I’m here to serve them,” Page said. “I came here with no preconceived notions. I came here with a blank slate. I wanted to come here and find my niche here.”
Bakken Hydraulic and Machine Inc.
Address: 645 E. Villard St. Suite C
Dickinson, ND 58601