Anderson Driving Company Rebranding, Expansion to New Markets
After running companies for 23 years and sitting on several companies’ executive boards, including Stallion Oilfield Services, Darron Anderson was named president and CEO of the newly rebranded Stallion Infrastructure Services in 2021.
Anderson grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, and attended the University of Texas at Austin. He began studying architecture but was not satisfied with the slower pace of the field. He eventually decided to look for a new field of study, and engineering piqued his interest.
“This was in 1987, and the oil industry had just come out of the early 80s bust,” Anderson said. “A professor told me that if I majored in petroleum engineering, I'd be able to work anywhere in the world that I wanted. So I chose petroleum engineering and worked summer internships during college in Kansas, New Orleans, and West Texas.”
By the time he graduated, Anderson had 12 job offers from Alaska to the Gulf Coast. He chose to work for Chevron because he wanted to go into drilling operations, and they were only one or two companies offering drilling positions.
“At the time, I chose drilling because I wasn’t married and knew I would be away from home for long periods of time. I worked for Chevron for seven years and got to a point where I wanted to control my own destiny,” said Anderson. “Entrepreneurship has always been a part of my family, so I decided to resign and start up a company servicing back to the oil and gas field.”
Even before officially joining the leadership team at Stallion, Anderson said he could see the positive direction the company was headed as a member of the board of directors.
“I believe we have a long future left in oil and gas,” he said. “However, we’re going through a process of energy transition. I looked at the asset base of Stallion and had the perspective that its assets could be utilized in other industries outside of oil and gas as well. It was exciting to take on the opportunity to run a highly respected oil and gas service business, as well as diversify the business with a lens on other end markets. It’s the best of both worlds; I can stick with what I know and love, which is oil and gas, and can also pursue other industries, which Stallion is doing now.”
Under Anderson’s leadership, Stallion Infrastructure Services has taken its 20 years as a leader in the oil and gas industry and expanded into other markets, including construction industries, refining, renewable industries, events, and disaster relief.
“When I talk about being an infrastructure services company, it basically boils down to a hierarchy of needs around infrastructure,” Anderson said. “When you go home at night, you want the comfort of knowing that the four walls of your house are strong. You want perfectly running water, your power working, your lighting and sanitation working. You want to make sure you have communication capabilities, access to the internet, an ability to move your data and a security system to protect your family and property. Coincidentally, these are all the same needs of most industrial related projects.”
Anderson said he wants Stallion Infrastructure Services to be the name-brand company that customers call when they need one or all the services it provides.
“Our purpose as an organization is to spur on greatness,” he added. “We provide security, comfort, and connection to our customers so they can focus on achieving the greatness of their projects.”
Anderson’s biggest focus has been establishing a vision for the direction in which the company should go, inviting the organization to think on a much broader scale — not just on how it expands and remains dominant in oil and gas markets, but on how it diversifies into new markets.
“The focus is to drive the organization to think of Stallion as a brand that is well-recognized across multiple industries,” he said. “The responsibilities that comes along with that are communication and accountability. Our team members must know what they’re accountable for to help us achieve our ultimate goals and vision.”
Stallion is on track to achieve its long-term goals, Anderson said one of the first things he did when he became CEO was to strategize with his team and map out a plan for the future of Stallion.
“I sat down with my leadership team and asked, ‘Where do we want to be in five years?’ and we mapped that out. I can say, after a year and two months into our journey, we are actually ahead of schedule,” Anderson said. “Our business is getting a boost from strong commodity prices, but we’re getting a stronger boost from the organization buying into our diversification process, so five years from now, Stallion will be a recognized brand not only in oil and gas, but in all other industries we serve.”
When asked about diversity and inclusion, Anderson believes it is about opening opportunities to a wider talent pool.
“I have a philosophy, whether it’s Stallion or any of the previous companies that I’ve led, when you think about diversity and inclusion, it’s about having full and complete access to the best talent, that has to be a criteria. How do you get access to the best talent? You have to make sure that you’re interviewing a diverse and wide pool of candidates, individuals of different gender, race, backgrounds and experiences. I believe this is how you develop a diverse and inclusive environment of talented individuals.”
Anderson said when he steps in as the leader of an organization, he believes his interactions, leadership and skill set, naturally challenges individuals to think about their historical talent identification or hiring processes.
“Since I stepped onboard, one of the things I am most proud of is appointing two highly talented females to our executive leadership team. It is very important to me to have a leadership team that brings different experiences and thoughts into the room. “Yes, it’s the right thing to do for society, but it’s also the right thing do for business. In many of the markets we’re heading into, our customer base is highly diverse. Our organization and leadership should reflect our clients and communications we serve.”
Anderson said he’s now focused on the company’s internal processes and systems that can support its rapid growth. “If you have a solid foundation combined with a leading vision, your organization will attract great people,” he said. “And having great people leads to innovative thinking.”
One such innovation, Anderson said, allowed Stallion’s expertise in connectivity to help schools with distance learning and businesses with remote work during the pandemic. Stallion’s SIMETRY brand provides end-to-end IoT data plans, device management, and support with one unified vendor. Through SIMETRY, Stallion enabled students and employees to work from home.
“For the company, it was not just about living and working through the pandemic, it involved our learning how to build a business inside the pandemic as well,” Anderson said. “We applied our in-house knowledge and expertise which enabled children to continue their education and parents to work. The pandemic was a painful process to endure, but helping others to connect in difficult times was very rewarding.”
On the personal side
Early in his almost 30-year career in the oil and gas industry, Anderson recalls having a mentor who led one of the largest oilfield service companies in the world. “One of the things my mentor was most proud of was looking across the industry and observing the many professionals that he once mentored and supported and were now in leadership positions of major organizations,” Anderson said. “I’ve worked to take that same approach and I strive to develop younger talent. While I may have done very little to assist, it brings proud moments to see individuals who were once under my leadership accomplishing great things in their careers.”
Sharing what keeps him motivated and balanced, Anderson said “Everybody has their own personal values. I live by three things: prayer, education and hard work. Those have been my three key values to success and they have worked for 31 years.”
He continued, “When I say prayer, what I mean is doing things for a higher calling and not just for yourself. Regarding education, I believe anything material can be lost or taken away, but an education is something that is yours forever. In hard work, I’ve always had a philosophy that I wouldn't let anyone outwork me, whether it was on an athletic field or in the four walls of an office,” he added.
Anderson serves as a mentor to inner-city youth. “When I was young, my parents moved our family to a suburban school district where no one looked like me. I was exposed to a diverse world at a very young age. I also traveled a lot, whether that was for sports or doing internships in college,” he said.
Growing up in a smaller city and then being exposed to different parts of the world allowed Anderson to open his mind and to see the many different opportunities available to him.
“The reason I focus on the inner city and underprivileged children is because I want to make sure they understand that the world is big and opportunities do exist to succeed,” Anderson concluded. “My goal has always been to provide a level of exposure and awareness.”
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