Turning it around Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2007

In the 1980s, David Pemberton Sr. was working as legal counsel to a floundering Suburban Co. He knew it would be next to impossible to save, but he also knew he had the opportunity, know-how and drive to attempt the seemingly impossible feat.

“All anyone needs is an opportunity,” he says.

In 1988, he and his partner became 50 percent principals in what is now Suburban Natural Gas Co., and he set out to work a miracle. He immediately sold two subsidiaries, sold a valueless pipeline and asked a company vice president for financial support. He then tried to gain a foothold against his com-

petitors. He didn’t have the resources to offer incentives to commercial or residential builders, so he used his legal experience to fight to have incentives disallowed, stalling them for two years, which allowed the company to win exclusive operating areas and gain a foothold to prove that it could deliver.

In 2000, Pemberton bought out his partner and made SNG a family business by bringing in his son as a salesperson. The two created a strategy, and the elder Pemberton credits SNG’s success to his son’s selling abilities and people skills. SNG’s customers have increased 300 percent since the Pembertons acquired it. Also, last year the gas company completed a new pipeline to prepare for growth and meet demand; it did what should have been a three-year job in just a year, which positions the Pembertons to continue growing a now-thriving company.

HOW TO REACH: Suburban Natural Gas Co., (740) 548-2450 or www.sngco.com