Jakob Norman’s Evansville-based company has been in business for less than a year and already may expand to Indonesia, China and Egypt.
He's now serving customers across North America with only 20 employees.
The achievements of Mesa Natural Gas Solutions, which quickly rose as the country's top distributor of natural gas power generation systems to oil field drilling rigs and other off-the-grid sites, have come with challenges.
Norman will share the highs and lows of the venture Tuesday evening at the Casper Petroleum Club at an educational networking program called e2e Wyoming.
Pickens and his hedge fund, BP Capital, are akin to Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, except Pickens focuses on energy, said Joseph Bennick, Casper area director of the Wyoming Technology Business Center, which is hosting Norman’s talk.
“There’s not many people who have the opportunity to do a deal with T. Boone Pickens,” Bennick said. “And to have a guy like that here in Casper who is doing well for himself is an exciting story.”
At 40, Norman is Mesa’s president and CEO.
He was raised in Casper where he graduated from Natrona County High School. He’s served in the military for 20 years and practiced law before becoming an energy executive.
Mesa leases and services units manufactured by Moser Energy Systems in Evansville.
Most oil field operations rely on diesel-powered generators. But natural gas is present in many underground oil reservoirs, and the Moser units use that gas to create power.
The natural gas units are more sustainable, Norman said, especially considering how diesel has to be trucked into a site every three to five days.
“Ours put out about 1 percent of the emissions without trucks on the road,” Norman said. “You’re reducing traffic on the landowner’s land. You’re reducing the reliance on diesel. You’re saving money to the operator.”
Norman -- who currently serves as a judge advocate general for the Wyoming Army National Guard and counts many veterans as employees -- most recently worked as a vice president for Moser, helping with rapid growth underway at the company.
Moser grew at such a fast pace, it needed more money. That’s when Pickens entered, and in May, Mesa formed.
The business environment can be competitive, especially for a new company, Norman said. Mesa Natural Gas Solutions’ primary competitor has 13,000 employees.
“You start off as an underdog and it takes a whole heck of a lot of work to go head-to-head with folks like that,” he said.
Norman is happy Mesa is number one in the United States. The company's next big ambition is to become the top distributor of the systems in the world.
“Right now, we are the company providing the most, which his pretty cool for Casper," he said. "They're manufacturing right here, and we’re getting them out everywhere in the world."