Our company started in 1965 when two brothers, Burdett and Loyd West, pooled their resources and knowledge, from several years of working with their father in the oil and gas industry in north central Pennsylvania, to provide well maintenance services to local producers. The partnership was known as West Brothers. The business was established in their home town, Millport, Pa., a small village near the New York state border in north central Pennsylvania
Starting on a shoe string and a dream West Brothers pulled, plugged and bailed oil and gas wells with the two brothers as the only employees. The operations expanded to excavation, residential and municipal sanitary sewer systems, and the repair and installation of pipelines for local utility companies. The company had now hired several employees.
The purchase of a small trucking firm in 1976 resulted in contract carriage operation with ICC rights transporting wood products between New York State, Pennsylvania and Ohio. This operation was maintained until 2002, when the company producing the wood product went out of business. However, the transportation aspect gave us the experience in trucking that has become a very important part of Gas Field Specialists, Inc.
Incorporation came in 1977, with West Brothers Construction Co., Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation headquartered in Millport, Pennsylvania. At the same time, the company expanded operations into Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany Counties in New York. A field office was opened in Fredonia, NY and a second field office was opened in 1978 in Pavilion, NY, to handle the further expansion of operations into Genesee, Livingston, Steuben, and Cayuga Counties. In 1979, the company registered as a foreign corporation in the state of New York, which required a change of name to its present name of Gas Field Specialists, Inc., (GFS).
In 1984, GFS Energy, Inc., a New York corporation, was established with corporate offices in Pavilion, NY. This was formed to maintain and produce recently purchased Medina and Bass Island Wells in New York State. GFS Energy expanded its capabilities to maintenance and management, for several gas producers in Western New York. The company is now directly responsible for production activities, including evaluation of well tending techniques and production equipment. We still manage approximately 200 Medina, Oriskany and Shale wells in Western New York, most of which we own and operate.
In 1985 the energy industry took a drastic down fall which had a significant impact on a small business such as ours. Several businesses, in the field, filed for bankruptcy protection, which had a direct effect on GFS. It placed us in a severe financial position. Many suggested that we 'throw in the towel' and file for bankruptcy as well. But giving up was never a viable option. By this time several of the younger family members were working full or part time in the business. So with family determination, loyal employees, and customers with faith in our experience and level of achievement, we slowly regained our financial strength.
The Business has continued to grow rapidly in the past 10 years, expanding our base of operations into Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler and Tompkins counties in New York and into Bradford, Tioga and Clinton counties in Pennsylvania. This growth spurt enabled us to add another office/maintenance facility in Horseheads, New York.
In November 2007 another company, Energy Rentals, LLC, was formed to handle the growing need for specialized rental equipment in the industry. In particular they own nearly 1300, 500 bbl mobile frac tanks, for fluid storage.
With the deaths of Loyd in 1999 and Burdett in 2009, the companies are now owned by five of Burdett's children.