ELIZABETH - Growing up around her father's oil and gas business, Jessica Lott jumped at the chance to start her own company to assist him and with the potential to expand in several directions on its own.
Lott recently started Patchwork Steaming & Roustabout LLC with her father, Roger Whited, on the site of his company, Patchwork Oil & Gas in Wirt County.
''I started working at my dad's company while I was going to school at West Virginia University at Parkersburg,'' she said. ''Once I graduated with my bachelor's in accounting (last December), my dad had seen how good I was in business and he presented the opportunity to help me get involved in a business. He said that the hardest part was getting started.''
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Jessica Lott, the co-owner of Patchwork Steaming & Roustabout, LLC., works in her office in Wirt County.
Patchwork Steaming uses steamers to clean tubing used in oil and gas well work. When a company, like her father's, removes tubing used in the wells, in many cases, paraffin wax can build up and needs to be cleaned before the tubing can be reinstalled and the well can work properly again.
''We send the steamer out and clean it all out so it can be put back into production,'' Lott said. ''They pull the tubing out and lay it all on the ground. We would go out with the steamer and set up so we steam the tubing so it gets all the paraffin out. His company would then put it back in the hole and put it all back together.''
The company uses a LANDA steamer, among the larger ones in the area. It is being adjusted to accommodate three wands so work can be done faster.
''It is to get the job done quicker,'' Lott said. ''A lot of time, companies want a quick turnaround.
"The rig is shut down and the rig is just sitting there until the pipe is cleaned out. Many want it done quickly. We have it set up where the crew can get the pipe out of the ground during the day," she said. "We come in at night and steam the tubing and it will be ready the following morning to put it back in the ground. There really isn't a lot of down time.''
The roustabout side of it is anything that does not require large equipment, a flagger on a road around projects, specialized flag cars to accompany large vehicles carrying large and wide loads through an area and well head repair.
With the increase in Marcellus Shale natural gas production, there will be a greater need for these kind of services and with more emphasis on safety, Lott said.
''My dad has a lot of good contacts with his business which is why I geared my business toward the same type of thing,'' she said.
Whited said he was glad his daughter took an interest in his work.
"It's not like I have boys that grew up in the field with me,'' he said. ''So I'm glad that she has an interest in the oil and gas industry and she started out working as a secretary and the interest has evolved."
Lott and her father are co-owners. When the company gets on its feet, she'll pay him back and it will become all hers.
''I think he wanted to get me involved with not only having my own business, but still staying involved in his business,'' Lott said. ''When we go out and promote our new company, he will also promote his service rigs."
It's convenient for customers, too, she said.
''A lot of people don't want to have to hire one company for one thing and then hire another to do another job," Lott said. "He can go out and work on the service rig part of the well and if they find out those wells need cleaned or need roustabout work done, this business can come along with it and do that work.''
Besides oil and gas, Lott said her company can work with coal companies to clean their vehicles before they can return to the road. She can provide services to mobile home companies in providing flaggers and escort vehicles to accompany a mobile home being moved to a site.
They can do pressure washing of driveways.
Many of Lott's business functions are being handled by her father's employees. They are working with Workforce West Virginia to find an employee to be Lott's go-to person for the field work and other concerns.
Lott said she had no concerns working with her father. They have been able to keep their business and family relationships separate.
''I enjoy coming to work everyday,'' she said. ''I have learned more working here with him and every day is different.
Father was an inspiration, she said.
''I see what he does every day. I have learned a lot. School gave me a good foundation, but working here has made it more comfortable going from school to starting a business," Lott said. "I feel more confident having learned so much from him.''
Although women are not typically seen in the oil and gas business, Lott said she has an interest in the production side of her father's company.
''Patchwork Oil and Gas has been around for a long time,'' she said. ''He has a good name and it has grown into a decent sized company. I am involved in his work and I am interested in production. That might be something in the future I will explore more.''
Whited said having her involved opens the door to her and her two sons to keep the business in the family.
"It's a good thing because it may lead to the possibility that my grandsons will be involved as well,'' he said. ''It would give them an opportunity to gain an interest and keep the family within the industry.''