How Blue Sky Bank helped a Tulsa entrepreneur launch a Top Manufacturing Company

Big Elk Energy was destined for great things, but had a rocky start. A month after its launch, the company faced a big oil bust. Big Elk Energy stuck through it and earned the ranking of #1 Fastest-Growing Manufacturing Company by Inc. Magazine in 2018. Owner Geoff Hager says Blue Sky Bank saw them through all the ups and downs, and he’ll never forget that loyalty.

Business owner Geoff Hager followed a simple strategy when he launched his oil pipeline equipment manufacturing company Big Elk Energy in 2014: “Go big or go home.”

Located in West Tulsa, the Big Elk facilities span a massive 140,000-square-foot, 12-acre site. The company employs about 120 people.

In 2017 — its third year of business — Big Elk Energy generated $20.6 million in revenue. Tulsa World described Big Elk Energy’s success as “meteoric.”

The following year, in 2018, Inc. Magazine named Big Elk Energy the fastest-growing company in Oklahoma, and the fastest-growing manufacturer in the U.S.

“When we got this number-one ranking from Inc. it was amazing because all of our people got to see, ‘Hey somebody else on the outside recognizes that we are doing something special here,’” Geoff explains.

He says the recognition meant even more because the first few years of the company’s existence were a struggle in many ways. Just a month after Geoff launched Big Elk Energy, oil prices crashed in what was dubbed the “great oil bust of 2014.”

How Blue Sky Bank gained ‘a pretty incredibly loyalty’

“That was a pretty tough hand to be dealt,” Geoff remembers. “We had lots of issues just trying to get the business started, and then we finally get it started and are faced with the worst possible market scenario.”

Geoff, a former Blue Sky Bank customer, saw first-hand how a loyal bank and lending team can make all the difference in the first few years of launching a business.

When Geoff met with Blue Sky Bank and first pitched them his idea for Big Elk Energy, he could tell Blue Sky Bank was different from any other bank he’d worked with before. He appreciated that their culture was centered around embracing entrepreneurship and supporting Tulsa business owners who had big visions.

After Geoff did some fundraising, Blue Sky Bank decided to back his company with a $5 million business loan to launch Big Elk Energy.

“That gains a pretty incredible loyalty,” Geoff says. “I mean, we'll never forget what it is that they did for us and just the ability for us to get from there to where we are now.”

Starting the business was one thing, but then the oil bust hit.

Geoff remembers how Blue Sky Bank stuck with him. The bank understood the market’s ebbs and flows, and was uniquely equipped to work with startup business owners like him, he says.

“They're willing to endure a tremendous amount of stress to stick through a tough time with you,” Geoff says.

Blue Sky Bank’s expertise in oil and gas lending

This deep understanding of the oil and gas industry is a key component of Blue Sky Bank’s expertise.

Blue Sky Bank focuses on financing companies that support the oil and gas industry, such as manufacturers like Big Elk Energy.  Blue Sky understands that the energy industry is volatile, and the goal is to help those companies that support the industry in smoothing out their cash flow.

Because the industry is constantly evolving, their ability to craft flexible but reliable lending options for Oklahoma’s oil and gas business owners allows Blue Sky Bank to support a critical part of the state’s economy.

Our lenders are constantly working to stay up-to-date with energy market trends and changes to offer the most competitive energy-related company loan options.

Not just a lender but ‘a great financial partner’

As Geoff reflects on the twists and turns that brought Big Elk Energy to where it is today, he thinks about his “dream team” of employees and takes stock of all of the hard work that has gone into this company.

But Geoff says he also considers his relationship with Blue Sky Bank part of what made Big Elk Energy possible: “They put it in the hard work that not every bank would put in, and they're just a great financial partner.”

Does your company support the oil and gas industry? Get in touch with one of our experienced lenders at Blue Sky Bank, a 100% Oklahoma-owned bank with a strong background in energy lending, and locations in Tulsa and its surrounding communities. We’ll take the time to learn about your business needs.

  • We will pick up the phone and answer your questions, no strings attached.
  • We’ll work quickly to understand your financial situation before ever suggesting ideas and solutions.
  • We’ll devise a range of solutions that make sense for you and make sure you clearly understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
  • We will be straightforward with you about whether we are able to compete with other solutions you’ve shopped.
  • Even if you’ve eliminated Blue Sky Bank from your set of possibilities, we’ll offer our expert opinion on your other options.
  • Contact Blue Sky Bank by phone or email and one of our experts will get back to you within the next business day, if not sooner.
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