Sivalls is 2023 PBIOS Honoree

Industrialist’s company dates back to 1900 in Ohio

C. Richard “Dick” Sivalls

Just named the Oct. 17-19 Permian Basin International Oil Show’s 2023 Honoree, pioneer Odessa industrialist C. Richard “Dick” Sivalls says the past honorees whom he most admires are those who worked to build up their communities as well as their businesses.

“It’s a nice honor,” Sivalls said Thursday. “I didn’t expect it, but I appreciate it.”

The 44th man to be chosen the honoree since Houston Krump in 1952, he cited Dick Gillham, W.D. “Bill” Noel and E.G. Rodman as exemplary of his ideal and he said there are of course other past honorees who showed considerable civic consciousness.

“Gillham and I are good friends,” Sivalls said. “He was in the crane business, moving equipment, and he was very active in the arts and crafts and still is. Noel and Rodman were partners in banking and petrochemicals and very generous in the community.

“They were calm, not flashy, and they were generous and sincere in what they invested in and worked on. I have always thought it was important for the industry not to get separated from civic affairs.”

Sivalls’ oilfield equipment manufacturing company dates back to 1900 in Findlay, Ohio, where his grandfather James made redwood water and whiskey barrels and moved them on mule-drawn wagons. With the discovery of oil James Sivalls took on partners and began making wooden tanks for the industry in Bartlesville, Okla., in 1904.

Dick’s father Charles reached Odessa in 1947, bought land on the south side of the 2200 block of East Second Street and founded Sivalls Inc., which later established the affiliate Control Equipment Inc. as the energy industry transitioned from bolted metal tanks to welded ones for use in the Spraberry Field south of Midland.

Dick began working in Odessa in the summers while attending the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering, and he lived in a boardinghouse owned by Millie van Horn at Ninth Street and Sam Houston Avenue.

“Odessa had a couple of movie theaters, one or two decent restaurants and a grainy black and white TV set in the living room of the boardinghouse, so there wasn’t much to do but work hard, eat and go to bed,” Sivalls told the Odessa American in November 2017.

He and his late wife Lura had two children and three grandchildren.

Asked how his companies had survived all the booms and busts, Sivalls said, “You don’t buy boats and lake homes and airplanes.

“Put money in the bank and save what you can so when the downturn comes you can ride it out. Pay your employees well, pay your shareholders and hold onto some reserves because you know that sooner or later it will go “zap!’ down and then come back up for any one of a thousand reasons.

“We’re well-capitalized. We don’t owe any money and we try not to lay off anybody.”

With 250 employees in six states, the company makes separators, treaters, water knockouts, heaters, gas production and dehydration units, gas and water treating equipment, emission control technology and offshore production and storage gear.

It also has plants at Pampa, Brownwood, Casper, Wyo., and Williston, N.D., and sales offices in Houston, Hobbs, N.M., Rock Springs and Evansville, Wyo., Wheatland, Okla., and Vernal, Utah.

Other past PBIOS honorees are Jerry Debenport in 1954, Dr. Emmitt Headlee, 1956; Rodman and Noel, 1958; J.P. “Bum” Gibbins, 1960; G.T. Abell and George Bentley, 1962; E.L. Decker, M.E. “Monty” Montrose, R.H. “Bob” Etnyre, Herbert Allen, Davis D. Bovaird, William J. Gillingham and Andrew W. Rose, 1964; Robert O. Anderson, 1966; Ted R. Aude, 1968; W.W. Keeler, 1970; Paul Kayser, 1972; Leonard Leon, 1974; Robert L. Parker, 1976; Frank N. Ikard, 1978; A.H. Massad, 1980; Mack Wallace, 1982; Bill Clements, 1984; Jay Alvey, 1986; Harry Keegan, 1988; Gary D. Nicholson, 1990; R.E. “Ray” Galvin, 1992; Paul N. “Red” Adair, 1994; Frank M. Pool, 1996; John Cox, 1998; Happy Dyer, 2000; Clayton Williams, 2002; Dave Fitzgerald, 2004; Cloyce A. Talbott, 2006; William B. “Dubb” Duff, 2008; Jack E. Brown and Cy Wagner Jr., 2010; Charles Perry, 2012; Jim Henry, 2014; Gillham, 2016; Tim Leach, 2018; and T.L. “Woody” Gregory, 2021.

In addition to his professional affiliations, Sivalls has held board and elected positions with the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, Odessa Industrial Development Corporation, Permian Basin Workforce Development Board, Odessa Development Corp., Odessa Rotary Club, Salvation Army of Odessa Advisory Board, United Way of Odessa, Ector County Economic Development Corp., ECISD Career Oversight Advisory Board, Odessa College Foundation Board of Trustees and University of Texas Permian Basin President’s Advisory Board.

He is a founding member, advisory board member and finance committee member of the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center and is currently a long-standing board member of the PBIOS. His elective offices include the city council and mayor pro-tem office of Odessa and the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission. He is a past chairman of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association.