The Nation’s 2018 “Fastest-Growing Manufacturer” Calls Tulsa Home
Named for a 19th-century Osage Chief out of Claremore, Oklahoma, Big Elk Energy was deemed the “Fastest Growing Manufacturer” in the U.S. in 2018, according to Inc., Magazine — an award that still proudly hangs on the wall of their offices in West Tulsa. Big Elk just celebrated their fifth year in business and are on track to nearly double their workforce over the next two years.
The natural gas equipment manufacturer boasts of superior engineering and a streamlined production process that reduces cost and turnaround time for their clients. Their facility’s 12-acre campus is home to a 100,000 square foot factory with three fabrication areas, a fully-stocked warehouse along with a paint booth. They pride themselves as being “large enough to handle major projects, yet small enough to provide custom service and high quality…”. Their beginnings weren’t always so promising, though.
Almost immediately after launching, Big Elk Energy faced an uphill battle. Due to several challenges and a struggling economy, contracts for equipment manufacturing were not easily won. According to Big Elk Energy CEO, Geoff Hagar, there were “…multiple occasions where we should not have made it.” Big Elk had begun in one of the most significant slumps in a generation. Getting by was the mission of the company’s debut years.
“I remember waking up in the morning, my only medical insurance was praying that God would keep my family healthy because if anyone had a significant medical incident, it was bankruptcy,” Hagar told Tulsa’s Channel 8 reporters.
The company got a bit of a break in 2016 after landing a job to work on the 713-mile Rover Pipeline. Still, once production was completed on the project, times became tough all over again. Still, with innovations in their processes as well as marketing practices, the Tulsa-based company has had to expand from what was a 15-person team to over 100. Big Elk currently employs 115 employees and was estimated to have made nearly $32 million in 2019. According to the Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce, Big Elk experienced triple-digit growth.
“We are in the process of expanding internationally,” Hagar told KWGS reporters. “I would tell you that if we’re not $100-million-plus in revenue by 2023, I’ll consider myself a failure.”
Big Elk Energy is one of many Tulsa, OK commercial success stories. The city’s rich culture, low cost of living, and the Midwestern congeniality of its residents make it an ideal home for any aspiring or established business.
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