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When a customer calls PESCO for a product, they can be guaranteed their technical sales representative knows what he is talking about. Tony Atencio has been in the oil and gas industry since 1990 and he went to work for PESCO in 1996 as a Field Service Technician before having the opportunity to move into Sales Department 2003.

“I’ve been on the drilling side of things and on the production side of things,” Atencio said, adding he was a dehydration specialist before coming to work for PESCO. He has the equipment knowledge. He knows how they operate.  “One of the things that helps me is seeing all those different types of equipment from the San Juan to the Permian, to DJ, Powder River, and the Bakken. They all use different types of equipment. Every producer is different, but they’re all trying to achieve the same thing.”

Atencio is an outside technical sales representative. “There’s not much I don’t do. I sit on the design team. I do a lot of technical trouble shooting, customer relations, and I’ll even sweep and mop the floors at times.”

For Atencio, it’s all about the relationships with his coworkers and his clients.

“In the past we’ve done employee appreciation barbecues for the day and night shifts. We’ll cook burgers, sometimes steaks for them. I’ve been one of the main cooks which is fun,” Atencio said. “Everybody is important to us. We are all a team. I can’t do my job without them.”

He stays in continual communication with more than 30 companies, and then receives inquiries from new and existing companies that might be potential clients. “There are companies out there that we are looking to do business with, and I’m making contact with them.”

Atencio is a people person, and he loves to talk. “I love to make friends.  In fact, I’ve made some great friends, whether they’re purchasing equipment from me or not,” he said, adding many of those relationships carry on outside of the company. “One of the things about my job that I enjoy the most is dealing with the different companies and their representatives – it is all about the relationships. We’ve built some amazing relationships.”

Atencio will call customers whether they are buying equipment from PESCO or not, but when they do buy equipment from PESCO, the service is unmatched. “The quality of PESCO equipment is second to none.  We are known for the quality of the equipment we manufacture.  We pride ourselves on being a strong Christian-based company.  Those values are represented in everything we do.”

Part of building those relationships is encouraging the customers to come and visit PESCO. “We encourage surprise visits. Once the customer visits PESCO – the shop, the people, the environment – they say that doesn’t happen with other manufacturers and vendors they go to. We talk to everybody out there. They talk to us, and we joke with them. Everybody is important.”

Atencio said there is an open-door policy and customers can talk to any and all employees when they visit.

Once a product is sold, it must be designed, Atencio said there are certain conditions from the customer that have to be met. “We now are going to sit down, based on what the customer has given us, and we are going to design a vessel to meet their needs,” he said.

“We will review it with the customer, and if they see changes that need to be made, we will make changes until they are happy with it and it’s exactly what they want,” Atencio said. “Then, we will start the manufacturing process.”

According to Atencio, when PESCO looked at building Lease Automatic Custody transfer units, they had to be exact. PESCO’s electrical team designed them, and “it led to PESCO being able to offer those regularly now.”

One of Atencio’s other titles is trainer, and he has traveled throughout the Rocky Mountain region training PESCO’s customers on separation and dehydration controls. “It’s about educating our customers on how things operate and what to look for in troubleshooting,” he said. “I talk clients through a lot of things over the phone.”

Every workday is different for him, because he might get a call from a customer on an RFQ, or have an over-the-counter sale come in. “I may get a call with questions about a piece of equipment or it could be a customer needing information on how to install it,” Atencio said.   For Atencio, working at PESCO is all about seeing the company and its employees succeed. “I don’t look at my job as being about me,” he said. “We are a team.   I’m selling equipment for everybody who works here- from maintenance, to the shop floor. They all have families, we want everybody to be successful.”

Watson Benally – PESCO Plant Superintendent

Watson Benally’s life is one etched deep with experience, trial, and triumph.

Watson learned, at the young age of 13, the importance of hard work.  His father would wake him in the early hours of the morning to work irrigation pipes in Idaho. He said his father taught him great work ethic. It was one of the greatest gifts he ever gave him.

 As he grew up, Watson excelled in high school with good grades and as a disciplined athlete. The summer leading to his junior year, Watson worked to save enough money to buy his first vehicle, a 1966 Chevrolet. This proud accomplishment soon became a distraction and led to poor decisions.  He started hanging out with the “wrong crowd” and began to experiment with alcohol. Soon he dropped out of school. Watson dealt with shame for letting his coaches, teachers, and peers down, making it difficult to return. He was always a natural leader, which made it hard to face those who looked up to him and those who knew he was capable of more.

Toward the end of the Vietnam Era, at the age of 18, Watson enlisted in the Marines.  He made many friends with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He enjoyed the travel he experienced and the friendships he formed with his comrades. The excellent work ethic instilled by his father quickly earned Watson the respect of his superiors. He had a close-knit group of brothers in the military. “We had each other’s backs.”, he said.

After serving his term and returning to civilian life, he began having difficulty coping.  He found himself alone and unable to obtain a job.  Watson delved deeper into alcohol to cope.  For the next several years, he struggled to find stability, having lost everything, he found himself in one of the darkest seasons of his life. He was homeless, living on the streets.  It was during this time that he met his wife, Katherine.  Sharing the same addiction, they found themselves battling together to find their way back to a meaningful life.

Watson said one day he looked at himself in the mirror and said, “I better get my act together.” He set his mind to finding a job. Watson worked in a lumber yard, in the oil field, doing farm labor, anywhere he could get hired. He was not satisfied with odd jobs and decided, with his G.I. Bill nearing expiration, he would enroll at Utah Technical College, earning his certification in welding.

In 1982 Watson dedicated his life to Jesus Christ. Through his faith, his life began to change for the better. And in July of 1990, he started his career at PESCO beginning as a tank welder. Watson said, “Welding is an art, and I was not a natural.” But he didn’t give up and became a proficient welder. It was not long before Watson was moved to various departments throughout the plant, each time, working his way to leadership positions. He became the Night Shift Superintendent and was in that position for 15 years. More recently, he became the Assistant Plant Superintendent, and for the past year, he has held the position of Plant Superintendent. When he was offered this position, he wondered how he would fill such big shoes.  After some time of reflection and realizing all the places he has led through life, he decided he would simply be himself.  He referenced General Chesty Puller, who ate with his troops. Watson chooses to be an approachable leader.

Watson said although he was offered opportunities at the mine and other local companies, he never left PESCO.  He has great respect for the Rhodes family and how they conduct business with strong Christian values. “PESCO intentionally invests in their employees.”, he said.  He appreciates the resources PESCO has provided to develop him as a leader; the books, tools, training, etc.

During one of his most difficult moments, when his wife became ill, the PESCO family was a major support. He reminisced about a time while in Albuquerque caring for Katherine; this was one of his lowest points, and the women from the HR department showed up. He said it really lifted his spirits. They spent time visiting with him and gave him an envelope with a collection taken by the PESCO family to help him out.  PESCO stepped up in ways that are uncommon in most workplaces. Watson lost his beloved Katherine 6 years ago, and the PESCO family was a true support system. “I work with a lot of good people here at PESCO. I am grateful for the comradery I have in humble men like Larry Baugh and Scott Payne. They were instrumental in paving the way for me to become part of the PESCO leadership team .” PESCO is a company that believes in second chances. Watson hopes that in sharing his story, he would encourage someone dealing with addiction or hopelessness.  There is a hope and a future, “just do not give up.”

PESCO has an onsite electrical department that can offer complete turnkey packages for its clients. “This has made us a better company. It’s standard that we quote and build instrumentation and electrical on most of the equipment we manufacture,” PESCO’s Master Electrician D.J. Martinez said.  

Martinez was hired in 2014, when PESCO began developing its electrical department. Management wanted someone who could come in and build it from the ground up. That person needed be a master electrician. The company found what they were looking for in D.J. Martinez.

D.J. came to the company with a varied background in electrical work.  As a Master Electrician, he is licensed in Colorado and New Mexico.  He currently is working on his master electrician license in Texas.

“Each state is different for licensure. Requirements include several years working under a Journeyman and getting a Journeyman license. Then you must build up hours and take the test,” Martinez said. “It takes about six to eight years.”

Martinez came from a family of electricians. “My dad started his own business in the ’70s,” Martinez said. “As kids we would go help him during the summers and on weekends. We would do whatever jobs we could.”

D.J., along with his brother Joseph Jr., and Daniel, all worked with their dad, Joseph Martinez. “When we got older, we kind of had burnout, but we realized it was a chance to earn a living and get paid. I was the first to jump into it.”  They all now work as electricians.

When Martinez came to PESCO, he had already worked for several other companies and had varied skills. “I learned to do special systems, like voice, video, data, and fire alarm systems.” He was a perfect fit.  Not only had he worked all over the country as an electrician, but he also worked in the oilfield as a master electrician running crews for Foutz and Bursom. 

“I’ve been in the industry full time for 28 years,” Martinez said.

Building an electrical department from the ground up was a welcome challenge, giving Martinez an opportunity to put that experience to use. He began by quoting equipment with the electrical equipment and instrumentation. “We had to develop company standards on the electrical,” he said. “This is how we build things. This is how we do it. Prints had to be drawn up in a certain way to meet code.”

Martinez worked with project engineers and drafting to build those standards. This meant that every time PESCO built a skid with electrical instrumentation, it would meet codes and customer requirements. “I had to build PESCO standards to supersede everyone’s standards,” he explained.

After six years, Martinez said nearly every skid is quoted with instrumentation and electrical and he oversees the instrumentation electrical equipment design and installation. “I work on the design and drafting and make sure everything is right for the customers approval,” he said, adding that he also helps with materials for the purchasing agent.

“I have crews in the shop that I oversee. They do the instrumentation and electrical for all the skids that we work on,” Martinez said.

Sometimes, the job includes having Martinez set up the unit onsite. Being licensed allows him to do field service work in instrumentation and electrical in both Colorado and New Mexico. “That is added value for our customers. We can perform maintenance and troubleshoot problems,” he said.  Just recently, D.J. led a team of PESCO Field Service personnel to help a key customer troubleshoot and startup an advanced process skid.  The customer expressed their appreciation for the help and the level of expertise we were able to provide. Martinez currently has a crew of about 10, and he says that he honestly loves his job. “I grew up with my brothers doing electrical work. Here at PESCO it’s kind of the same mindset,” he said. “It feels like family – like when I was working, when I was younger – that’s what makes it fun. I like my job.”

As an employee of PESCO for almost 28 years, Tom Lewis has experienced opportunities he had never considered. He is one who keeps his nose to the grindstone, doing his best to become proficient in every department he has worked. This dedication to excellence has opened doors to numerous departments here at PESCO.    

Tom began with PESCO as a welder, and after nine months he took a position as a supervisor in the tank shop. From there, he went on to become a supervisor in the assembly department. With his drive to learn new skills, and quickly recognizing that computers were the choice tool of the workplace, in 2009 he began taking computer classes at San Juan College. It was this decision that led him to earn a degree in drafting.

Tom’s career development, since joining PESCO, has included learning to work as a part of a team and leading a team. Through his years at PESCO, he has learned to identify and empower the people who can do a job well and take the time to train others to the same level of proficiency. He shared a moment that revolutionized his approach to supervising his team. After discussing a project with his then-supervisor Keith Tucker, Tom commented that he would “push his guys to get the job done”.  Keith stopped him and said, “Don’t push them, lead them.” From that moment on, he changed his approach and led his team to become more productive and synergetic.  

John Buckles, Project Manager at PESCO, reflected on Tom’s decision to make a change in his career. He said Tom came to his office one day asking about drafting.  John encouraged him to enroll in the Drafting Program at San Juan College, saying he would have a position upon graduation.  At the time, John was head of the Drafting Department at PESCO and an adjunct instructor at San Juan College in the evenings. He said, “Tom had a real edge in the class because he was already very knowledgeable about the equipment.” And as promised, Tom was offered a position as a drafter after receiving his degree. He has been a draftsman at PESCO for the past 10 years. John went on to say, “Tom is a top-notch guy.  He has high values and is a good example of a PESCO employee.”

When asked what a typical day at PESCO is for him, Tom said, “It’s awesome!  There is ease and efficiency as I clearly understand my responsibilities.” He expressed confidence in the leadership of PESCO saying, “Kyle Rhodes (President and CEO) does a good job staying ahead of the game in our industry.  There is great communication regarding what’s expected here at PESCO.”

Tom takes much of what he has learned here at PESCO and applies it in his personal life.  He utilizes improved communication skills, safety practices, as well as organizational systems.  Overall, he says, it makes life better. His favorite pastime is caring for his horses.  “If my grandkids ever ask me to take them fishing, I wouldn’t know how, but I do know horses,” he said with a chuckle. What Tom appreciates most about working for PESCO is the mutual respect, good training practices, and the raising up of leaders. He emphatically stated, “I love it here! PESCO is my second home.”

Henry Sandoval has been part of the PESCO family for over 25 years. He started in the days when PESCO was still a small family-run company.

Henry’s exemplary qualities are quite evident- problem solver, visionary, and teacher.  “The values at PESCO- Mutual Respect & Trust, Integrity, and Commitment to Excellence– truly resonate with him.  Kyle Rhodes, President and CEO of PESCO said “Henry is one of those people who defines PESCO.”

Henry began his career with PESCO as a pipefitter and today he works in the Training Department. When asked how he would describe his experience with PESCO, he said, “It’s a good place to work.  PESCO has always treated me right- they’ve always been good to me.”  Henry went on to say what he appreciates most: “PESCO treats their employees like family.  They do a lot to support their employees.”

Henry brings value to the company regularly by recognizing ways to make processes run more efficiently. He participated in implementing the “Five S System,” which helps organize the workspace and increase productivity. Henry is constantly asked for insight on various projects and, at times, has offered recommendations during the engineering process.

Henry is passionate about his work at PESCO and has a real gift for imparting wisdom and knowledge to those willing to learn. Kyle said, “What I admire about Henry is he is always teaching, he is always equipping, and he is always very positive. His attitude when helping others is just phenomenal. Henry is one of the most knowledgeable people that PESCO has ever had in service.” Henry mentioned two mentors he is very grateful to have worked with:  Blake Wallace and Allan Hawbecker.  He said, “I learned a lot from these two men.”

One of Henry’s proudest moments with PESCO was the expansion project that led to expansion of the manufacturing footprint.  He had long anticipated this expansion and was proud to be a part of seeing it come to fruition.  “Before that, we had to work out in the cold.  It meant a lot to see the enclosed structure when it was built.” Once this growth happened, better equipment was brought in for the crew, and he was happy for them.

Henry’s eyes lit up when asked about his family.  He and his wife, Anita, have been married for 43 years and have raised five children, of whom Henry is very proud.  In his spare time, Henry enjoys being with his family.   One special memory he reminisced about was trips to watch his girls play softball and said that his son is now a registered nurse in Albuquerque. He looks forward to summer trips to watch his grandkids play fastpitch softball once the COVID restrictions are lifted.

In his spare time, Henry’s hobbies include building small utility trailers and storage sheds.

When asked what the future holds for him, Henry said he still has a few years before retiring.  He is still deciding what that time will look like for him. Perhaps he will have a small shop where he builds utility trailers, possibly work with the family livestock, or travel with Anita.

It was evident that Henry has a keen sense of the importance of PESCO’s drive to diversity. Being in the oil and gas industry for over 43 years, he is all too familiar with the highs and lows.  Henry acknowledged that “with more irons in the fire, PESCO will always have something to fall back on.”  

Henry trains many of those employees who begin their careers at PESCO.  Henry said he advises new employees to “learn as much as you can at PESCO.  If you are in one department, go beyond that and expand your knowledge. PESCO is a great place to learn.  We have some knowledgeable people here at PESCO who are willing to teach you new things.  People are not always given that experience or opportunity to learn in other companies.” Henry would like to thank PESCO for giving him the chance to work for them.  PESCO has come a long way, and he is grateful to be a part of it.

Daniel Gamboa sat down in the chair, looked down at his hands, then said, quietly, “PESCO saved my life.”

Daniel is celebrating nine years of sobriety – an addiction that he struggled with for 20 years. During those 20 years, Daniel became known in the community – known as an addict by local law enforcement. He also found a new place to live –  he spent four years in prison in Las Cruces for robbing a drug dealer and was charged for residential burglary and conspiracy.

Life changed for Daniel when he decided he wanted to use his skills as a welder and work for PESCO. He passed the mandated drug test and was hired as a code welder. Six months later, however, Daniel tested positive for meth. Linda Rodgers, PESCO’s Chief Financial Officer, said Daniel was tested because of a “reasonable suspicion” of drug usage.

“A friend cared about me enough to turn me in,” Daniel said. “I lied to my supervisor (about doing drugs), but the test came back dirty, as I knew it would.”

The Human Resources Department at PESCO told Daniel that they cared about him as a person and as an employee and encouraged him to get treatment. They offered him a position if he recovered and wanted to return to the company.

“I wanted out of here and I left,” Daniel said. “Six months later, I was right back where I started (doing drugs). I went to Overcomers (a support program) and I lied to them about my usage, but they saw right through that. They said I would need a year of counseling and I agreed.”

While Daniel wanted to change his life and win his battle with drugs, the lure of the drugs remained strong.

“I figured I’d do what they wanted me to do, then I’d go back to doing what I wanted to do,” Daniel admitted.

During the six months he continued doing drugs, Daniel lost a friend to an overdose and was known by the local gang task force. On February 11, 2012, Daniel hit rock bottom. He knew he had to change – for himself and for his family. Daniel went to his garage, where he kept a small container that he used to mix his drugs. He looked at the small amount of drugs he had left, and he thought it wouldn’t hurt to use, one last time.

“I thought I could use (drugs) right now, and nobody would know,” Daniel said, explaining that he never used drugs in the presence of his wife or his children, out of respect and his love for them. Thinking of his family, Daniel made a decision. “I flushed them all. That’s the day I won my battle with drugs.”

“I was done putting my wife and children through this,” Daniel said of his addition. “I called PESCO and asked if the offer of coming back still stood. They said yes, and I returned in June of 2012.”

PESCO was happy to have Daniel return – and that he beat the demon who had haunted him for 20 years.

“PESCO has a history of helping people,” said Chief Financial Officer Linda Rodgers. “God has blessed PESCO and during its 50 years in business, has helped countless people through tough times.  PESCO doesn’t just want it’s employees to be successful at work, but in life.”

Watson Benally is a friend and supervisor who works with Daniel and was glad to see him return to work.

“Daniel Gamboa is a man of God; a great leader; full of energy, humble; compassionate; great heart who loves to work with  the youth in our community and the people here at PESCO,” said  Watson.

Daniel’s recovery process included going to church with his wife and children. “I got on my knees and I surrendered my life to God,” Daniel said. “I told God I needed his help with my more than 20 years of addiction.”

PESCO also contributed to Daniel’s recovery. In addition to supporting him and encouraging his continued growth with the company, it also helped his family.

“PESCO gave my wife her husband back and my kids their dad back,” Daniel said of PESCO’s support in his recovery. “That’s the reason I love this company. God changed my life and now I can be the person I always wanted to be.”

“I see life as a puzzle,” Daniel said. “Each piece represents when we were born and when we die, and God puts the puzzle together. God uses all we’ve been through in our puzzle and it is because of God’s grace that he has used me.”

Daniel also had the support and love of his wife, who is a major piece in his life puzzle. “I would describe my wife, Shaundale, as a woman of God,” Daniel said. “When I went to prison, she was the sole provider and a single parent for my kids. She stayed with me and she raised our kids to follow Christ. And she never lost faith in me.”

As a survivor of an addiction, Daniel knows that God opens doors and Oasis Church in Farmington was a door God opened for him.  He offers his insights, his encouragement, and his story with others at Oasis and at the San Juan County Detention Center. He is proud to be on the board of the church. As a survivor, Daniel’s life now revolves around his family, his church, and his commitment to help others.

His pride in his children is evident when he speaks of them. Rebekah is 22 and is a junior at New Mexico State University and “is my favorite, because she is my first born,” Daniel added with a grin. Nathan is 21 and is currently in the police academy. Erin, who is 20, is a youth pastor at Oasis Church, and Devyn is 17 and a junior at Farmington High School.

In his spare time, Daniel enjoys mountain biking with several friends, who share his faith. “I love biking,” he said. “When I’m biking, my only focus is on the ten feet in front of me. I can’t see the stresses or the worries in life; I just concentrate on riding and looking ahead.”

“I’m grateful God led me here, to PESCO,” Daniel said. “They gave me a second chance and God’s timing was perfect. They changed my life and the person I was. I hope I am always helping and speaking to those God puts in my path.”

For Linda Rodgers, Daniel has been more than a great employee – he is also a great friend.

“My husband was going through cancer treatment and Daniel stopped by my office to check on me,” Linda said. “I was humbled that he thought of me and shared a prayer with me.  It helped get me through a rough day.” 

“PESCO has given me the opportunity to advance and utilize my past to help others,” Daniel added. “The tools PESCO has given me include giving me the knowledge that everyone is going through something and my words can empower and bring out the best in people.”

PESCO’s website states the commitment the company has to its employees, its community, and the people it serves. “PESCO is not just a place to work. It’s a place to build better lives and communities.”

Daniel Gamboa is grateful that PESCO gave him a second change to build a better life for his family and himself – and to share his story with those in his community who can benefit from it. Daniel embraces PESCO’s emphasis on integrity and knows he must live it. “Integrity is always doing the right thing, even when you know no one else is looking.”

The security team at PESCO has 80 years of combined law enforcement experience between its four employees – all of whom retired from state and local law enforcement agencies.

The team was built by retired New Mexico State Police Officer Max Salas, who was hired in August 2019 and tasked with building a competent team focused on “protecting life and property” at the company’s facility on Bloomfield Highway.

“I began by hiring retired police officers,” Salas said. “So far it’s been great.”

Salas brought in longtime friend and co-worker Paul Gonzales, who made the decision to retire, based on the opportunity to work for PESCO. “Max told me they were starting up a security team,” Gonzales said. “When this opened up, I made the decision.”

Retired Farmington Police Detective Paul Martinez and retired Farmington Police Officer Chad Herrera joined the team as well.

Salas said when he started, upper management wanted to address safety on the site, where there were actual crimes occurring. With more than 400 employees, the team was dealing with stolen property, drinking on the job, domestic violence, “all types of shenanigans.”

“They also wanted to address the issue of active shooters,” Salas said, adding this was in response to the Aztec High School shooting, as well as other shootings around the country.

The retired officers came in as armed security officers, which according to Herrera, “provided a sense of security of PESCO employees as well.”

With trained law enforcement on site, Salas said, “the calls for service from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office have gone way down. We’re handling things here instead of bringing in a deputy from off the street.”

Safety is not the only aspect of these officer’s job descriptions. The entire PESCO workforce is a team from upper management down, and the employees are considered members of the extended family. This is apparent in the relationship between members of the security team, as well as in the service they provided to the employees. Martinez told of how he has changed employees’ tires, unlocked car doors, when employees leave their keys inside and just provide help wherever and whenever it is needed.

“We have jumper cables, so when your car doesn’t start you have somebody, who can help you,” said Gonzales. “We interact with the employees to build that mutual respect.”

Herrera added, “We’ve taken a lot of responsibility from the employees, such as securing the buildings, locking doors and setting alarms.”

They also like to keep the atmosphere light, joking with one another. “Real men work 12-hour shifts at PESCO,” Martinez joked, as all four expressed their appreciation for the company. “PESCO treats us good. We appreciate them letting us work here.”

The security team also has kept the facility open and functioning during the COVID-19 Pandemic. “A lot of things changed,” Salas said.

First there were layoffs, and people were not happy. “We had to stand by with Human Resources,” Salas said, adding security helped to defuse situations and make certain that people left the premises peacefully. All four of them had taken Crisis Intervention Training, while employed as police officers, so they have the skills to lessen the stress that can occur in a crisis.

“It was a time of uncertainty and confusion, and they kept things under control,” PESCO Chief Financial Officer Linda Rodgers said.

“Once we got layoffs out of the way, we had to man the gates – checking people in,” Salas said. They were tasked with verifying employment, checking identification from vendors, visitors and contractors. They also began taking temperatures and asking questions about a person’s health status for contact tracing purposes.

Just as with most businesses, some employees were placed in quarantine because of either contact with COVID or having contracted COVID. Upper management kept track of those individuals and security made certain, they did not return to work until they were given the all-clear for their health status.

Rodgers said their work helped to keep the business operational, during a time when some had to close their doors. “We are really fortunate to have this group of people on the security team, helping to keep us open and to feel safe and secure.”

Herrera said when people know they have to enter through armed security, they listen, and the security team is perceived as a good thing amongst staff. “We keep the integrity and professionalism at a very high standard here.” Rodgers echoed the sentiment. “They really are professional and courteous – top notch!”

Process Equipment & Service Company, Inc., also known as PESCO, is celebrating 50 years of service. This family-owned business has a foundation of leadership that is dedicated to service within the company and to the community. PESCO was founded in 1970, by Ed and Mary Lou Rhodes. Ed provided field service and pump repair, while Mary Lou handled the clerical duties and ran the parts counter. Ed had a vast knowledge of production equipment, which he translated into manufacturing, growing his company into an industry leader.

(historical photo of Ed & Mary Lou Rhodes)

Fifty years later, PESCO remains a part of the Rhodes family with Ed and Mary Lou’s sons Kyle and Jim managing it. “PESCO is all I’ve ever known. Working with mom and dad was fulfilling, interesting, and at times frustrating.  We had a closeness that I’ll always cherish,” PESCO President Kyle Rhodes said. “I’ll always remember how dad would model his faith as I would quite often catch him on his knees in prayer.”

(historical photo of Kyle Rhodes)

Kyle’s brother Jim is the vice president of engineering, quality management systems and research and development. “Working with my brother Jim has been phenomenal.  We make a great team because our gifts complement each other,” Kyle said. “We’re both degreed engineers, but Jim is easily the most intelligent and gifted engineer that I’ve ever been around. PESCO would not be here without his designs and expertise.”

(historical photo of Jim Rhodes)

Kyle said that he and Jim discussed coming back to Farmington and taking over the family business when they were in college, and they knew if it happened, they would do it as a team. “We knew we would be working 60-hour weeks, which has not changed much in the last 40 years, and our starting wage would be 30% less than other starting engineers,” he said. “We would have no retirement, and no health insurance.  But we knew we would have the ability to change things that needed to be changed and knew that the foundation of PESCO was built on strong Christian values.  It was a decision I have never regretted.”

(from left to right: Jim Rhodes & Kyle Rhodes)

Those Christian values have translated into the businesses core values of Integrity, Mutual Respect & Trust, and Commitment to Excellence, and when management at PESCO brings someone into the business as an employee, vendor or customer they share those same values, and that makes them family. The Rhodes like to say that “family is more than just blood.”  Every one of the company’s 218 manufacturing employees and 13 field service operations employees are part of the PESCO family, along with every vendor and customer.

PESCO even has an employee success manager on its team. Craig Curry says finding how he is able to make a difference in the lives of PESCO employees builds relationships that lead to trust and teamwork. It also opens the door to conversations of “assistance, care, and improvement,” which creates opportunities to celebrate successes.

(photo of Craig Curry at Horseshoe Bend, AZ)

“Every day seems like a fresh walk on a new trail to see what adventure we get to have,” Curry said. “Not every adventure is easy or fun, but it takes us to a new place where we get to see how service, sacrifice, and risk has made a difference for employees, customers, and community.”

Randy Large joined that adventure in November 2014, when he joined PESCO.

(photo of Randy Large)

“PESCO’s values of Mutual Respect and Trust, Integrity, and Commitment to Excellence have driven the success of this organization,” Chief Operating Officer Randy Large said. “That PESCO has thrived for 50 years is a testament to those values. I have been continually impressed with their adaptability, their quality, and the ability of their people to persevere through challenges.”

Prior to working at PESCO, Large’s focus was on leadership development and executive coaching. “The people of PESCO – some of them generational employees – have continuously impressed me with their dedication, talent, and hard work. I’ve never worked with an organization that had such a deep bench of experience and ability. When the opportunity to become Chief Operating Officer presented itself, I jumped at the chance to work with such a talented group of people.”

Large added that even the face of a crisis, such as a collapse in oil prices and a pandemic, the leadership team built by Kyle and Jim has helped see the company through. “Kyle and Jim have put together a remarkable team of leaders that communicate well, build consensus, and execute on the plans to address our many challenges. The trust and respect I have for my fellow PESCO employees inspire me every day to do the best job I can.” 

Chief Financial Officer Linda Rodgers echoed Large’s sentiment. “Our leadership team is a fantastic group of hard-working, talented, and honest people. We have faced many challenges together as a group and emerged stronger and better because of those challenges. I have tremendous respect for this team and am humbled by their dedication and commitment to PESCO,” she said.

(photo of Linda Rogers)

PESCO follows a model of servant leadership in its business design. “Servant leadership is what we try to model and teach here at PESCO.  Many people have the perception that Servant Leadership is the same as having the ‘monkeys run the zoo’ that perception could not be further from the truth,” Kyle said. “Servant leadership is about equipping, understanding, clear expectations, and accountability.  It’s about knowing where each individual is in their professional and personal life – situational leadership – and equipping them to continuously improve.”

The business is built on relationships, which are the bedrock of the team’s values. The customers know PESCO’s employees will do what they say and never compromise standards even when facing challenges. Those relationships are too important, and they are what has kept PESCO going for 50 years. There also is an engineering standard within the business that is always met. PESCO is known for its engineering, manufacturing and servicing production equipment for the oil and natural gas industry in the Rocky Mountains, Permian and Eagle Ford Basins and throughout the United States. The company has even branched out, partnering with BayoTech to develop onsite hydrogen production units.

Michelle Wilcox is one of PESCO’s engineers. She was born and raised in Farmington and was familiar with PESCO and its reputation for quality. “When the opportunity presented itself to work here, I jumped on it. I loved the idea of working for a family-owned business, where I could learn from experts and further my career while maintaining a work-life balance,” she said. “I love PESCO’s dedication to employees and the community, and it’s fun to be part of an organization that is always adapting, improving, and striving to provide the best value for our customers.”

(from left to right, PESCO Engineers, Leanna Martinez and Michelle Wilcox)

PESCO is always ready to meet the customers’ needs by manufacturing the best equipment available in the industry to meet their needs. “We will always tell you the truth.  If there is a problem, we will let you know and work with you to resolve it.  We will deliver on-time, within the budget.  We know we are a small part of a larger mission for the companies we work with, and we want to ensure we are doing everything in our power to meet their equipment needs,” Rodgers said.

It is no surprise that PESCO was named Business of the Year by the Farmington Chamber of Commerce in 2014, with its core values and philosophy of service, that translates outside the walls of its nearly 160,000 square feet of production space. PESCO’s leaders serve their communities and work to make them better places. The company is a community leader in manufacturing trade education. Kyle Rhodes serves on the Farmington Municipal Schools’ Board of Education, and Rodgers is a Farmington City Councilor. PESCO also partners with the Navajo Nation to provide employment opportunities for tribal members.

It is this dedication to building relationships and building better communities that made Supply Chain Manager Logan Myers want to work for PESCO. “My journey began in a flooded office in Houston. The call I received from PESCO that day was not the usual check-in, it was a job offer,” he said. “Excited at the prospect of a new challenge and ready for a change of scenery, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Myers said he loves the fact he lives in an area with great weather that is rich in outdoor and cultural activities, “but those benefits are only a convenient by-product of working for PESCO.” Myers added, “When considering my dream job, it would have to be challenging, actively encourage change and experimentation in search of a ‘better way,’ provide opportunities to learn, respect family relationships and provide time for developing those and support the local community in pursuit of a better city for all. I imagine everyone has their own list, some searching in vain for a role that checks all the boxes their entire lives. I consider myself fortunate to have found that role so early in my career. The entrepreneurial, loving spirit that founded PESCO is still alive and well.”

Sixteen years ago, Taira Shelton was looking for a job and an opportunity to start a new chapter in her life. Her dad (John Buckles) and her uncle (Pete Buckles) worked for PESCO and knew there was an opening for an invoicing clerk. She applied for the position and she was hired.

In addition to learning her invoicing job, Taira wanted to learn about other areas.  “We have a complicated software program at PESCO, and I learned it through some trial and error.”  She worked closely with shipping and receiving, helping to facilitate shipping equipment to customers.

For many years, Taira benefitted from discovering all she could. She enjoyed the work and she learned more about the company and its customers. However, when a position in the accounts payable department opened, Taira decided it was time to learn more about PESCO from another perspective.

 “This account payable position has been good for my career path,” Taira said.  “I have developed relationships with PESCO’s customers and have a good network with them that I can establish myself as a solid professional. I’ve made friends and bonded with vendors across the country, which is something I least expected.”

Taira’s determination to excel in whatever position she is assigned has not gone unnoticed by PESCO’s leadership team.

“Taira has grown and developed her base of knowledge,” PESCO’s Chief Financial Officer, Linda Rodgers, said. “It is awesome to watch her develop new skills and take on new challenges and to succeed. Everybody she interacts with enjoys her.”

Taira hopes to continue to grow and learn with the company, and to be a respected leader like her supervisor Linda.

“Leadership is being on a level with employees and showing them how to be the best they can be,” she said. “Leaders have to get down and dirty and work alongside their employees. Linda has done an excellent job as a leader. She challenges you to look for new ways of doing things and think outside the box. Her example of a leader is to trust and have integrity, and that example makes us all grow.”

While Taira loves her job at PESCO, there is one “position” she loves more than anything:  being a mother.

“I always wanted to be a mother,” she said.  Taira is a mom to Isabelle, age 16, and Madison, age 5. 

“These girls give me a purpose to wake up every day and to be the best person I can be.”

Her family is a priority for most of the spare time Taira has. “I play with children, and we love to camp and explore the outdoors,” she said of her family and that spare time. Taira wants to show her girls that hard work and determination can get you any where you want to be.

PESCO’s leadership team, its focus on family and its commitment to helping employees reach their full potential is an important part of the company’s success, and one of the many reasons Taira said she loves working with and for the Rhodes family. “PESCO is a Christian based, family-oriented company,” Taira Shelton said, “which is what I like best about working here.”

Michelle Wilcox and Leanna Martinez are both chemical engineers at PESCO.  Michelle earned her degree from New Mexico State University and Leanna earned her degree from New Mexico Tech.  Both are former engineers at ConocoPhillips.

When ConocoPhillips sold its interests in San Juan County in 2017 to Hilcorp, Michelle chose to leave ConocoPhillips and stay in San Juan County.  Her two children who are much loved by grandparents and other family members who live here were the motivating factor.

Leanna worked in the San Juan basin before she transferred to Houston in 2014 and worked there for two years prior to moving back to Farmington in 2016.  She chose to stay at home with her young daughter while working from home as a consultant during that time.

Working for a company that is family owned and smaller (but still growing!) was different in many ways than working for a large corporation, Leanna and Michelle said. The variety of projects they get to participate in and working more closely with customers to find solutions to the problems is challenging and exciting, the women said.

“We learn new things almost daily,” Michelle said, “and there’s still so much more to learn.”

“Working with the fabrication shop to size and design equipment has taught me so much,” Leanna said, adding “and experiencing and seeing the way the PESCO team works together has been inspiring.”

Being employed by a large corporation can be somewhat rigid, Michelle said. “PESCO has given me the opportunity to think creatively,” she said. “Jim (Rhodes) is creative by nature and has taught me to think outside the box. He is great at coming up with solutions to problems.”

Jim Rhodes, PESCO’s Vice President of Plant Operations, Engineering and Research and Development, works closely with Leanna and Michelle. Both women admire and respect Jim.

Michelle enjoys teaching school children about engineering. “I took a 3D model of a piece of equipment I helped design to my son’s class,” she said. “The kids enjoyed it.  In fact, later in the day some parents said their child now wants to be an engineer.”

In their spare time, Michelle enjoys working out on her Peloton bike and snow shoeing. But most of her time away from work is spent with her family. Leanna also spends most of her spare time with her family, but enjoys cooking and Michelle said, she is an excellent cake baker and decorator!

Both women have goals they hope to achieve in the next five years with PESCO. Leanna hopes to grow with the company as it grows and work with diversifying into different industries. Michelle hopes to help expand the customer base by offering new solutions to new problems.

Leanna and Michelle said working for PESCO allows them to continue to succeed in their chosen careers and offers employees the flexibility to be with family when needed. When asked what three words they would use to describe PESCO, their answers were similar.

“Family, quality and versatility,” Michelle was quick to respond. Just as quickly was Leanna’s response – “Family, integrity and fun.” Linda Rodgers, Chief Financial Officer, said having Michelle and Leanna as part of PESCO’s engineering team has been incredible. “They are role models for women,” Linda said. “They prove you can have a family and a career and be successful at both.”