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Family-owned S&W Power Systems adapts, thrives in oil field

Posted Wed, July 16, 2014

S&W Power Systems and Engine Service Inc. got its start in 1963 when Bill Neher and his brothers launched an oil-field service company working out of their own pickups.

 

The family-owned company bought its first warehouse eight years later so it could complete more complicated repair jobs.

“The business was simple,” spokesman Derek Neher said on the company's website. “If they could not fix it in the field, they would load it up and bring it into the shop for repair.”

Over the years, S&W has adapted to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry.

The company began building generator sets for drilling rigs, construction sites and others in the late 1970s. That diversification helped S&W survive when its work in the oil field dried up in the 1980s.

“In 1986, there weren't as many rigs around to service, so we had to change something,” Neher said.

David and Sam Neher, who took over the company after brother Bill's death in 1985, designed a way to convert a diesel engine to run on natural gas, fabricating most of their own parts.

That engine allowed S&W to benefit from the expansion of the natural gas compression industry.

The company also developed a business in remanufacturing engines for exchange or sale.

“We rebuild just about every make and model of engine that the oil industry needs in the field,” Derek Neher said.

S&W now has about 70 employees, with annual revenues of about $20 million.

With the death of David in 2011, Derek Neher now serves as the company's President & C.E.O.

 

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