Presented by Grant Thornton, Preng & Associates and Nasdaq. Photography by Evin Thayer Studios.

Geoff Hager, 38

CEO, Big Elk Energy Systems LLC, Tulsa, Okla.

Geoff Hager’s grandmother was a direct descendant of Big Elk, a chief of the Claremore Band of the Osage Tribe in the 19th century. Hager feels that by naming the company he founded after his ancestor, he helps preserve a legacy of “strength, courage and leadership.”

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The company has earned more than $40 million in revenue crafting custody transfer equipment, pig launchers and receivers, and mainline valve settings for interstate gas transmission pipelines. A wholly owned subsidiary, M3 Energy Services—a mobile master meter service—will provide in-the- field verification of large-volume natural gas meters, a first of its kind in the industry. This is something the liquids side of the business has had for 20-plus years, Hager said.

Career path: Forming Big Elk Energy Systems “was a natural jump-off” from work in pipeline equipment manufacturing. He had been account manager for Vinson Process Controls from 2002 to 2011, and director of sales for Circor Energy—Pipeline Solutions division from December 2011 to September 2013.

On industry: “This is the industry that powers the country, and the future is extremely bright, especially on the natural gas side of things, with LNG exports and the continued growth of combined-cycle power plants. I feel privileged to be a part of the massive pipeline infrastructure buildout taking place, which will continue to provide energy for generations to come.”

Quick change: His father served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Hager deliberated switching from engineering to political science at Oklahoma State University in order to enter state politics. His father convinced him this was unwise and to pursue a political career later in life if he so chose.

Audio Interview

Photography by
Evin Thayer Studios