History of Venturetech


Larry Keast started Venturetech in his garage to design and manufacture new ventures in technical equipment. Larry's bio. Within two years, he decided that power swivels were an interesting and exciting business niche that needed competition and development. Venturetech then began building a well-respected international business offering parts and service for all brands of power swivels, buying and refurbishing old ones, and building new power units for them. During the next 18 years, Venturetech grew slowly through oilfield ups and downs, with Larry dreaming of designing his own power swivel  line.


After several years of engineering, Venturetech proudly introduced the XK-90 and XK-150 power swivels. We had 8 employees at this time.


We started hiring America's "unemployables", including ex-offenders and people in recovery from drugs & alcohol, and this began the exciting transformation of our team.


We bought and moved into our 21,000 square foot manufacturing facility with a 10-ton bridge crane and two-acre concrete yard. Our well organized shop and production control "war room" allowed us to serve customers more efficiently, and we began to grow as power swivel sales increased. 15 people by now.


Our first power swivel patent was received. Larry founded non-profit America in Recovery, Inc. to help America's small businesses replicate our hiring success. See www.americainrecovery.org . We were up to 20 people.


Introduced the XK-250 and our first top drive patent issued. 26 people.


We bought four acres next door and flew the Texas Longhorn flag in honor of the University of Texas football national championship. 35 people.


Bought another 1-1/2 acres to allow future shop expansion straight back. We are busy and growing fast. 47 people.


We were awarded the Fast 100 Enterprise Champion Award by the Houston Business Journal for rapid growth, patriotism, and community service. See this nice article with Adobe Reader. 52 people.


Our top drive is under development and our test rig is being designed. Working hard toward certification of API/ISO 9001 Quality Control System. Sales and production continue to increase - four month backlog. 96 machines shipped this year. 55 people.


Economy crashed, sales stopped. Laid off 30 good teammates. Used the year to reorganize, reevaluate, and focus engineering on the top drive. Completed test rig which Larry’s wife launched with champagne. Began developmental testing toward new top drive and testing every unit before shipment.


Top drive engineering moving toward completion and prototype parts being tested. Completing 19,000 sq.ft. addition to our building getting ready for top drive manufacturing. Sales are strong again and we’re hiring.

2011 – 2013 

Achieved API certification!  Completed 20,000 ft2 addition to our shop – now own 11½ acres.  Built a landscaped retention pond and stocked with Bass.  Built a separate truck shop for maintaining our cute truck fleet (and building Larry’s dream vehicles).  Took the first XK-250TD Top Drive team picture on Larry’s 70th birthday. Up to 11 top drive patents, more in application.


New XK250-TD Top Drive prototype shipped to the field in June for testing. Now 14 patents on XK-250TD Top Drive, three more in application. Planning to double shop size again.


35th Anniversary!  Big party coming!

Some of our crew with our cute little 5-ton pickup (CAT 3208-powered). This military truck is in daily service doing our heavy hauls around town. Drivers report salutes as they pass by. The truck has been in numerous parades.


Like our owner, our people are a bunch of motor heads who love cars, trucks, Jeeps, and motorcycles. This enthusiasm translates very well to our power swivel machinery with its diesel engines, technical hydraulics, and air controls. Down to the last detail, we pay attention to quality, simplicity, and reliability, and we all feel a great sense of pride when a new unit is ready to ship. We run a squared away organization and are proud to lead our field.


Operations manager John Jordan leaving for a camping trip.

John And Motorcycle

Engineering designer Jim Strickland kayaking on Armand Bayou.

Engineering designer Jim Strickland kayaking on Armand Bayou.


 Larry G. Keast


Larry Keast graduated from the University of Texas in Mechanical Engineering, and is a registered professional engineer in Texas.   Nine years with Cameron gave him a wide range of experience in engineering, offshore service, sales, and manufacturing.

Larry left Cameron in 1976 to become Vice President & General Manager of World Wide Oil Tools.  During four years there, he built this new company into a respected manufacturer.  Larry directed the development of four new product lines, receiving three patents in the process.   He also traveled worldwide selling, training, and establishing sales agents.  This experience confirmed his love for startup manufacturing companies.

In 1980, Larry founded Venturetech Corporation in his garage.  After many oilfield ups and downs through the years, Venturetech today is leading the competition with his patented diesel-hydraulic power swivels which are drilling oil and gas wells around the world.   Fifteen more patents have been issued, and others are applied for.  Larry continues to direct Venturetech's development, and is having way too much fun to retire.   See www.venturetechnet.com.

Larry and Zandra have been married 47 years, and have five children and four grandchildren.

Larry has also been giving back to the community for years and considers this work an important part of his life.   He was a parent group leader for several years in the substance abuse programs Insight and Lifeway, and was an advisory board member of Cornerstone Recovery.  In 1995, he started a ToughLove parents program.

Shortly after his wife Zandra was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1996, Larry was elected to the Texas Liver Coalition's board as Director of Support Groups.   Under Larry’s direction, the Coalition developed 32 support groups in Texas cities which continue to help thousands of people each year.  Larry remained on this board after acquisition by St. Luke’s Texas Liver Center in 2003, and served on Mayor Bill White’s Task Force for Hepatitis C.  Thankfully, Zandra’s treatment was successful, and she remains virus free.

For many years, Mr. Keast has enjoyed mentoring and speaking to engineering and entrepreneurship students at the University of Texas and the University of Houston.  He has served on the Business Advisory Council of Goodwill Industries and the Advisory Board of Houston-Galveston Institute.   Larry has also served as President of the Dover Club, a support organization of business owners, and is a board member of his church, Unity of Houston.  Larry is a member of Nomads since 1980, and a member of The Alternative Board, a business owners' roundtable group.   He was honored in 2012 as an Alumni of the Year of Dickinson High School, and now serves on the school’s education foundation board.

In 2000, Venturetech began hiring people who deserved a second chance; those in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, ex-offenders of our legal system, and older folks. Larry discovered the advantage of hiring "America's unemployables" after hiring a recovering addict and ex-convict. Soon, Keast began hiring other recovering substance abusers, some with criminal records, to work at Venturetech. He found that all of his employees, including those without such issues, started getting along better and taking an interest in each other. This proved to be good for the overall morale of Venturetech. After that, Larry began spreading the word among other small business owners and America in Recovery was born, see www.americainrecovery.org. He founded the 501(c)3 non-profit and created its free hiring website at his own expense to connect other like-minded employers to people needing another chance. America in Recovery encourages companies to post jobs.

In 2014, we added at-risk high school kids to the mission of America in Recovery. We chose high school because this is the time kids decide what path their lives will take. These are the kids that want to break out of their negative surroundings and do something better for themselves. Without money for education, these promising kids are destined to follow the path of drugs and incarceration. These are often the kids of ex-offenders and addicts. We believe we can change their destinies by helping them get an education. Since we are already helping men who have been down this unfortunate path, we wanted to do something for kids to stop this cycle before it starts. We are very excited about our new scholarship program and how many lives we will be able to change! In 2014 we awarded four high school kids with a $2,000 scholarship. In 2015 $50,000 will be awarded.

Larry has met with many elected officials for publicity support, including U.S. Congressmen John Culberson and Steve Pearce, and Governor Rick Perry.  Larry is publicizing this site through nationwide media in order to accelerate the message.  He wants to help businesses nationwide replicate Venturetech’s success, help thousands of people, improve business productivity, and reduce government expense for incarceration and welfare.


Learn About Venturetech


1980 - Larry Keast started Venturetech in his garage to design and manufacture new ventures in technical equipment. Larry's bio. Within two years, he decided that power swivels were an…

Learn about Power Swivels


by Larry Keast, P.E., Founder & CEO Venturetech Corporation International    This brief history is written from my experience since 1980, from researching Gulf Publishing's…

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