It was all going so well for Darron Anderson. Investors bought the business that he had built into a success. Anderson felt disconnected from the company’s operations. He needed a new challenge and found it in Express Energy Services LP. This was a company that was growing and it seemed as if the sky was the limit.
But as COO, Anderson wasn’t the man in charge. And the people who were in charge were on a shopping spree, acquiring companies left and right. The company was growing too fast and by 2008, it was ready to burst. When the price of gas dropped and the on-shore rig count fell by 50 percent, bankruptcy protection became the only viable alternative.
There was a silver lining in the dark cloud, however. The CEO who had made all those acquisitions left and Anderson was elevated to CEO. He quickly brought in a public relations firm to communicate to stakeholders about the bankruptcy filing. He also reached out to clients, service providers and employees to let them know that he had a plan for the future and things were going to get better.
Anderson convened a strategy session and set out to downsize the business to a more manageable level. He wanted to shed the “gunslinger” label the company had acquired and establish a reputation for more sound financial decisions.
He wanted to be more open with his team and work with them to make Express Energy a great place to work. He emphasized safety training and the identification of systems that would make it easier for people to do their jobs. Soon, Express Energy was on the rise once again.
How to reach: Express Energy Services LP, www.eeslp.com
As CEO of Oil States International Inc., Cindy Taylor leads by example, demonstrating her high standards and dedication to transparency.
Key to Oil States’ success has been her ability to leverage the talents of the many people within the company. Taylor believes in “distributive leadership,” which requires the retention of experienced, qualified personnel and employment of new talent as times change. These two groups are blended together to achieve the most favorable result.
Taylor also focuses on the well-being of the more than 7,900 employees at the oilfield services company, striving to maximize shareholders’ value and build and maintain long-term relationships on trust and integrity.
Taylor manages the company as if everyone on the team is family. She has had little to no turnover at the executive level during her tenure as CEO. Most of executive management has been with Oil States for more than 10 years.
This has led to specialization and a unique commitment from all team members. Taylor has developed a team of experienced individuals who understand and practice the company’s commitments and are focused to achieving a common goal.
Taylor has a busy schedule as a CEO and mother of three boys but still finds time and resources to give back to the community. She is especially active in local community organizations that impact children and their development.
Her community involvements include board positions and fundraising support for organizations such as St. John’s Catholic Church, the facilities advisory committee to the Columbia Brazoria Independent School District, West Columbia Little League, West Columbia Youth Basketball Association, Boy Scouts of America, United Way of Brazoria County, the Brazoria County Chapter of the American Red Cross and Texas Children’s Hospital.
How to reach: Oil States International Inc., www.oilstatesintl.com
Sandy Scott always challenges herself to be better than she was the day before. As CEO of Sprint Industrial Holdings LLC, a provider of industrial equipment rentals used in the oil and gas industry, she expects the same from her company.
Over the past two years, Scott has worked to better the company by investing more growth capital, actively looking for strategic acquisitions and expanding the business organically. Along with her leadership team, she has strategically refinanced the company to allow additional investment of growth capital in 2012 as the company looks to grow across all business lines and create synergies amongst its current offerings.
These strategic acquisitions have been Scott’s primary focus and the reason for Sprint Industrial’s recent growth. When she first joined the company in 2009, it had a barcoding scanning system, TidalTrak, for tracking and providing the client with real-time data on assets they rented. This was a key differentiator for the company, however, the business could not offer a closed-loop system since it lacked the transportation of hazardous waste. Seeing this as a competitive advantage, Sprint Industrial acquired Bealine Service Co., a hazardous waste transportation company, in June 2011.
With the acquisition of Bealine, Sprint’s technology can now track a tank from the delivery to the plant, to the disposal site, to the cleaning facility and back to the yard. This real-time tracking system eliminates inefficiencies from lost tanks to wasted rental days and adds real money to the bottom line.
Scott and the company aren’t stopping there. Sprint Industrial is currently closing on a second major transaction, which will expand its fleet of stainless tanker trailers by 750 and expand its reach to Alabama, Tennessee and Illinois, helping produce double-digit growth.
How to Reach: Sprint Industrial Holdings LLC, www.tidaltank.com, www.sprintsafety.com or www.bealineservice.com
In 2006, Brian Fielkow risked his entire net worth and purchased Jetco Delivery.
The purchase fulfilled Fielkow’s dream of owning his own business — a dream that hasn’t wavered, even when he and the company faced the Great Recession a few years ago.
As the trucking industry slid to a halt, Fielkow worked tirelessly to ensure Jetco did not fall victim. Instead, he focused on what Jetco could control, promised not to lay off employees, committed to keeping employees and customers involved and informed and invested in technology and Jetco’s fleet, capitalizing on his clients’ needs and taking advantage of a weakened market.
Fielkow had the resources available to invest in Jetco’s fleet during the recession by properly managing the company’s balance sheet and ensuring his lender was aware and supportive of his plan to not only survive but thrive.
His decision to take a contrarian approach proved worthwhile. Because Jetco stayed true to its employees and customers, they remained dedicated to Jetco. The downturn enabled Jetco to cement and redefine customer relationships.
These loyal relationships have enabled Fielkow to challenge industry conventions and change many aspects of the business. Jetco now features GPS in all of its trucks, has one of the youngest fleets in the region and uses technology aggressively to create value for customers.
In addition to relationships with employees and customers, Fielkow has also formed relationships within the community. Jetco donated a trailer to Junior Achievement for its mobile finance park, and Fielkow is a member of the organization’s board of directors.
In addition, through Junior Achievement’s job shadow program, Jetco regularly welcomes students to its office, showing them a day in the life in the logistics industry. Jetco also supports the Children’s Assessment Center annually through its Christmas toy drive.
How to reach: Jetco Delivery, www.jetcodelivery.com
One of Carolyn Doerle’s biggest strengths is her management style. She blends being a bold decision-maker with being intuitive at the same time. She believes a leader must be able to make informed decisions in a timely manner.
In 2003, Doerle made the decision to buy out her father and family to become the sole owner, managing director and CEO of Doerle Food Services LLC, an independent food distributor. Under Doerle’s leadership, the company has grown revenue 800 percent. That growth is due in part to one of Doerle’s riskiest decisions but also the company’s largest turning point — she purchased a new facility in Broussard that was nearly five times the size of their current facility in New Iberia, without the demand to utilize it.
Within three months of purchasing the new distribution center in Broussard, an opportunity presented itself. The Sonic and Subway chains of Louisiana and Mississippi approached Doerle Foods. Doerle had six weeks to demonstrate it had the infrastructure to meet the contract specifications. In those six weeks, Doerle expanded its new plant to full operation, hired and trained more than 100 new employees, purchased 28 new trucks and 40 trailers and hired truck drivers from all over Louisiana, resulting in both the Sonic and Subway contracts. The company still has those contracts today.
Doerle has lived by her philosophy, “An opportunity is never lost; if you don’t take it, then someone else will.” The company’s business depends upon all its resources operating efficiently and effectively. Doerle and her management team pride themselves on being nimble and flexible for their customers. The company’s ability to provide what its customers need on short notice is what sets it apart from the large foodservice providers.
How to reach: Doerle Food Services LLC, www.doerlefoods.com
Sometimes in business you have to follow your gut feeling. That is exactly what John Magee had to do when making the tough decision to leave his former company. When Magee’s previous logistics company was faced with a hostile takeover from a private equity company, he saw things he couldn’t tolerate.
Magee felt he needed to create a place where maintaining integrity, caring about ethics and making decisions that allow you to hold your head high meant something. Along with a group of others in executive and leadership positions, Magee walked away from the multibillion business to start a new company. While waiting out a one-year nonsolicitation agreement, he developed a strategic plan and a character statement and Crane Worldwide Logistics was born.
Magee, who serves as president of the full-service shipping and logistics company, defined this new organization’s internal culture to be customer-centric, responsible, attentive, operating with integrity and flawless execution. While some may have thought it foolish, Magee embarked without any guarantees. There were no contracts, no salary and no prospects — all during the Great Recession.
Failure wasn’t an option, and with the support of eight others who believed in Magee’s vision, he knew success could happen. His vision was to be a global, midsized company that offers personalized customer service and flexibility above and beyond what small companies offer, while creating a global network strong enough that Fortune 500 customers would want to do business.
In August 2008, Crane Worldwide acquired three companies pushing the business to 100 employees in 12 offices, in seven countries. The business has grown organically in more than three years and has now expanded to more than 1,000 employees in 75 offices in 21 countries. Magee expects to reach 120 offices in 35 countries over the next few years.
How to reach: Crane Worldwide Logistics, www.craneww.com
As the CEO of Cenergy International Services LLC, a company she created in 1996, June Ressler leads with her head, closely followed by her heart.
While her training as an attorney has enabled Ressler to manage complex contracts and contractor liability protection for Cenergy’s workplace solutions for some of the world’s largest energy companies, the company’s ultimate success has come from people empowered to communicate and take ownership of their work.
Because of the nature of her company’s business, the people element is critical for Ressler’s placements, her corporate clients and for her employees.
Ressler grew Cenergy from a sole proprietorship in 1996 to a dynamic workforce solutions company that now places more than 1,000 highly trained professionals in locations on multiple continents. The process involves the complexity of client labor contracts, agreements with those placed, liability insurance and, for the logistics and safety divisions, risk management.
Cenergy has logged more than 5 million manhours without TRIR, or total reported incident rate — a perfect safety record in a working environment that is often high-risk.
The company has weathered several energy boom and bust cycles, which have decimated other energy services companies in the past 15 years. Originally based in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 landfall, Cenergy had no loss in client services despite losing virtually its entire headquarters and needing to quickly establish a new headquarters in Houston.
As a woman-owned business, Cenergy faced other challenges unique to its situation. Ressler met those challenged by providing the right solutions for clients. The company has more than doubled in size the past two years and expects to do the same over the next two years.
How to reach: Cenergy International Services LLC, www.cenergyintl.com
TJ Farnsworth, founder and CEO of SightLine Health LLC, was born and bred an entrepreneur. He grew up in a household where his mother, a schoolteacher, started a series of her own successful businesses, and his father, an attorney, started his own boutique practice. He never thought of doing anything other than starting his own company.
After working for a marginally successful health care technology start-up, and subsequently joining a larger health care company, Farnsworth used his little savings and a lot of credit cards to develop outpatient treatment centers using a new technology to treat uterine fibroids in women.
However, shortly after that investment, the economy collapsed and the pool of patients dried up. So Farnsworth began to look for new avenues to steer the business and settled on the development and operation of high-end outpatient radiation oncology centers.
Farnsworth knew he had to differentiate himself to gain patients. He decided to focus on customer service, something he saw lacking with large hospital systems and health care providers. Patients who visit SightLine Health centers find surface parking by the door, a warm, welcoming environment and a staff that greets them by first name. Farnsworth strives to make them feel like family and does whatever he can to make their experience a little easier.
SightLine Health partners with many community organizations related to cancer, including Race for the Cure and the American Cancer Society, but Farnsworth tries to challenge his employees to find unique missions. One good example is in Lubbock, Texas, where SightLine partnered with the American Cancer Society to build Texas’ first Hope Lodge, where patients and their families can stay for extended periods while being treated for cancer in the Lubbock community.
How to reach: SightLine Health LLC, www.sightlinehealth.com
Dana Sellers could not have picked a worse time to launch a business. The recession that was rocking the global economy had taken hold and was showing no signs of letting go. She was confident though that she had the makings of a great business model to succeed in the health care IT services business, but she was starting from scratch, and it wasn’t going to be easy.
On the positive side, she had a handful of co-investors and the support of a loving family. Sellers also had a track record of success, creating a company in the 1980s that provided clinical computing interfaces between areas such as cardiology, ICUs and nurse scheduling.
With all that in mind, Sellers set out to build Encore Health Resources. She wanted to provide solutions that would help companies in the health care field spend more time caring for their patients and clients and less time worrying about how they would do it.
She wanted a team around her that she could work with collaboratively to find those solutions.
When she began staffing her company, she looked for people who had goals and ambitions to achieve great things. It was great if they had already accomplished a lot, but Sellers was more interested in what they were pursuing for the future.
She asks a lot, but she also makes sure her employees feel part of the team. Sellers shares as much data and information as she can about where the company is going and what goals lie ahead. The approach has fostered a strong team that works hard for its customers and takes great pride in its achievements.
How to reach: Encore Health Resources, www.encorehealthresources.com
Richard Zuschlag operates Acadian Ambulance Service with a focus on two core responsibilities that everyone in the company must carry out. The first responsibility is to serve patients with excellent care. The second is to provide a rewarding, challenging work environment for the company’s employees.
Zuschlag, chairman and CEO, believes these two responsibilities go hand in hand. Excellent patient care cannot occur if employees don’t feel motivated.
Standing alongside Zuschlag, helping to hold up Acadian’s core values, is the company’s senior management team. The 23 employees with the title of vice president or higher have more than 530 years of combined experience with Acadian, and they are all committed to the company and the communities they serve.
With such a high level of experience, the management team has developed a great deal of familiarity with the business and each other. They are able to operate efficiently and effectively in executing Acadian’s strategy. Outside of the company, that commitment extends to community causes, as Zuschlag and his team work with area governments to help promote ways to improve health care and ambulance services in order to make life better in the communities in which Acadian operates.
Zuschlag believes his management team is unparalleled in its strength and knowledge of the business, and his job is to let them execute with minimal interference from above.
He founded Acadian because of his compassion and desire to help others. To this day, his ambition of saving every life, regardless of financial consequences, continues at Acadian. It is a philosophy that has allowed Acadian to become the emergency medical transportation company trusted to provide service in communities throughout Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
How to reach: Acadian Ambulance Service, www.acadian.com