Steve’s Story: President/CEO of Hightower Petroleum Co.
Born, raised and a current resident of Middletown, Ohio, Steve Hightower is certainly a major player in the energy industry. Hightower Energy was founded in 1956 by his father and in 1979, Steve took his construction knowledge and Communications background to start a construction company before starting one of the largest Black American power companies in the country, selling wholesale gas and diesel fuel to major corporations throughout the US, Mexico, and Canada. One of the largest AA wholesale distributors in the country. It’s no surprise that Hightower now sits on boards appointed by President Obama through the Department of Energy and Department of Interior. Steven and Steven Hightower Jr., COO of Hightower Petroleum, represented the company on the African Trade Mission.
Harlem Times – What was your take on the West African Trade Mission?
Hightower – [Hightower Petroleum was there to] provide a product and understand the lack of refining capabilities in West Africa. They are a net importer of gasoline yet being an oil rich country. [We wanted to] be in a position to obtain a crude oil contract to lift and participate in the upstream marketplace. [We have] technologies, relative to energy efficiencies, where an alternative [method of] power generation is to not having to use the power to begin with. Hightower brought tools with that were able to implement technologies to reduce energy consumptions. The mission was successful, and the players (government/companies) were present and movingforward [to] a successful conclusion. The probability of [a signed contract] is extremely high.
Harlem Times – What caused you to take an interest in West African Trade Mission?
Hightower – Hightowers Petroleum company has come from 0-350 million in revenue; West Africa offers the opportunity to become a multi-billion dollar company. Understanding that it takes being in the right place at the right time in order to be eligible and presented with the right opportunities.
Harlem Times – What other projects in West Africa have you worked on?
Hightower – We’ve been in West Africa since 1982, in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast with the state of Ohio on a trade mission. [Hightower] has experience doing business on a smaller scale in Africa and haveexperienced success transacting business without losing money or being at risk in Banking – ATM Machines, Used Tire Sales. [We] now understand the country their wants and needs. It’s taken the past 30 years to grow to a point where Hightower can be in a position to implement and execute an oil
Harlem Times – Talk to me about some of the challenges faced and who you met with.
Hightower – [We] met with at least 20 serious business persons (female/male owned companies) The challenge was to narrow that down to 2-3 businesses in each country to partner with moving forward on the oil block that they are working with in Nigeria. The additional security with a high-level cabinet member and additional shelter was only conducive to the business that we were there to do.
To both companies, the African Trade Mission was a success and an opportunity of a lifetime. The confidence and passion behind the players that attended is what is needed to drive the mission forward and light up Africa. Bringing power to the people will inevitably make West Africans able to extend their quality of life and put them on the map in terms of being a destination for business and pleasure.