Premier Energy Services
John Stenger and his former business partner founded Premier Energy Services (PES) in 2002 with the mission of providing engineering services and safe, high-quality construction to local utility companies around Cincinnati. Stenger has since purchased his partner’s share and operates the business as president. “Our niche has grown into natural gas utility construction, operation and maintenance,” he explains. “We offer a complete package for utility companies that are looking to expand or replace aging infrastructure, or to operate its natural gas system.”
Stenger started out in the industry during college, working with a utility company as a summer job. After working for years at several national companies after graduating, he struck out on his own. “I feel that I have a better understanding of our clients’ needs because of my utility company experience,” he explains. “We know what they are looking for on each project when it is completed. It’s a unique point of view that many contractors do not have.”
Stenger oversees a team of 90 professionals. His crews work out of four locations in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, serving southwest and central Ohio, most of northern Kentucky, as well as southeastern Indiana. Each PES facility offers office space and equipment storage for the crew, which serves several major utility companies in the region.
Quality in Service
PES offers services in all areas of natural gas distribution. In the natural gas arena, clients have come to expect leading engineering and design, safe and efficient utility construction, as well as safe and reliable utility operations services.
The construction managers and engineers on Stenger’s team have decades of experience in the field and work closely with clients to develop a system that meets the changing needs of communities while remaining efficient and safe. The construction end of the business offers a broad range of services to turn those designs, as well as customers’ designs, into reality. Whether new or upgraded pipe systems, the team utilizes technology such as horizontal directional drilling to cut down on disturbance of open space and streets. When the system is complete, clients are confident in specially designed monitoring systems that offer an accurate read on pipeline performance and usage.
The crew has been involved in a number of unique projects in recent years. In Greendale, Ind., the company has been completely operating a small natural gas utility company for nine years. In Louisville, the team has been working on a five-year project performing riser-safety driven replacement, upgrading the connections from underground utilities to the residences.
“Our first major contract to replace risers for a utility company was for Columbus Gas of Ohio,” Stenger recounts. “We did 45,000 service risers and the project led to three more similar contracts with other utility companies in the region.”
Keeping Up a Reputation
PES has earned a reputation in the industry for the company’s strong quality of work. “Our priority is safety,” Stenger explains. “Beyond that, if we meet our deadlines and budgets and turn a profit, we consider a project successful. It feels good for us to turn a project over on time and to specifications. That’s what gets us up in the morning.”
Through the recession, PES faced few major obstacles. With several long-term contracts in place, the team was busy supporting infrastructure all over Ohio and surrounding states. However, long-term contracts are difficult to find and retain. “Losing an account is a real concern for people in our business now,” Stenger notes. “Overall the economy is getting better and we have a steady stream of work, but we have to fulfill our contracts to satisfaction and without incident.”
To keep everyone safe on-site, PES has a strong safety program. The business is in full compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation Operator Qualification Rules. Taking safety a step further, the team goes through stringent and strategic training to prevent and resolve safety hazards on-site. PES follows a seemingly simple philosophy of conducting business in a manner that protects the safety and well-being of employees, customers and the public.
“Our program involves extensive review, job site monitoring and positive recognition of employees and their safe performance practices,” Stenger adds. “We are registered with the National Compliance Management Service, providing our customers assurance that we are compliant with DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations.”
As the business picks up throughout the recovery, Stenger hopes to expand barring any setbacks from changing federal mandates. Like many contractors, health care costs have come to the forefront of market concerns for PES. “Overall things are getting better,” he says. “We hope to expand our reach in the next one to two years. We are seeking out more business and expanding our geographic reach.” Through picking up new accounts and retaining existing customers, Premier Energy Services is on track for strong and steady growth.