McCutcheon: Right place, time
McCutcheon Enterprises was ready for the Marcellus shale industry before drilling began in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
“We had the equipment, the technology, the permits; we were ready to go when that work came in,” said Calvin McCutcheon, president and CEO of the Allegheny Township company that has been hauling hazardous waste for years and treating water since 2000.
“A lot of that started with larger producers as they started putting their spill-prevention plans together,” he said. “And they needed someone who could respond if there was a spill on a well pad.”
As a Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency-certified hazardous materials team that serves seven counties, McCutcheon was able to work with drillers, who are required to have a spill-prevention plan.
“They would come looking for our credentials and our capabilities,” McCutcheon said. “And when they were here they'd say, ‘Hey — you guys do transportation, or you have a treatment facility; you have all this stuff.'
“In the waste business, we were like that sweet spot.”
In addition to traditional waste management services, such as septic tank service and sewage sludge treatment, the company treats flow-back water from the hydraulic fracturing process used in Marcellus shale drilling so it can be reused by drillers. It also treats mud and other debris created by the boring process so that it can be disposed of in a landfill.
It is McCutcheon Enterprises' innovation, growth and commitment to protecting the environment in its service to the oil and gas industry that earned it the distinction of being named a finalist in three categories for the 2012 Oil & Gas Awards in the Northeast region of the United States.
The company is a finalist for water management company of the year, trucking company of the year and drilling and well services company of the year.
“I was told by the Oil and Gas Awards that we're one of only two other companies to be finalists in all the categories in which they applied,” said Chad McCutcheon, who handles public relations for the company.
McCutcheon is among 64 other finalists in the Northeast, including Antea Group, an engineering and consulting firm with an office in Oakmont.
The winners will be announced at a dinner in Pittsburgh on March 14.
Increased business through the Marcellus shale industry led McCutcheon to increase its transportation fleet by 25 percent throughout 2012. Transportation revenue jumped by nearly 12 percent last year, according to Chad McCutcheon.
“The energy sector has basically gone from being part of our revenue to being the majority of our revenue,” he said. “The bread and butter lately has come from Marcellus shale and gas wells and safety programs.”
McCutcheon is expanding the size and capacity of the “solidification” portion of its water and waste water treatment facility.
The expansion will enable the treatment of more of the mud and drill cuttings that come from well sites. Drill cuttings are bits of solid material from the bore hole.
The traditional process for treating such material increases the volume of waste because additives are used to solidify the water.
“What we're going to be doing is actually waste reduction,” said Tim Dobrosky, treatment facility manager. “We're going to be taking those muds and reducing the amount that goes to the landfill by separating the water from it rather than solidifying the water. Then the water will go into our recycling program.”
The treatment plant on the MEI site off Park Road in Allegheny Township opened in 2000 in response to companies beginning to produce more residual waste, said Calvin McCutcheon.
The facility treats sewage sludge, waste from power plants and other industry waste.
In total, the company has seven divisions: industrial services; transportation and equipment; waste treatment and disposal; emergency response; environmental services; waste management; and health and safety training.
A family affair
Calvin McCutcheon said the company has come a long way from when his father, Olen, founded it in 1947.
At that time Olen, and his father, Max McCutcheon, did mostly weekend work pumping septic tanks and transporting mill waste from Allegheny Ludlum.
The hazardous waste hauling division expanded over the years and the company began doing related work, such as tank cleaning, on a larger scale.
Calvin McCutcheon worked weekends at the company to pay his way through Penn State University. He became general manager in 1979, vice president in 1981 and president in 1989.
His sons, Chad and Nathan, work for the company — Chad in public relations and Nathan as logistics manager and assistant project manager. Calvin's wife, Julie, handles human resources and payroll.
Calvin's brother, Ted, and brother-in-law, Bob Carter, work as project managers.
“We're very proud of where we are today,” Calvin McCutcheon said. “My dad had two single-axle trucks, but we both had a pickup truck, and so that's what we started with.
“(We grew) from one full-time employee and multiple part-times to two employees, to five, then 25.
“And here we are today at almost 125 employees now.”
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.