These business owners take pride in hiring local people and helping the community
When Greg and Megan Cook founded Mustang Oilfield Services in St. Clairsville, Ohio, back in August 2013, the new adventure was a return home for Greg, who grew up there. But it was something more than that for this husband-and-wife team. It was a chance to invest in the town and its surrounding communities.
“Our area for a very long time seemed to have a migration out and not in, as some of the longstanding industries that were in the area started closing,” Greg Cook explains. “When the oil and gas industry came in I started seeing the opportunity for people to stay and have good jobs or move to the area and get good jobs, so my wife and I decided to move back to the area and do our part in employing local people that may not have had a lot of opportunity until this industry came to the area.”
As an oilfield service company that hauls both water and equipment to its customers in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, the Cooks explain that hiring local employees has been both a no-brainer and a win-win. They give locals solid careers and in return they have people who are familiar with the area — an important dynamic for a company that operates in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Having drivers who know all the backroads is a boon to business. “They don’t put these pads next to four lane highways,” Cook jokes; and the fact that area residents are already used to the winters doesn’t hurt either in terms of retention.
“Every one of our employees is from our tri-state area,” Cook says, “and that’s a great sense of pride for Megan and me, as well as the management staff here.” The bulk of the company’s 70-plus staff members are CDL drivers, but five work in the in-house garage, three are field management staff, and the remainder are in administration.
The couple has made efforts to do more than just employ area residents by finding ways to support its local communities through involvement, outreach and financial donations. Megan Cook sits on the local St. Clairsville Chamber of Commerce board, and the company also joined the Chamber in Washington County, where their Pennsylvania satellite location is located. Greg Cook is active in Rotary Club, and they try to support local schools as well. Last year the company sponsored a local high school football team and made a donation toward a band trip.
Although they attempt to be particularly involved right in St. Clairsville, the couple notes that they also make an effort to do a lot of little things that extend into the surrounding communities that their trucks pass through.
“We love the industry we’re in,” Cook says. While acknowledging that hydraulic fracturing can be a hot-button issue nationwide, he can’t quite understand why when he takes a look at his hometown. From employing plenty of people to boosting area economies, he’s seen the impact a single company can have on a small city and its surrounding region. And from his vantage point there’s a whole lot of good to be seen.