Image: BlackHawk

Paul Morris is the fourth generation of his family to work in the energy sector. His great-grandfather left the seventh grade to support his family by moving drill rigs after his father died. Today, Paul’s company, Blackhawk Energy, with offices in Innovation Park, is dedicated to delivering affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that’s vitally needed to survive and thrive. He’s always ready to have a meaningful conversation about fracking, and to tell you why he’s so excited about what’s happening next in alternative energy. 

We interviewed Paul while he was on location at one of his oil and gas well sites, while he used the hot spot on his phone to turn his truck cab into a mobile office. We asked him what 2020 was like for his energy startup, and where renewables are going next. Read on. 

The Happy Valley community is always rooting for success—that’s a contagious vibe!

Image: BlackHawk

HVI:How did Blackhawk weather the energy changes over the past year? 

Morris: 2020 was a year that no one could have planned for, but everyone should learn from!

As a relatively new start-up it proved to be a wonderful learning experience for all of us at Blackhawk. Prior to COVID, we made the decision to grow at a measured pace and not take on too much debt, even though that is sometimes the most appealing option for growth.

 Change can happen in a way where there doesn’t have to be winners and losers in dramatic fashion. Oil and gas companies are not the enemy, in fact, they’re an important part of the solution. The oil and gas industry employs some of the brightest minds, hardest workers, and most capable problem solvers.

Not being over leveraged when the world came to a standstill proved to be a company-saver. Also, we thought we were pretty lean going into the pandemic, but throughout the year we were able to find creative ways to be more efficient with what we do and that’s a credit to everyone involved. Above all else, I’m most impressed with each individual’s selfless sacrifice for the betterment of the company, whether that meant delaying a raise, taking a pay cut, or doing more work for the same pay. Every single person in our company made a sacrifice, and I’m grateful for each and every one of them. The same goes for our vendors, service providers, capital partners, and banking partners. It was amazing to see everyone come together for the common good with a belief that we’ll all be better for it as soon as these extenuating circumstances are behind us.

Image: BlackHawk

HVI: What are the top things you feel the world needs to know about your company that it doesn’t already?

Morris: As an oil and gas company, we’re at an interesting crossroad. We know that oil and gas is absolutely necessary, and on a massive scale, to power the supply chain of this country. What was accomplished during this pandemic—keeping people supplied with food, shelter, medicine, and clothing—could not have been achieved without oil and gas. We also know that renewable energy sources are making advancements in technology and with federal, state, and local subsidies they will eventually become competitive and profitable, so we will find ourselves in that space soon.

I think everyone in energy is moving in the right direction, and the next few years are going to be really exciting for renewables.

I think the world needs to know that we’re all in this together. Ideological difference can exist without ill-will and intentional divisiveness. Change can happen in a way where there doesn’t have to be winners and losers in dramatic fashion. Oil and gas companies are not the enemy, in fact, they’re an important part of the solution. The oil and gas industry employs some of the brightest minds, hardest workers, and most capable problem solvers. Beyond that, it’s just best to treat people with respect and dignity.

I think everyone in energy is moving in the right direction, and the next few years are going to be really exciting for renewables. 

HVI: What’s your secret sauce that sets you apart from your competitors? 

Morris: We like to be friendly competitors who are honest, fair, and forward thinking. That’s our company culture — to work hard, tell the truth, expect fairness. This is what we as the founders value and it’s what every employee, service provider, and customer of ours can count on. We treat others like we hope to be treated. If we remain consistent in our approach, we will always be happy with the end result, in both business and in life. 

Image: BlackHawk

HVI: What are the pain points you’re uniquely solving for your customers?

Morris: Our customers purchase oil and gas. Due to increasing global demand, they’re pushing us to responsibly produce more and more. In order to do that, we need to take care of our vendors and contractors. The major disruption of the supply chain as a result of COVID created unique joint venture opportunities where we can help support third party providers, and in turn be able to continue to rely on their good quality service. By keeping the supply chain intact and helping to keep others in business, we can continue to operate ourselves. 

The Innovation Park network is invaluable to us and has been one of the greatest positive influences on our business.

HVI: Why Happy Valley? What are the benefits of existing here in the Happy Valley ecosystem? 

Morris: We considered several locations for Blackhawk Energy’s offices, but we decided on Happy Valley because we believe it’s a great place to raise our children. Once we established the office at Innovation Park, we discovered the incredible professional community which is always at work supporting businesses of all kinds. The Innovation Park network is invaluable to us and has been one of the greatest positive influences on our business. I’d like to thank Dan, Michelle, Brenda, Scott, Kate, and all of the others here at Innovation Park for their continued support. The Happy Valley community is always rooting for success—that’s a contagious vibe!