In 2016, Jackie Johnson started his compressed nitrogen gas and liquid nitrogen delivery business in Odessa, Texas. Several years later, in collaboration with a friend, the company expanded to equipment rentals and has been fast-moving ever since—just like that Alpha Omega Nitrogen Services and Equipment Rental was born.
Johnson, Alpha Omega’s founder and CEO, walks us through his expansion into equipment rental, his experience with AED, and the challenges he’s faced along the way.
While the idea for Alpha Omega started in 2010, it wasn’t until six years later that Johnson established his company. Having more than 18 years of experience in the nitrogen supply industry, Johnson was confident he would be successful, he was right. In 2018, Johnson, who was always intrigued by the rental business, was looking to diversify Alpha Omega. A close friend, Wally Schiwart, a pastor with experience in the industry encouraged him to expand into equipment rentals.
As Johnson became more familiar with rentals, he saw an opportunity to further grow. However, it was clear that the next step was to find an OEM and become an authorized distributor. He hired Mike Flowers, who has significant industry experience, as a consultant to help Alpha Omega partner with a manufacturer and grow the business operations.
Flowers advised Johnson that AED could be a vital resource for Alpha Omega. Subsequently, Alpha Omega joined AED and Johnson attended his first Summit last May in Las Vegas with hopes of learning and networking.
Soon after Summit, Johnson connected with his AED regional manager, Jonathon Porter. Porter facilitated an introduction between Alpha Omega and LiuGong North America. The discussions were fruitful, as Alpha Omega is set to distribute LiuGong construction equipment. Alpha Omega also rents all-terrain vehicles, water trucks, dump trailers and porta potties. As for Alpha Omega’s AED membership, Johnson remarked, “It has been very lucrative for us and was money well-invested.”
Looking back on the past five years, Johnson is proud of Alpha Omega’s growth, and his hard work and dedication have absolutely shown results. Yet, Johnson is quick to credit his mentors, without which he would not have achieved success. “With the help of those around me, like Wally, I’ve been able to better understand the rental industry,” said Johnson. He also credits Flowers with helping him to widen his breadth of knowledge in equipment rental.
Of course, the past few years have not been without obstacles. As a small business owner, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the greatest challenges Johnson has faced in his career. Looking back, he views the unparalleled events of 2020 as a learning experience. Johnson was forced to become more involved in Alpha Omega’s operations and financial decisions. In the end, the company survived and came out on the other side stronger.
Reflecting on his experience, Johnson provides worthy advice to new and aspiring rental equipment business owners. “Do your research on how to establish a rental business, as it's unique,” he notes. All equipment distributors can certainly relate to Johnson’s next piece of guidance, as he highlights the capital-intensive nature of the business and "the need for strong financial backing from the start.”
Maybe the most important advice Johnson has to offer is that all equipment distributors should be AED members.
“Get connected with AED and other trade associations,” he remarked. “There is a wealth of knowledge within associations, and if you’re new to the industry, call AED. AED was instrumental in getting us situated with an OEM.”
The outlook looks bright for Alpha Omega. Johnson is planning to open new stores and expand into other markets, including Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and southern New Mexico. Ultimately, however, Johnson notes that the company’s future is in God’s hands.
AED is proud to be a part of Alpha Omega’s inspiring journey and is excited to watch them continue to grow and succeed.