Summit Energy Services

Anyone familiar with the Williston Basin, a shale formation stretching from eastern Montana into the western Dakotas and up to Saskatchewan, wouldn’t be surprised that North Dakota has just passed California to become the third-largest oil-producing state in the country. In January, the state’s oil output reached 546,050 barrels per day, a 59 percent increase from the previous year.

As production has grown, so has the state, and a few towns in particular. Williston, N.D., though smaller than Fargo, N.D., is now the No. 1 sales tax generator in the state.

The Williston-based Summit Energy Services is a contractor for above-ground oil field-related services, and provides:

  • Roustabout and site maintenance
  • Road and well site – pad construction
  • Storm water and erosion management
  • Pipeline and flow line construction
  • Reclamation services
  • Scoria and water hauling
  • Ready to Serve

COO Will Reedy explains that the rush to build results from the stipulation that once a piece of land is leased for oil production, a well must be drilled within three years. Oil producers have to mobilize quickly, which means the companies that support them have to be just as fast. Those that can keep up reap the rewards.

“This is a huge, multibillion-dollar business, and there are a lot of aspects to it and Summit is just focused on a small piece in the construction of surface facilities,” Reedy says. “Still, we grew from $4 million in sales in 2010 to $35 million in sales in 2011 and I think we’ve got that pretty well beat this year. We’ve seen over 600 percent growth last year.”

But Summit’s fast growth isn’t solely due to the amount of business in the air. It can mobilize quickly, and by carrying “all of the above” in above-ground construction services, it has made itself a quality one-stop option. It added gravel crushing and sales last December when it opened its first aggregate mining pit.

“We felt like we already had the market for it through our other services and our gravel hauling business, so if we had our own source, we could move a good amount of product,” Reedy explains.

Reedy says the division looks promising, mainly due to the fact that just like all of its divisions, the company has some knowledgeable people at the helm. “Our business philosophy is we are interested in any service so long as we have a champion for it,” he says. “When we have an employee or potential employee who we can hire that we feel comfortable with being that champion, such as with our gravel pit, we are all for it.”

Summit executives make sure the field supervisor and managers have the resources they need to run their individual divisions almost like they are their own companies. They, in turn, serve their field laborers to ensure they’re equipped to perform their jobs efficiently.

Reedy says the servant-leader attitude builds relationships, which is key in an industry that has to mobilize quickly and sometimes forgoes lengthy bidding processes. Summit employees, for instance, will build a battery tank one day and fix that same customer’s pump jack the next. Or, the company can work on one project for the long haul. One Summit crew has been with the same customer exclusively for two years, installing flow lines.

“It’s all about providing whatever the customer wants and listening to that customer,” Reedy says. “We have to build the relationship with them so they know they can count on our guys. Sometimes it feels like our guys are employed by the customer because they are working so closely with them. The servant-oriented approach has resonated with our customers, and it keeps the phone ringing for us.” EMI