Elliott Oil Company: More than 50 Years of Serving Ottumwa & SE Iowa
Monday, January 21, 2019
When Jim Elliott founded a small fuel distribution company in Ottumwa in 1961 as a tank wagon fuel delivery driver, he couldn’t have known it would become a multigenerational business that would still be thriving more than half a century later.
The company began when Jim Elliott became a commissioned agent for Sinclair Refining. Over the years, Elliott Oil has grown exponentially. It has managed to find ways to successfully evolve, innovate and diversify in order to remain sustainable and grow in a changing economy.
Family values have always been integral to the company business philosophy. Jim’s son-in-law, Randy Woodard joined the business in 1984 and has long served as the company’s now chairman and CEO. Randy’s son Andrew Woodard, who joined the company in 2010, now serves as the company’s president and COO.
Today the company owns and operates 16 convenience stores, marketing BP fuels. It operates a fuel transportation business, Elliott Transport, Inc., delivering fuel to customers around the clock, seven days a week.
The company began delivering fuel to agricultural and industrial customers, such as farmers, construction sites, power plants and more through its tank wagon fuel distribution business, Elliott Bulk Services, LLC in 2008.
In 2014, Andrew established a new wholesale fuel distribution segment of the business, which has been a key part of its plan for diversification and future growth. Elliott Oil now supplies and distributes fuel to customers in four Midwest states.
Elliott Oil employs about 150 people in the local Ottumwa area and a total of about 220 people throughout the entire company. Andrew notes that the retail stores emphasize customer service and have a “community and local consumer-based focus.”
It’s not unusual to see Andrew out at the stores, visiting with workers and customers. Part of the company mission and purpose is to provide a work environment where employees are treated with respect and dignity, and where commitment and high performance is expected and rewarded.
The company also makes a point of investing in the communities it serves, through charitable giving and leadership. It has established a scholarship at the Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa and its donations regularly benefit the Ottumwa Community School System and other local organizations. In addition, both Randy and Andrew have served on several local leadership boards in the Ottumwa area.
The company plans to continue to pursue growth opportunities in all areas of the business when those opportunities arise. Currently, it’s focused on growth as well as reinvestment. Customers will notice that Elliott Oil has been remodeling and rebuilding some of its stores to a modern and larger footprint model to better serve their customers.
Andrew takes pride in the fact that Elliott Oil is still focused on the same objectives and strong company culture that the business started with 58 years ago, despite continual change in the industry. It’s a unique distinction in current times.
“Even though the industry has changed so much over the years, there’s one key thing that has remained constant and always will — the importance of taking care of our employees and customers,” says Andrew.