Inside the Pickens Plan Campaign with Tom Synhorst and Jay Rosser

I have preached my whole life about the importance of building a great team. So here is the first in a series of podcasts with the people who actually make the Pickens Plan run.

Joining me for this episode are Jay Rosser, who has been my right hand man for 15 years and serves as my VP, Public Affairs, and seasoned political expert Tom Synhorst, who served as the Campaign Manager. When I decided to launch the Pickens Plan, Tom was my first call and first hire. He’s the hidden hand in American politics -- a man who works tirelessly behind the scenes. This is likely his video debut.

We reminisce about the beginnings of the Plan in the summer of 2008, how we were importing $1 billion of foreign oil (it’s about half that today), how we had no energy plan and no prospects for one from either candidate, Barack Obama or John McCain, and how we focused on converting heavy-duty trucks from diesel to natural gas right from the get-go.

I think you’ll appreciate this insiders’ look at how it all got started.

Subscribe to the Pickens Podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes, and let me know what you think via Twitter @BoonePickens.

-- Boone


Aug 20 2017

Saluting Mesa Natural Gas Solutions for Supporting Military Service Members

Aug 20, 2017

Among the things I’m most passionate about are those whose serve in our military and American energy independence.

I’ve long championed the need for the United States to get off OPEC oil and escape the economic and national security threats posed by that dependence. Since 2008, I have taken the Pickens Plan’s educational efforts and policy initiative strategies coast to coast and back again many times over. Once again, America simply must get on its own resources.

I’ve also supported a wide range of military support organizations — including the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, Fisher House projects, the T. Boone Pickens Military Mentors Program, Patriot Paws, the Veterans National Education Program, and Operation Mend — through the T. Boone Pickens Foundation.

I am always evaluating ways to support these two key interests – especially when they come together in such a powerful way. These two interests successfully met through a 2014 investment in Mesa Natural Gas Solutions in Casper, Wyoming.

I have a great affinity for the word “Mesa.” I grew Mesa Petroleum into one of the nation’s largest independent oil companies. My 68,000-acre Mesa Vista Ranch, in the far northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle, is my favorite place on earth. A number of my other concerns, including Mesa Natural Gas Solutions, have also born the name.

U.S. military veterans founded Mesa Natural Gas Solutions and comprise more than 60 percent of its employees. The company has more than 200 years of combined military service and more than 30 overseas deployments in its ranks, all the way up to the top. Mesa’s President and CEO, Scott Gromer, retired after 23 plus years of military service, including two unit commands, three deployments in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and as Major in the Wyoming Army National Guard. Mesa not only hires, employs, and promotes both veterans and active duty service members, but the company also supports them however it can.

Mesa Natural Gas Solutions provides clean, reliable power and other ancillary services primarily to the oil and gas industry by utilizing natural gas directly from the wellhead. Mesa provides turn-key energy solutions to its customers through services contracts that are inclusive of equipment, maintenance, service, setup, and transportation. Natural gas generators are money-savers and easier on the environment. Most diesel-powered generators require site fuel delivery three times a week; the natural gas alternatives do not require fuel deliveries, as they receive their fuel directly from the wellhead. Natural gas generators, which have much lower emissions than comparable diesel units, also reduce the amount of gas wasted as flare gas at well sites. So, the process is cleaner, more economic, and requires less truck traffic to the site.

One of my life-long regrets was the inability to serve in the military. The timing never worked for me. I was too young for World War II. By the time of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, I had young children and was deeply involved in growing Mesa Petroleum. I’ve tried to compensate over the years by giving enthusiastically to programs and organizations that benefit those who have put their lives on the line for this great nation.

Mesa Natural Gas Solutions walks the talk with its vets. If an employee deploys, he or she receives full pay and benefits for the duration of the deployment. All service members currently serving in the National Guard or Reserves receive full pay while gone for military training/duties, and are guaranteed that his or her exact job will be available upon return. The company offers flexible scheduling to accommodate service and training obligations, even without notice. Full retirement, medical, dental, and vision benefits are provided during deployment. Employees accrue vacation and sick time during deployment.

Beyond these steps, the company is proactive in finding ways to support the spouses and families of its soldiers while they are deployed. For example, the company’s leadership team regularly attends — in full force — award and honor ceremonies for military members to show its support in its community.

Their commitment to veterans has not gone unnoticed. I’m proud that Mesa Natural Gas Solutions was among the 15 recipients Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced as 2017 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award winners. The Freedom Award recognizes employers who have gone above and beyond federal requirements in support of National Guard and Reserve employees. Mesa will be among those employers recognized in a ceremony at the Pentagon on August 25th.

For this, I salute them.

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Jul 8 2017

Inside the Pickens Plan with Peter McCollum and Jason Huntsberry

Jul 8, 2017

Nine years ago today, we launched the Pickens Plan. We knew we had a great idea, and people across the country agreed. We’d held focus groups and found that Americans knew about the problem, but saw that the country lacked an energy plan. They were hungry for something that would work, a specific energy plan that included a little bit of everything — solar, wind, and natural gas.

For the final podcast on the history of the Pickens Plan, I talk with Peter McCollum, strategic communicator and Partner at Whistle Lake Public Affairs, and Jason Huntsberry, President & CEO of Schenck Foods Co. Although they referred to themselves as “little cogs in a big machine,” they were a major part of the tight-knit team that makes the Pickens Plan tick.

They discuss with me the process of going from idea to plan, navigating bumps and setbacks, and of course, learning a thing or two about the future of energy along the way.

Jason recalls “being in Kansas and seeing 3,000 people in the middle of the day, blue-collar workers, white-collar workers, showing up to meet an 80-year-old billionaire from Texas to hear about renewable energy. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

That’s the kind of support I’ve seen across the country over the past nine years. The national conversation around energy has moved forward because you understand this simple, but important idea: If it works, let’s use it. If it’s American, we’ll use it. And it’s all coming together and happening now.

Subscribe to the Pickens Podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes, and let me know what you think via Twitter @BoonePickens.

– Boone

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Jun 6 2017

Inside the Pickens Plan with Amy Weiss and Rich Galen

Jun 6, 2017

I’ve always strongly believed that a good idea can bring Americans together for a greater cause. Washington is as divided as it has ever been, and it has become difficult to set politics aside and get things done. But fortunately the Pickens Plan benefited from a bipartisan team that came together to promote a plan that has our nation’s best interests in mind.

For the latest episode of the Pickens Podcast, I sat down with Rich Galen, a columnist and former press secretary for U.S. Senators Dan Quayle (R-IN) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), and Amy Weiss, former White House Deputy Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton, press secretary and campaign manager for U.S. Representative Mike Synar (D-OK) and CEO of Weiss Public Affairs. These two have reached across the aisle to help make the Pickens Plan work. It just goes to show how successful you can be when you can look past personal politics to focus on a mission.

During our conversation, we remember some of the ways the Pickens Plan brought people together, whether it was in Washington or on the set of The Daily Show. We talk about what a great team can accomplish – all you need is a good idea.

This episode is the third in a series on the history of the Pickens Plan, where members of my team sit down to tell stories from over the years and discuss how the Pickens Plan has worked for almost ten years.

Subscribe to the Pickens Podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes, and let me know what you think via Twitter @BoonePickens.

– Boone

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Over 3 million Americans have signed up for the Pickens Plan Army.Will you?