Clear Creek in Columbiana County prospers

By Burton Speakman

New WATERford

Persistence and an unwillingness to say “no” led to the rapid expansion of a Columbiana County company, its officials said.

About a year ago, Clear Creek had only one or two trucks and a handful of employees, but after getting its start trucking materials for the oil-and-gas industry last July, it has grown to 20 trucks and 50 drivers, said owner Scott McCrea. Clear Creek is part of the company that owns Dynamic Structures Inc., SouthWest Fuels, and C&K Petroleum.

It’s difficult to get started as a subcontractor for the oil and gas companies operating in the area, he said.

“I probably got kicked off of every drill site in the area at least three times,” McCrea said. “The companies tell you politely what paperwork you need to fill out and then ask you to leave.”

The key is getting a contact and finding someone with whom to work. Then once a company is certified and works with one company, it can work for any company, he said.

“It takes employees who are willing to work hours and work odd hours,” he noted.

The Youngstown/ Warren Regional Chamber is working to make the process easier for local companies to get involved in the oil and gas business, said Tony Paglia, vice president of government affairs for the chamber. Initially, the chamber was helping to make introductions to local companies that had the ability to provide services to the industry, he said.

The chamber hosted the Youngstown Ohio Utica and Natural Gas Conference and Expo as a way for potential suppliers and companies to make connections, said Eric Planey, vice president of international business attraction at the chamber.

Though growth has been quick for Clear Creek, it has occurred gradually, McCrea said.

“We don’t just buy a bunch of trucks and a bunch of drivers. We buy a couple of trucks and hire four to six drivers. Then we get them trained, and we start the process again,” he said.

The companies looking for drivers want safety to be the first priority, McCrea said. They don’t want any crashes, and they don’t want to see anyone get hurt.

There still is a significant amount of growth in many industries that will occur related to oil and gas, Planey said.

The supply side won’t be the only growth. There also will be white-collar jobs in the field offices, and the companies will be hiring geologists and engineers from Youngstown State University, Planey said.

What people do not realize is this is just the tip. Things aren’t really going to get going for a few more years, he said.

The key for any other companies that want to work within the oil-and-gas industry is persistence, McCrea said.

Hopefully, more local companies will get involved, he said. The more local companies that get involved in the supply chain will result in more local money being reinvested within the community. The big national companies are going to take a lot of their money and purchase supplies elsewhere.

“I go to my local suppliers and tell them what I need. I’ve already reinvested millions of dollars locally,” McCrea said.

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