Good news for Tulsaâ€™s economy and it comes from what seems like an unlikely source, the energy sector. "SemGroup" is a Tulsa-based oil and gas company that started just 5 years ago, but has grown rapidly through acquisitions.
As News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg tells us, their latest will move 100 jobs from Wichita to Tulsa.
Meltdown is how many describe what happened to the energy sector in 2001 and 2002. Tulsa's own Williams Companies nearly went bankrupt during the period. Luckily, one of the companies ready to pick up the pieces was Tulsa-based.
"During that meltdown period, we had the opportunity to buy some smaller, cash-flowing, good, successful businesses, where these companies needed to sell businesses because they had to raise capital to protect companies they could not sell." In just 5 years, president Tom Kivisto says SemGroup's revenues have gone from less than $1-billion to more than $12-billion.
The latest acquisition, SemGroup's 28th, will move Koch Materials headquarters from Wichita to Tulsa. Oklahoma's Secretary of Commerce Kathy Taylor: "They fit perfectly with Tulsa's rich oil-and-gas heritage and that heritage is important for many reasons, one of which, it's one of the highest paying jobs in the state."
SemGroup says the move means about 100 new jobs for Tulsa, with a $10-million payroll, which works out to an average salary of $80,000 per year. SemGroup will now have a total of about 200 people in Tulsa. Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune: "They've also acquired companies in Tulsa over the past couple of years that have saved and retained high-quality, high paying jobs in Tulsa and highly-skilled professionals in Tulsa, Williams Propane is an example."
Kivisto, a Kansan, says he likes Tulsa for the schools, the quality of life, and the climate and for something others have criticized, the air service. "Number One, we love this area, it's a beautiful area, we live in south Tulsa with rolling hills, beautiful trees, it's a beautiful area, we love the lake, going up to Grand Lake and we love access to the airport, it's easy to get in and out of. They have great routes, it's gets us to just all the locations that we've got to fly to."