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Family Focus, Community Involvement a winning recipe for Purity Oilfield Services.
When it comes to barbecue, Purity Oilfield Services has a winning recipe.
For two years in a row Purity – along with their partner Petro-Hunt – earned the People’s Choice Award for Best Cook Team at the Bakken Rocks CookFest, and it is an award in which the three-year-old oilfield service company takes great pride. The honor didn’t come easy, however; last year, the volunteer cooks showed up the night before so they could be set up to start smoking meat at 3 a.m. to get a head start.
But this kind of dedication from Purity isn’t surprising. In fact, it’s a trait that is engrained in the family business, its operations and its relationship with communities.
Purity Oilfield Services was established in 2012 by sixteen siblings and cousins, seven who are active in the business – Baily, Carter and Marshall Hunt, and Taylor, Casey, Davin and Austin Hunt – who saw a need for reliable services. The company was formed in January of that year and six months later received its first equipment at its Williston yard.
“We started taking care of what we could handle upfront,” said Marshall Hunt, president of Purity Oilfield Services. “Since then, we’ve added services that our clients and customers really demanded but weren’t widely available, and that’s been our driver for growth.”
Today the company handles everything from oilfield equipment rentals, water transfer and sourcing to trucking services, well site coordination to safety consulting for about a dozen of the top largest oil producers in the state and has grown from just five employees to about 200, 175 of whom work from one of their three North Dakota field offices and yards, which include Williston, New Town and Killdeer.
Among the many things Purity takes seriously is safety. Known for its selective hiring process, Purity requires that job applicants have experience and pass a full driving and background check. New hires then go through extensive two-week safety training.
“It reads ‘safety first’ on our hard hats. We want to know that when we have someone in the truck or in the field, they are the best of the best and very well trained and well equipped with experience,” said Marshall.
In searching for employees with these skills and expertise, Purity often finds them among a pool of candidates with dependable management skills: veterans. The company works with Alliance, a firm that provides career transition services to veterans. For Purity, service members are a natural fit for the company that values leadership and strong management skills.
Attracting and retaining employees has often been tough for oilfield service companies, but Marshall says this is an area where Purity has done very well. They offer employee housing and incentives to help attract and retain workers, but Marshall also credits the company’s management structure and family-oriented philosophies.
“We look for and hire people that have a great attitude and want to grow in and be a part of the company for years to come,” said Marshall. “A lot of that is done through the management here in Williston and our office providing a positive work environment. Ninety-nine percent of our employees are located in the field or district offices, so the decision makers are right there in the field and involved in all the day to day activities. But just as important, when you become an employee for Purity, you aren’t just a part of the company. You are part of our family.”
Selling future hires on North Dakota isn’t hard for the Hunts. Having spent a great deal of their careers within the state, North Dakota is considered their second home.
“This is a great place to live, and we encourage most of our employees – most of whom aren’t local North Dakotans – to move here, find a place to live, bring their families here, and be active and contributing members of the community,” said Marshall.
When it comes to contributing to the community, Purity leads by example. In addition to participating in CookFest, the company hosts a Truck Rodeo where they not only put their employees’ safety and experience on display, but also collected and donated proceeds back to Williston and local organizations. Purity also tries to participate in community events and give back whenever possible.
“We want to let them know that we want to grow with them and be a valued member of the North Dakota community.”
Being a valued member of the community also means pitching in to help address some of the challenges faced in the oil patch. With traffic being a major concern for many, Purity has played its part in providing freshwater services that help get trucks off the roads. In addition to training their employees to ensure they have the best and most responsible drivers in the cabs of their trucks, they also work to educate members of the public about the challenges that come with being in a truck.
“At our Truck Rodeo, we had a truck set up so kids and parents could get in the seat and really see what it feels like to be in the drivers’ position,” said Marshall. “Safe driving is a top priority, but drivers do have some limitations, so this is important in ensuring we can all share the road.”
In just three years, Purity has grown from being a start-up to a large employer in North Dakota, and Marshall doesn’t see that stopping even amid the downturns.
“We set up operations in North Dakota to be there through the ups and downs and the long-runs. Often times a lot of service companies are out there to take advantage of the boom and make a lot of money, but we know that the people that are going to keep us working are the operator and we need to understand their needs. We spent a lot of money on the front end knowing that downturns do come, and we’re ready to ride it out and hopefully succeed.”