MARIETTA — A once nearly abandoned warehouse down the street from the Marietta cemetery has become the heart of a booming oil and natural gas operation.
Chickasaw Nation Industries Inc. is nearly complete with an overhaul of the former Siemens plant that will allow its Innovation One to build and repair pressure tanks, frac tanks and other equipment used in the oil fields throughout the region.
“I'm excited about the opportunities we have in front of us and the opportunity to grow,” CNI Chairman Neal McCaleb said.
The Chickasaw Nation bought the manufacturing plant in 2004 after Siemens announced plans to close its operations in the area.
Innovation One began its upgrade early this year and hopes to be fully operational by the end of August.
The facility had boasted one of the largest powdercoat dry-paint processes in the state. Innovation One is adding a blasted-paint system similar to what is used in automotive painting. The bay is large enough to handle a semitrailer or a frac tank.
The upgrade also includes three 10-ton cranes to move the large oil field equipment throughout the facility.
“By the investment of the Chickasaws through CNI, we have saved 60 jobs and are trying to expand on that,” McCaleb said.
McCaleb said the facility plans to add 80 to 100 employees over the next 14 months.
The 110,000-square-foot plant historically has manufactured baggage conveyors, catwalks, hand rails and other steel-based products. Innovation One still makes those products to support its airport and retail customers, but the company is working to add to its expertise.
“In the airport market and distribution center market, they all have systems that require catwalks, handrails, stairs, ladders. The products themselves are very comparable to the oil field market,” CNI CEO David Nimmo said. “The things we're looking at, they're all in our wheelhouse.”
CNI has been a federal contractor for more than 18 years. The company has about 1,700 employees nationwide, most of which are outside of Oklahoma.
The Chickasaw Nation sees its new oil field equipment effort as an opportunity to move its focus to business in the private sector and away from federal contracts.