Surface Equipment in Kilgore, Texas, Returns to U.S. Ownership

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Plans are to grow the company 100% in three years.

"Our crew's work ethic has never been questioned."

SEC Employee Welding a Pressure Vessel

The company enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the Kilgore Economic Development Corporation, calling them, “incredible to work with; a business-friendly group and a business-friendly community.

Returning to Local Ownership

Excitement is flowing through Surface Equipment Corporation in Kilgore as the oil and gas equipment company recently returned to local ownership.

In 2007 owner Bart Owens sold SEC to ITP Energy of Rome, Italy. The company remained profitable, doubling in size over the last three years under the leadership of SEC president Stephen McLemore. When ITP was looking to unload the state-side operation late last year, they knew who to turn to.

“The chairman of the board asked me if I wanted to buy the company or put together a group to buy the company and of course I said, ‘Absolutely yes. Because we believe in the company; we love the company; we love the industry; and we love Kilgore. I called some people I knew, and they were very interested and happy to bring it back to local ownership.”

Positive Business Climate of Kilgore, Texas
McLemore is also happy with where SEC is based. The company enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the Kilgore Economic Development Corporation, calling them, “incredible to work with; a business-friendly group and a business-friendly community.” But he also puts special stock in his employees — some of whom have worked for SEC since the ‘80s.

“We have a good work culture, a positive crew, and a real forward-thinking group,” he said. “I think everybody here takes a bit of ownership in the company and that’s important- top down. Everybody has a little bit of responsibility, like it’s a little bit theirs.

McLemore and his crew’s work ethic have never been questioned. “We grew when the market was down,” he explained, citing focus, hard work and a dedicated group of workers who are, “aggressive and always have an eye for improvement.” However, being part of an ownership group that is willing to put money in rather than pull profit out, McLemore is expecting exponential increases down the pipe. From facility upgrades to increased capacity in the shops to hiring more workers to fill a round-the-clock rotation, McLemore sees growth as a given. “When I say we’re looking to double in size again in the next three years, I mean it. In fact, I might be upset if we don’t hit it in three years,” he said.

As the “guy at the helm,” McLemore’s enthusiasm for SEC is nearly uncappable. “I’m so excited I can’t sleep at night,” he said. “I get up in the morning and fly out of the bed. I can’t WAIT to go to work. It’s ridiculous. I feel (badly) for my wife.”

About SEC: Surface Equipment Corporation (SEC) was established in 1985 and is based in Kilgore, Texas. SEC provides custom process system design and fabrication of pressure vessels and other process equipment which are built in accordance with the requirements of the ASME Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII Div 1 and Div 2. SEC assists in the design and manufacturing of vessels. The company has successfully focused on providing quality products, outstanding service, and on-time deliveries.

About KEDC: Kilgore Economic Development Corporation is an organization founded in 1990 and funded by a dedicated sales tax approved by voters. It is directed by a five-person board and managed by a staff of four with certifications in business retention and expansion, economic and community development and economic development finance. KEDC has won international awards for excellence in economic development.

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