Among the things I’m most passionate about are those whose serve in our military and American energy independence.
I’ve long championed the need for the United States to get off OPEC oil and escape the economic and national security threats posed by that dependence. Since 2008, I have taken the Pickens Plan’s educational efforts and policy initiative strategies coast to coast and back again many times over. Once again, America simply must get on its own resources.
I’ve also supported a wide range of military support organizations — including the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, Fisher House projects, the T. Boone Pickens Military Mentors Program, Patriot Paws, the Veterans National Education Program, and Operation Mend — through the T. Boone Pickens Foundation.
I am always evaluating ways to support these two key interests – especially when they come together in such a powerful way. These two interests successfully met through a 2014 investment in Mesa Natural Gas Solutions in Casper, Wyoming.
I have a great affinity for the word “Mesa.” I grew Mesa Petroleum into one of the nation’s largest independent oil companies. My 68,000-acre Mesa Vista Ranch, in the far northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle, is my favorite place on earth. A number of my other concerns, including Mesa Natural Gas Solutions, have also born the name.
U.S. military veterans founded Mesa Natural Gas Solutions and comprise more than 60 percent of its employees. The company has more than 200 years of combined military service and more than 30 overseas deployments in its ranks, all the way up to the top. Mesa’s President and CEO, Scott Gromer, retired after 23 plus years of military service, including two unit commands, three deployments in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and as Major in the Wyoming Army National Guard. Mesa not only hires, employs, and promotes both veterans and active duty service members, but the company also supports them however it can.
Mesa Natural Gas Solutions provides clean, reliable power and other ancillary services primarily to the oil and gas industry by utilizing natural gas directly from the wellhead. Mesa provides turn-key energy solutions to its customers through services contracts that are inclusive of equipment, maintenance, service, setup, and transportation. Natural gas generators are money-savers and easier on the environment. Most diesel-powered generators require site fuel delivery three times a week; the natural gas alternatives do not require fuel deliveries, as they receive their fuel directly from the wellhead. Natural gas generators, which have much lower emissions than comparable diesel units, also reduce the amount of gas wasted as flare gas at well sites. So, the process is cleaner, more economic, and requires less truck traffic to the site.
One of my life-long regrets was the inability to serve in the military. The timing never worked for me. I was too young for World War II. By the time of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, I had young children and was deeply involved in growing Mesa Petroleum. I’ve tried to compensate over the years by giving enthusiastically to programs and organizations that benefit those who have put their lives on the line for this great nation.
Mesa Natural Gas Solutions walks the talk with its vets. If an employee deploys, he or she receives full pay and benefits for the duration of the deployment. All service members currently serving in the National Guard or Reserves receive full pay while gone for military training/duties, and are guaranteed that his or her exact job will be available upon return. The company offers flexible scheduling to accommodate service and training obligations, even without notice. Full retirement, medical, dental, and vision benefits are provided during deployment. Employees accrue vacation and sick time during deployment.
Beyond these steps, the company is proactive in finding ways to support the spouses and families of its soldiers while they are deployed. For example, the company’s leadership team regularly attends — in full force — award and honor ceremonies for military members to show its support in its community.
Their commitment to veterans has not gone unnoticed. I’m proud that Mesa Natural Gas Solutions was among the 15 recipients Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced as 2017 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award winners. The Freedom Award recognizes employers who have gone above and beyond federal requirements in support of National Guard and Reserve employees. Mesa will be among those employers recognized in a ceremony at the Pentagon on August 25th.
For this, I salute them.