Billy Brenton’s journey to conduct business in Enid had twists and turns, as to be expected, but he said he wasn’t expecting to get into the cattle business.
Brenton is vice president for Transportation Partners and Logistics. TP&L operates a transloading facility for wind turbine equipment on the northeast corner of 66th and Chestnut. The company will only operate in parts for turbines in Oklahoma — not building wind turbines — but transporting and storing the eight components needed to build on, Brenton said at Enid Regional Development Alliance’s quarterly luncheon Thursday.
The Wyoming-based company operates in several states and has plans for expansion in Enid.
The wind industry will continue to grow, he said, as companies continue to improve 10-year-old turbines.
Brenton said TP&L purchased the old Legacy Building on 54th and the warehouse has 400 retro-fit kits ready to go. Retro-fit kits allow a builder to take out the old turbine and replace it with an updated turbine without touching any other aspect of the operation.
The next project will consist of warehouse construction, he said.
“By my calculations — there’s a little over, close to $580 million in projects so far — so that little school district (Pioneer-Pleasant Vale Public Schools) will have quite the surprise this year when they get their paycheck,” he said.
Brenton said the community worked hard, did its homework and came together to get TP&L and its customer base to the table.
“When I first came here, Brent (Kisling) had people lined up in an office waiting for me,” Brenton said.
Brenton said TP&L came to Oklahoma after a customer called in October. The customer ended up going to El Reno and Brenton didn’t think about it again.
“Then it was Christmas Eve, I was headed to Denver when they called me and said, ‘Hey, you need to go back to Oklahoma. They don’t have enough room (in El Reno) to send all that stuff,’” Brenton said.
Back in Oklahoma, Brenton said he drove around Enid. Seeing the industrial park and Koch Fertilizer plant, Brenton said he knew he wanted to be out there.
“By the time we get the deal done (to purchase the land) — and it took a lot because they (the owners) knew I needed it — I drive out there all excited with trucks ready to start pouring in, we got everything worked out with the city. I pull up and there’s a bunch of cows on the land,” he said. “There’s a lease on the land for the cows. They didn’t tell me that when I bought it, and he’s got a pretty solid lease.”
The farmer didn’t want to move his cattle, Brenton said.
“I’ve got people coming to build track in two days,” he said. “I called him up and said, ‘What’s your price?’ and he told me I didn’t want his cows. … I said every day it seems like there are more cows and he said, ‘Yeah, I’m putting 150 out there.’”
Brenton bought 150 cows to use the land. He said most were shipped to a feed lot, some were purchased by Tyson Foods and 23 were slaughtered and given to TP&L employees.
“I know what I’m good at and I’m not a good rancher,” he said. “But, we had trains coming and June 1 we had the first train coming. The spring was monsoon rain season — that’s what I called it, an unbelievable amount of moisture— and we basically built 7,000 feet of track in 22 days. We got it done.”
STORY PROVIDED BY: ENID NEWS & EAGLE