Celebrating 50 Years of Engineered Excellence: A Message from our CEO

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My dad’s eagerness to sell Clark Brother’s integral gas engine/compressors to Tennessee Gas Pipeline caused him to sell them a compressor without valves. Dad promised Tennessee Gas that he would find someone to build Ingersoll Rand-type channel valves for the Clark compressor.  That “someone”  turned out to be Ernest Hotze himself and ultimately led to the birth of Compressor Engineering Corporation, which he continued to lead until his passing in 1995.

During the spring of 1964, I vividly remember sitting with my father in the living room measuring all the parts of an Ingersoll Rand channel valve.  I was using a vernier scale caliper to measure the parts and read the dimensions to dad as he neatly wrote them down on a handmade chart.  Dad’s clear drafting, lettering and numbers impressed his children.

As an Oklahoma University mechanical engineer, Dad knew he needed to find a foundry, pattern makers, steel suppliers, machine shops, punch pressers and specialized lappers.  The first equipment we purchased was a hand-cranked rolling machine for valve springs.  The young Hotze brothers would take turns rolling the springs, while another brother placed them into the rollers.  Soon after, dad delivered the first official order of CECO channel valves to Tennessee Gas Pipeline.

Tennessee Gas was so impressed by the sealing capabilities of the first lapped CECO channels, they ordered additional sets  for their other Ingersoll Rand compressors. Dad had created a company that was selling spare parts for his biggest competitor’s compressor valves.  How sweet that was.  About 1967, we moved all of the production to the back of Rene Horvath’s shop on Heights Boulevard. It was a metal building with only a big fan to fight the Texas heat.

Rene helped take orders and measure more compressor parts to produce. Sales increased.  In 1970, a 10,000-square foot shop was built on Feagan Street.  Horvath Precision Model occupied 25 percent of the Ho-Ho building. During this time, CECO purchased its first Spitfire lapping machine and Blanchard grinders.

Clint Hager, a pillar in CECO’s history, came to work for dad from the valve and regulator department within Ingersoll Rand. Clint’s expertise allowed us to open the valve repair shop. In 1975 computers were installed to automate the business processes and heat treating equipment was installed for channels and for valve discs.  CECO had many setbacks, but we kept plugging forward and dad’s company that started in the family garage became a worldwide supplier of compressor and engine parts.

In 1976,  Dad retired from Dresser Clark as a Vice President of Sales, and we began making Clark replacement parts full-time. CECO had outgrown the Feagan Street plant. We purchased the 20,000-square foot Gulf Aerospace building on Alder Drive.

Soon after, we hired Art Black from Ingersoll Rand to be CECO’s Chief Engineer. Art turned CECO’s Engineering department into a first-class shop. In 1978, a CECO opened a New Orleans warehouse. Our Odessa repair shop was also opened and we sold more parts in the first months than our distributor did in the whole year. In 1984, an additional 35,000-square foot manufacturing and office building was added on to the Alder Drive office. The eminent engineer James R. Hutton joined us in 1986.

The 1990s saw the acquisitions of Anderson Consulting, Testing and Training and the Ball Valve company. By 2003, CECO purchased LDI Contractors in Birmingham to form CECO Pipeline Services, now a growing, dynamic business. Parts Maintenance Inc. in Baton Rouge became a CECO Precision Repair Center. The Baton Rouge and New Orleans locations combined in a new building in Walker, Louisiana, in 2009.

CECO has changed over its first 50 years to meet the needs of our customers and we will continue this tradition of change and improvement throughout the next 50 years.  Our mission is for CECO’s products, services and processes to meet and exceed our customers’ needs and expectations.

I give many thanks to all the bright, ingenious and hard working CECO associates that have made dad’s company such a successful and highly-regarded corporation in the oil and gas industry. The Hotze family is eternally grateful to all of our CECO Family that has made these 50 years possible.

For a timeline of CECO’s first 50 years, please visit:  http://tryceco.com/50/

 

Celebrating Our Co-Founder, Margaret Hotze, on this Mother’s Day

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On this Mother’s Day in CECO’s 50th year, we honor the matriarch and co-founder of CECO, Mrs. Margaret Hotze.

 

In 1948, Margaret received her degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Texas, and soon after she married Ernest Hotze. In their nearly 50 years of marriage, Margaret and Ernest raised eight children — seven boys and one girl. A busy mom, Margaret is involved in the Church and charitable organizations, and she has also played a key role at CECO since its birth in 1964. Margaret was in charge of billing customers, fulfilling orders, and shipping in the early days, and she has participated in directing the company on the Board for many years.

 

CECO’s 50 years of success can be largely attributed to Margaret’s hard work for the company and with her family.

 

Thank you, Margaret Hotze, and special thanks and love to all of our wonderful mothers whose work and sacrifice have enriched our lives.

CECO Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Randy Anderson’s Distinguished Service to the Oil & Gas Industry

Randy Anderson, CECO Training & Technical Services Principal Consultant, celebrates his 40th year of service in the Oil & Gas industry. Anderson is one of the leading compressor and engine experts and is considered one of the top trainers in the industry.

Anderson began his career at Panhandle Eastern Pipeline in 1974 where he became the Senior Engineer for Plant Operations and Maintenance at Panhandle Eastern, Trunkline and Duke Energy. He left Duke in order to establish his own company, Anderson Consulting, Training & Testing (ACTT) in 1996. CECO acquired ACTT three years later, creating the CECO Training & Technical services division (CTTS).

CTTS has become the industry leader for training and technical services in the natural gas and petrochemical industries where compression is operated and maintained. The division has grown to include a robust list of compressor and engine training courses, workbooks, engine software, compressor performance testing and analysis services. CTTS now offers online training to customers as well.

Anderson is one of top technical trainers in the industry on engine and compressor operation, maintenance, and analysis. Over the 40 years of his career, he has managed and implemented numerous innovative solutions, including preventive maintenance and equipment analysis programs.

Manny Angulo, CTTS Senior Engineer, stated, “I am fortunate to have known Randy for almost 25 years and have learned more from him that he will ever know. Randy has been successful throughout his career by presenting very technical information in an easy to understand manner from many memorable personal experiences.  His progression from a day laborer at a compressor station in Kansas to senior engineer on the corporate technical staff in Houston provided the solid foundation in operations and maintenance practices while he mastered and then developed complicated performance measures.”

CECO CEO Bruce Hotze said, “Randy is widely known and highly respected throughout the industry. Randy’s expertise in compressors and engines is unsurpassed by anyone I have ever met. His unique ability to convey difficult technical details of compressor and engine operations, his quick wit and his great stories leave vivid memories with students in his courses. Anyone who maintains compressors and engines could use Randy’s expertise on improving performance, reducing costs and increasing output.”

A native Kansas, Vietnam veteran, avid hunter and fisherman, Randy and his wife have resided in Houston, Texas, for over 20 years.

Marking the 99th birthday of Ernest Hotze

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March 1, 2014 marks the 99th anniversary of the birth of CECO founder Mr. Ernest G. Hotze Jr. Mr. Hotze was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the family’s quarters above his dad’s shoe shop.  It was just seven months after the outbreak of World War I in Europe, when a kid could go to the store and buy candy and a pickle for a nickel. Growing up, Mr. Hotze would work at the shoemaker’s trade and go to school. He bought his first car, a used 1923 Model T Ford, in 1931 for $13.00.

Ernest worked in the Oklahoma oil fields as a teenager, working while he attended Oklahoma University. He graduated in 1940, and soon went to work out of Tulsa, traveling for Clark Brothers Company of Olean, New York, manufacturer of engines and compressors. Clark Brothers became Dresser-Clark and as the company grew, Mr. Hotze was transferred to Houston. While traveling, Mr. Hotze met Margaret Mary Fagan in Corpus Christi, and they were married in 1949.

Mr. Hotze was a consummate salesman responsive to his clients’ needs, and when in 1964, a customer asked for a particular valve for his compressor that Mr. Hotze’s own company could not make, he undertook to have the valves made — and that was how CECO was born.

Mr. Hotze retired from Dresser-Clark as Vice President (it would later become Dresser-Rand) and devoted full time to CECO in the 1970’s, and the CECO grew into one of the largest independent manufacturers of aftermarket compressor parts in the world, making parts of all kinds for compressors and engines of all kinds. The company now also provides pipeline services, training and emissions testing, field maintenance and repair services.

When he died on November 2, 1995, Mr. Hotze had left a legacy of eight children and many grandchildren and many friends, associates and customers who appreciated his good humor, hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to God, his family, and his extended family at CECO.

Mr. Hotze’s gravestone reads:

Newsboy, oilfield worker, petroleum engineer, super salesman, entrepreneur, inventor, handyman, political activist, benefactor, storyteller, counselor, friend, father of eight children.

We fondly cherish the memory of his many virtues and his infectious laugh. His upright deportment, integrity & enormously hugely joyful happy nature secured the esteem of all who knew him. Firm in his faith and constant in the practice of his religion weep no more; he died hoping for mercy at the Resurrection.

James R. Hutton Celebrates the 60th Anniversary of his Professional Engineers License

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Compressor Engineering Corporation (CECO) Vice President James R. Hutton has held his Professional Engineer (PE) license for a remarkable 60 years. At 94, Hutton is the 5th oldest active PE residing in Texas. In Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico he stands as the oldest active Professional Engineer.

After serving as a Chief Engineer in the US Navy during World War II, Hutton graduated with Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He is author of How to Sell Technical Equipment and Services (PennWell, 2005).

Hutton came to CECO in 1986 after retiring as president of the International Division of Dresser Machinery, where he had worked for 38 years. Hutton began his career with Clark Brothers, a Division of Dresser, where they manufactured compressor and integral gas engines. His long years of service to the oil and gas industry are unparalleled.

In October of 2012, Hutton received the Edward N. Henderson Award from the Gas Machinery Research Council (GMRC). The award honors distinguished service to the GMRC and the gas industry.

At that time, Mike Grubb, president of the GMRC, said, “Mr. Hutton has been an inspiration to so many young engineers over the course of his career. His passion for mentoring, especially in the area of ethics, has helped many professionals in our industry grow into the positions they enjoy today.”

Richard Hotze, president of CECO, said, “It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with Mr. Hutton for the past 28 years. He will always be a leader, a friend, and a wealth of knowledge about engineering and sales.”

 

Ringing in the New Year!

“Ring out the old, ring in the new”

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The custom in old England was to ring the church bells at midnight on New Year’s Eve, first as a tolling to say goodbye to the old year, and then briskly as a celebration of the new year. In 1850, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, one of the greatest English poets, immortalized the custom in Canto 106 of his long poem In Memoriam A.H.H., a lyric elegy to a friend who had died at a young age in 1833. One can hear both Tennyson’s sorrow and his hope for a new beginning in the canto, often known by its first line:

 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

 

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

 

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,

For those that here we see no more,

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

 

Ring out a slowly dying cause,

And ancient forms of party strife;

Ring in the nobler modes of life,

With sweeter manners, purer laws.

 

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,

The faithless coldness of the times;

Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,

But ring the fuller minstrel in.

 

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

 

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

 

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

CECO Associates Donate over One Ton of Food Benefiting Houston Food Bank

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Compressor Engineering Corporation (CECO) wrapped up its first Holiday Food Drive last week, collecting over 2,000 pounds of food for families in need. At its annual Christmas Lunch, CECO’s Houston office presented the donation of non-perishable food and a check for $1,000 to the Houston Food Bank.

“It’s great to give back to the city where CECO is headquartered.” said Bruce Hotze, CEO of CECO.

Collection barrels and boxes were provided by the Houston Food Bank. Community Events & Engagement Coordinator, Yolanda Alexander, came out to receive the donation on behalf of the Food Bank and said, “We are so grateful for CECO’s generous donation. Their donation alone will help us provide 3,000 nutritious meals to families in need this holiday season.”

“We are grateful for support from companies like CECO,” says Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank. “Houston is a generous community and we are fortunate for that. Someone in need this holiday will be a little less stressed because they can rely on the support from caring neighbors. Thank you.”

Other CECO locations also participated in the Holiday Food Drive benefiting local food banks in Baton Rouge, La. and Birmingham, Al.

To find out how you can help the Houston Food Bank visit their website: www.houstonfoodbank.org or call 713-223-3700.

Houston Food Bank
Operating from a 308,000 square-foot facility, the Houston Food Bank is the nation’s largest size Feeding America food bank and source of food for hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties. They have been named top charity in Texas by Charity Navigator for financial performance and accountability. A network of nearly 600 food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers and other agencies, feeding a total of 137,000 people each week, provides more than 64 million nutritious meals to food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers and other agencies, feeding 137,000 people each week. Fresh produce, meat and nonperishable’s are distributed from the new warehouse at 535 Portwall, and hot meals are prepared and distributed from Keegan Center, a 15,000 square-foot industrial kitchen. Additional community services range from nutrition education to assistance with food stamp applications and hands-on job training. Red Barrels offer a convenient way for grocery shoppers to donate nonperishable’s for their neighbors in need. The Houston Food Bank, founded in 1982, is a certified member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. The organization plans to grow to provide100 million nutritious meals annually by 2018. Visit HoustonFoodBank.org for more information. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/HoustonFoodBank or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/HoustonFoodBank.

Happy Veterans Day!


Saluting all our veterans today! Thanks for all you do for this country. http://ow.ly/qIsYl

 

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Today CECO is proud to recognize one of our own, Mr. James “Jim” Hutton. Mr. Hutton has been Vice President  at CECO since 1985. Even now at 93 years old, he is still able to fit in his Naval uniform, pictured to the right.

In 1943, Jim joined the U.S. Navy as where he served as the Engineering Officer on naval ship LST 1020. He served in two campaigns in WWII, including participating in a Southern  Landing in France two months after D-day. In 1945 Jim reenlisted and served in the Pacific Theater. Jim is one of the few veterans alive today to have been in Okinawa Japan when the war ended in 1945.Thank you to all our Veterans who have bravely served our great country to protect our freedom.

 

Happy Veterans Day!

Your Friends at CECO

 

 

 

In Memory of David Sinclair

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our fellow CECO Pipeline associate David Sinclair.

David started with CECO Pipeline in August 2012 and had held the position of Sr. Business Development Representative. During his short tenure with the company, David made major contributions to our organization. He was a true asset to the Pipeline family and CECO as a whole .

He enjoyed spending time with his family, horses, hunting and other Southern recreation. He will be truly missed.

He and his family will be in our thoughts and prayers. “Eternal rest grant unto him”.

David is survived by his wife, Carolyn Sinclair; sons, David (Vicki) Sinclair and Bryan (Allison) Sinclair; daughters, Donna (Pat) Orr and Tanya (Scott) Waller; 8 grandchildren; Sister, Carolyn (Bobby) Hennington.

Visitation will be held Friday, September 20, 2013, after 5:00 pm at Wright’s Funeral Home, Quitman, Mississippi.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm at the Wright’s Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Norman Robinson officiating. Burial will follow in Harmony Cemetery.