GPSA FLASHBACK! Cameron and Koch Engineered Solutions are key parts of association history

By Gary Dollahon

Since 1928, GPSA members have been supply chain partners to GPA Midstream in advancing the energy industry. This year, we're celebrating six companies, which have been members for more than 75 years. In the first of a three-part series about the longest-tenured GPSA members, we’re profiling two such companies with deep roots in the GPSA Association — Cameron, an SLB company and Koch Engineered Solutions.

Cameron, an SLB company

Houston, Texas

GPSA member since May 26, 1946

Harry Cameron and James Abercrombie were the original founders of Cameron, an SLB company.

Company namesake Harry Cameron was born in Indianapolis and studied architectural and mechanical engineering at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. After moving to Dallas, he established himself as a skilled machinist. In 1920, he partnered with Texas oil driller James Abercrombie to form Cameron Ironworks.

The two men developed Abercrombie’s idea for a ram-type blowout preventer using hydrostatic pistons to close on the drill stem and form a seal against well pressure during a blowout. It was the world’s first blowout preventer (BOP), and it revolutionized safety standards for drilling operations and well control in the oilfield.

The team filed for the design’s patent in 1922. Cameron followed shortly after with a patented improvement to help eliminate leakage. He would earn four U.S. patents. In its earliest GPSA membership years, Cameron specialized in non-lubricated life plug valves. Over time and throughout additional product developments and company name changes, Cameron International grew to become a leading provider of wellhead and surface equipment, as well as flow control products, systems, and services for the upstream and midstream industries.

Cameron and Schlumberger completed a merger in 2016, creating an integrated drilling and production systems provider of pore-to-pipeline solutions in hydrocarbon recovery. Today, as part of global technology company SLB, Cameron is a leading manufacturer of oil and gas pressure control and separation equipment, and remains a leading provider of BOPs in the industry.

Throughout its membership in GPSA, Cameron personnel have helped elevate the company’s high midstream visibility and expertise through involvement at every level, including leadership, committee service, technical presentations, and networking at the GPA Midstream Convention and regional meetings.

“At Cameron, we’re a heavily midstream-focused manufacturer, therefore a healthy midstream is critical to our continuing successes in product evolution and company growth,” said Kevin Vincent, Cameron's Orbit Global Business Development Mgr. – Technical Sales Specialist. “I’ve served on the GPSA board for two years now and my familiarity with the association goes back nearly 15, so I’ve been able to see firsthand the integral roles both GPSA and GPA Midstream play in shaping the industry’s future, and allowing us to better support our customers in products and services.”  

Koch Engineered Solutions (KES), a Koch Industries subsidiary

Wichita, Kan.

GPSA member since November 1, 1948

Fred C. Koch, co-founder and namesake of Koch Engineered Solutions.

Koch launched in 1925, when Fred C. Koch joined MIT classmate Lewis E. Winkler at an engineering firm in Wichita, Kan., and renamed it the Winkler-Koch Engineering Company. In 1927, they developed a more efficient thermal cracking process for turning crude oil into gasoline. When patent challenges temporarily forced them to cease United States operations, they turned to international markets before returning to the U.S.

In 1940, Koch and new partners created the Wood River Oil and Refining Company. It was later renamed the Rock Island Oil & Refining Company, following the acquisition of that business. The company became Koch Industries in 1968, named in honor of Fred Koch after his death.

Koch has evolved into one of the largest private companies in America, and it owns a diverse group of businesses involved in manufacturing, agriculture, pulp and paper, packaging, consumer products, building materials, glass, automotive components, refining, renewable energy, chemicals and polymers, electronics, enterprise software, data analytics, medical products, engineered technology, project services, recycling, supply chain and logistics, global commodities trading, and investments.

Koch Engineering joined GPSA as a provider of engineering expertise. In 1957, the company's listing in the GPSA member directory changed to “Designers & Fabricators of Modern Trays.” Today, KES offers engineered solutions in construction, mass and heat transfer, combustion and emissions controls, filtration, separation, materials applications, automation and actuation.

“Our teams at Koch Engineered Solutions are continually inspired by the collaboration the GPA Midstream and GPSA associations create among key industry players,” said Ben Gurtler, Commercial Director – Carbon Capture. “The value of our membership extends beyond affiliation. It embodies a shared commitment to driving innovation and excellence across the industry. GPSA has been instrumental in harnessing the collective knowledge and experience of its members, empowering us to not only address today's challenges, but also to anticipate and shape the future of our industry.”

“Cameron and KES epitomize the pioneering spirit that inspired the formation of GPSA,” said Joel Moxley, GPSA CEO. “Both companies lend a wealth of talent and time to our associations, providing volunteers to our technical committees, and leading the critical work of creating and maintaining industry standards.”