SAN ANGELO, TX — Curtis Pittman, president of Pitts Oilfield Products and Services LLC, explained why he chose to base his storage tank manufacturing company in San Angelo. It is because the San Angelo area offered a more sustainable workforce than cities in the Permian Basin. He is also keen on being closer to where his customers need his products.
His company manufactures large storage tanks and equipment that oil producers use to separate oil from gas and water. He has competitors that are shipping into his markets from east Texas, Oklahoma, and south Texas. Pittman said his location on the edge of the Permian gives him a competitive edge. “I’m close, but not too close. I can still service clients within an hour or two, just like [competitors located in] Odessa and Midland can,” he said.
San Angelo’s labor market offers fewer headaches in San Angelo, Pittman said. The two primary reasons are San Angelo’s good employee pool and the area’s better quality of life.
Pittman, like most of the members of the Chamber of Commerce’s latest initiative, The San Angelo Manufacturers Alliance, or SARMA, manufacture or deliver products for the booming oil fields west of here.
Chamber VP of Economic Development Michael Looney recognized early on that the best companies to recruit to San Angelo are types of businesses that will export products and services. That was the idea behind forming SARMA as an organization connected to the Chamber. A primary strength of San Angelo is its geographic proximity to the shale oil production west of here.
Yet, not all companies in SARMA manufacture oil field products. Hirschfeld Steel builds bridges and the steel frameworks for large construction projects all over the U.S. and sometimes overseas; Principle LED manufactures efficient lighting components for signage and indoor/outdoor lighting using LED technology. Time Clock Plus and Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon are also members.
SARMA provides an organization for San Angelo-based companies that export products or services from here to lobby for better government, workforce development, and whatever other initiatives that will increase the forming of or recruiting of similar manufacturing businesses to the area. For example, SARMA has plans to host a trade show and conference here.
Dwain Grider of C&J Energy Services has a San Angelo-based workforce that performs well completion and construction services. He said his Houston-based company chose to base operations out of San Angelo because the workforce is more than adequate. He was keen on the fact that leadership in San Angelo embarked upon a workforce certification program. “We have looked all over the place for the perfect ingredients of quality of staff, quality of resources, location, and not to mention that San Angelo is geared towards a certified workforce. These are prime conditions for us to do business here,” Grider said.
“San Angelo seems to be going at a little bit slower pace than the crazy Midland and Odessa area,” said Chad Brown of Northwest Logistics. His company transports primarily sand into the oil field from here. One of the key benefits of San Angelo’s location, he said, is that most of his drivers are home every night, with few exceptions. He currently employs 98 drivers and is expanding to 120.
Doing business in San Angelo is great, Brown said.