Armed with a business plan more than a decade ago, Tom McQueary and Daryl Archuleta set about looking for capital to start their company. Their first meeting with an equity group was set. What happened next changed the course of daily life in America as well as set the stage for the culture of the company that was to become TriStar Global Energy Solutions (GES).
BIC Magazine recently visited with McQueary, president of TriStar GES, to discuss the company’s inception and growth.
Q: What led you to start your company?
A: I come from a family of entrepreneurs. I always enjoyed working in energy service, which I have been in 25 years now. Daryl and I found it attractive because it was such a foundational business to the fabric of enterprise regardless of where it occurs around the globe.
Our first company, TriStar PetroServ, focused on tank cleaning and waste minimization. Though capital intensive, a start-up could quickly find success in it by being industrious and innovative and could work directly for Fortune companies even as a small company, as long as you focused on safe operations above all and had a commitment to integrity, honesty and quality.
We started in 2002 with our first and second customers being ConocoPhillips and Sunoco. After that, we had steady growth by working throughout their systems and diversifying into other integrated refiners, pipeline terminal operators and power generators.
Q: What was your biggest start-up hardship?
A: We started looking for capital in late 2001. Our first meeting with an equity group for capital was scheduled for Sept. 12, 2001, but a much bigger event was to occur the day before. Surprisingly enough, the equity group still met with us, but they were on a temporary hold for any start-up investments. It wasn’t until the end of first quarter 2002 we received a financial commitment from a lender that enabled us to get off the ground. Due to the uncertain times, we were only able to get a fraction of what we thought we needed to start the company. It was a blessing in disguise because it caused us to question every dollar we spent, and it forced us to seek out innovative, lower cost ways to accomplish our plans. That early lesson led us to develop a culture of cost efficiency that became engrained in our organization and that we still pass on to our customers today in the way we strive to operate.
Q: What is the biggest news at TriStar GES right now?
A: It is the astounding growth in U.S. production creating opportunities for domestically operating contractors like us. We have two companies operating globally, so the international growth is also big along with the success of our new service for cleaning crude tanks globally called FastEntry™ — a combination of equipment and process chemistry that allows us to clean crude oil tanks in 60-percent less time than currently available best practices.
Q: Do you have any plans to grow your business through mergers and acquisitions?
A: We are very open minded to opportunities in both the United States and globally. We made our first acquisition — Zyme-Flow® Decon Technologies — in 2006, and it has been successful almost from day one.
One of the unrecognized benefits that occurs from an acquisition is that you bring new human capital into your business. It isn’t just growing to grow. It is growing to make a better organization — a better place for people to be.
Q: What has been the most pivotal moment of your career?
A: Adopting my two daughters from China in 2002 and 2005. They put a face to the tremendous responsibility we had to grow our business responsibly and safely. It caused me also to think about our staff, which now numbers more than 200, and the responsibilities my business partner and I have to them as well every day.
For more information, visit www.TristarGES.com or call (281) 484-2201.