OGA Pipeline 2016 - 17


Suburban Natural Gas, Ohio Cumberland
Gas: Family Ownership, Take Two
BY NEIL DURBIN

An historic image of a well on the JR Wilson Farm. Photo courtesy of Sheldon Gas.

Working in a small, family-oriented company enabled the
Poole brothers to gain a wide range of work experience. "I have
worked with the company since I was a kid," Mike Poole says.
"I started working summers and then worked full time, doing
any jobs that needed to be done. Whatever aspect needs to be
handled, we take care of it. No job is too big and no job is too
small. You just turn your hat a little bit and start the next task.
We did a lot of meter reading and ditch digging. I can remember
when we didn't own a backhoe."
The family approach also allows for a close working relationship
with the company's 1,700 customers. "We are a lot closer with
our customers than larger companies," Mike Poole says. "That's
probably, the biggest thing."
In the late 1880s, another northwest Ohio entrepreneur,
Bert L. Sheldon, and his father drilled gas wells throughout northwest Ohio. Those production operations evolved into a natural gas
utility, the Bert L. Sheldon Company, incorporated in 1914, which
secured a franchise from the Village of Dunkirk. The company,
now known as Sheldon Gas Company, serves 1,375 customers in
Dunkirk, Dola, Forrest, Vanlue and Kenton.
Bert Sheldon owned and operated the company, which
also continued to drill wells, until his death in 1956. Bert's son,
Russell H. Sheldon, joined the family business after spending two
years training at the Colorado School of Mining. He succeeded his
father as owner. Russell's son, Bert Sheldon, joined the company
after serving in the Air Force, assuming ownership after buying
out his father in 1970.
Bert Sheldon expanded the business by acquiring the Forest
Gas Company and the Vanlue Gas Company in the 1970s. He also
sold the company's last drilling rig in 1985, eventually transitioning that part of the business into direction boring in 1994. Bert
Sheldon played an instrumental role in founding OGA in 1971.

OGA PIPELINE * 2016

Executive Staff: David L. Pemberton, left, chairman and chief executive officer, guides Suburban
Natural Gas with the help of his executive team: Sally Phillips, Special Projects Coordinator/Corporate
Secretary; Natalie Long, Executive Office Administrator; Margie West, Corporate Secretary; and
Andrew Sonderman, President and Chief Operating Officer. Photo by Suburban Natural Gas.

SUBURBAN NATURAL GAS AND Ohio Cumberland Gas both
continue to grow and thrive under the leadership of their respective second different family owners.
Suburban, serves more than 16,000 residential, commercial
and industrial customers, in Delaware and Marion counties and
in eight northwest Ohio communities surrounding Bowling
Green and Findlay.
Ohio Cumberland serves 1,900 residential and small commercial customers, and a handful of large commercial and industrial
customers, which account for 80 percent of its total throughput,
in parts of Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Morrow
and Richland counties.
David L. Pemberton, Suburban's chairman and chief executive officer, purchased a 50-percent interest in the company
in 1989 from descendents of the founding Hughes family. He
purchased the remainder of the company in 2000.
Suburban's roots go back to 1882, when the state's original
oil and gas boom attracted the Hughes family from the East
Coast to northwest Ohio, Pemberton explains. The company
was established under Hughes' ownership as Consumers Natural
Gas Company in the Wood County village of Cygnet.
The entrepreneurial Hughes family eventually founded a
general store and the Cygnet Savings Bank. During the Great
Depression years, those banking operations eventually brought
Carl Schwynn, a Toledo banker, to Cygnet. Schwynn married
into the Hughes family. While Consumers continued serving
customers, the equally entrepreneurial Schwynn diversified the
family business into a chain of movie theaters, shrewdly selling
them off at the dawn of the Television Age, Pemberton says.
In 1958, Schwynn founded Suburban Fuel Gas Inc. to pipe
smaller communities that did not have natural gas service.

17



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of OGA Pipeline 2016

President’s Corner
Executive Roundtable
Generation to Generation: Ohio Family-Owned Gas Utilities Survive and Thrive
OGA Members Work to Refill the Jobs Pipeline in Response to Pending Retirements
Using New Approaches to Proclaim the Call Before Digging Safety Message
Vacuum Excavation Delivers Safer, More Precise Digging, Expediting Restoration, Reducing Costs
Practicing the Art of Safety: Protecting Employees Helps Protect Companies
Pipeline Spotlight: PUCO Chair Asim Z. Haque
2016 OGA Affiliate, Associate and Corporate Members Listings
2016 OGA Executive Board and Committee Listings
Index of Advertisers/Advertiser.com
OGA Pipeline 2016 - cover1
OGA Pipeline 2016 - cover2
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 3
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 4
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 5
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 6
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 7
OGA Pipeline 2016 - President’s Corner
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 9
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 10
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 11
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 12
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 13
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Executive Roundtable
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 15
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Generation to Generation: Ohio Family-Owned Gas Utilities Survive and Thrive
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 17
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 18
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 19
OGA Pipeline 2016 - OGA Members Work to Refill the Jobs Pipeline in Response to Pending Retirements
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 21
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 22
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 23
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Using New Approaches to Proclaim the Call Before Digging Safety Message
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 25
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 26
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 27
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Vacuum Excavation Delivers Safer, More Precise Digging, Expediting Restoration, Reducing Costs
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 29
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 30
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Practicing the Art of Safety: Protecting Employees Helps Protect Companies
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Pipeline Spotlight: PUCO Chair Asim Z. Haque
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 33
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 2016 OGA Affiliate, Associate and Corporate Members Listings
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 35
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 36
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 37
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 38
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 39
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 2016 OGA Executive Board and Committee Listings
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 41
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Index of Advertisers/Advertiser.com
OGA Pipeline 2016 - cover3
OGA Pipeline 2016 - cover4
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 45
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 46
OGA Pipeline 2016 - outsert1
OGA Pipeline 2016 - outsert2
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