Heath and Associates, Inc. proudly announces its 50th year of service in the natural gas industry. The engineering and management consulting firm opened for business sometime in 1960, but the exact date is unknown. Though many businesses struggle to stay solvent in today’s economy, President Scott Heath says he is proud that the Shelby, N.C. firm will celebrate 50 years of business this year. Founder Charles Heath and his two sons, Brian and Scott, have contributed to the firm’s rich history and its present success.
Transcontinental Gas Corporation brought natural gas service to the Carolinas in the late 1950’s. Charles Heath was working for Illinois Power Company in their natural gas division and had the opportunity to move to Shelby, N.C., to manage the construction and operations of the City of Shelby’s newly established gas system. After a few years working as the Gas Department Superintendent, Heath realized that other small gas systems would need a knowledgeable natural gas consultant. To meet this need, he founded Heath and Associates and quickly established two clients, the City of Shelby and the City of Lexington, N.C. Heath and Associates has provided some type of service to these two clients every month since 1960.
During the 1960’s when natural gas was first made available to the southeastern states, natural gas prices were regulated at artificially low rates. This availability of a new, cheap energy source and a booming national economy created a rapid expansion in the natural gas industry. Heath and Associates’ engineering and management services assisted many developing gas systems during this time. The company also added engineers and a secretary to the operations to expand its services.
Heath and Associates offered financial, engineering and operational consulting services to the newly emerging gas systems. The firm became an early leader in writing operating and maintenance plans and other products to help clients comply with the safety regulations set forth in the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968. Heath and Associates also offered training for managers and field personnel.
Heath and Associates helped its clients alter their strategies as the natural gas industry entered the 1970’s – a period of gas shortages, high prices and curtailments. The firm’s gas purchasing and transportation expertise dates back to this period when Heath and Associates purchased natural gas supplies from producers and arranged transportation to clients. State and local governments engaged the company in their attempt to stimulate economic development. Charles Heath traveled abroad with governors and other state officials as a fuel adviser to assist with their industrial recruitment efforts.
Natural gas purchasing and transportation became largely deregulated in the 1980’s. Heath and Associates organized many of its municipal customers into a pool to maximize their purchasing power and assisted these clients with gas purchasing services. Brian N. Heath joined the firm in the late 1980’s after working with Conoco and Entrade in their gas marketing operations. Heath and Associates Marketing was formed to provide gas purchasing and marketing service. By 1990, Heath and Associates Marketing had merged with Houston-based Petra Resources to become Heath Petra Resources. Although additional mergers and acquisitions of the marketing company have occurred, Brian Heath has continued to provide gas purchasing and marketing services to clients of Heath and Associates in a sub-contract capacity. Today Brian Heath works as a consultant for Hess Corporation, and continues to be an owner of Heath and Associates.
In 1988, E. Scott Heath joined Heath and Associates. Scott Heath previously worked eight years with ARCO Oil & Gas in various engineering capacities. The Heath and Associates customer base grew, along with its staff, in the 1990’s. Natural gas was again cheap, and many gas systems were expanding. During the 1990’s Charles Heath phased into retirement, and Scott Heath became the President and CEO of the company.
The 21st century has brought uncertain economic times, volatile gas prices, and dramatically changing regulatory requirements concerning pipeline safety and security issues to the gas industry. By continually adapting to and capitalizing on the opportunities that the changing natural gas industry creates, Heath and Associates has maintained its relationships with its client base and developed a variety of experience and expertise in management and engineering services.
Over the past 50 years, Heath and Associates has done a multitude of feasibility and rate studies, as well as a broad spectrum of detailed engineering design for natural gas systems. Heath and Associates is currently working as a consultant for the APGA/SIF to develop SHRIMP, a distribution integrity management program that will be used by hundreds of smaller gas utilities. Heath and Associates typically works in seven to eight states each year and is recognized nationally for its expertise. The company has served more than 60 gas utilities and private sector clients across the U.S. during the past 50 years.
Heath and Associates takes pride in the professional and personal relationships formed over the firm’s history. Many consulting firms tend to be project driven, but Heath and Associates is very much relationship driven. The patronage of faithful clients has made the firm successful. The vast majority of clients use Heath and Associates again and again. The company is more vibrant than ever due to its relationships and commitment to deliver straightforward, unbiased, quality advice and services.
Heath and Associates will hold an open house at its offices on October 5, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. All friends and clients are welcome.