Wendell Wakefield & Wakefield Oil Company, Inc.
In one sentence (it can be a long one), who is Wendell Wakefield?
“I was born during WWII, the middle child of seven, raised in Huntington, Utah.”
Wendell’s quiet kindness and genuine concern make his listeners feel comfortable and at ease.That unvarnished, matter-of-fact manner could be Wendell Wakefield’s calling card. Whether he’s talking about his business, his family (Lynnette and he have six grown children and 19 grandchildren), or his faith, Wendell’s quiet kindness and genuine concern make his listeners feel comfortable and at ease. They’re also big reasons many people and companies like doing business with him and the decades-old Roswell, New Mexico oil company that shares his name.
From a young man having just worked his way through college, Wendell’s career has been steeped, so to speak, in petroleum. Beginning after college in Conoco’s marketing division, Wendell was responsible for district sales in Rexburg, Idaho. His success earned more responsibility, with Conoco moving him to manage sales in Las Vegas, Nevada, and then a few years and more than a few children later, to Roswell, New Mexico, to oversee Conoco sales in the energy-rich region of one of the nation’s top-tier, oil-producing states.
After a successful decade with Conoco, Wendell broke out on his own, purchasing a Hobbs, NM battery company from a fuel jobber, where he later expanded his inventory to include filters—a move that attracted Conoco to come calling again. This time, signing Wendell up as an independent lube oil jobber.
When the recession of 1984 hit the fuel business, Wendell was able to purchase part ownership in a Roswell fuel jobber that he eventually bought outright, establishing what is now Wakefield Oil Company, a premier wholesale fuel supplier and distributor serving southeast New Mexico.
How and when did Desert Fuels enter your picture?
They’re not looking for the sale as much as for the relationship.“Desert Fuels began working with us in 2010 when we were looking to expand our fuel supply and sales. The company is different than other suppliers we’ve dealt with. They’re not looking for the sale as much as for the relationship. As a result, our two companies collaborated in a way that helped us secure our position as a major supplier in the region. With Desert Fuels’ reliable supply line and 24-hour support, we’re able to keep our customers in fuel while keeping pace with the huge demand swings of the local agricultural industry.
List 3 things to describe Desert Fuels, and briefly, why those 3?
- Understanding: DF took the time to understand my business needs and challenges.
- Listening: The communication with DF is excellent. We are in touch as the need demands, and they’ve never missed a beat in meeting our requirements.
- Shared Risk: Any business—especially the fuel business—is full of risks, but unlike other fuel suppliers who only see spreadsheets, Desert Fuels saw opportunity, and worked with us to minimize the risks that are part of any successful business.
If you were king, what one thing would you change in the wholesale fuel industry?
Wendell’s response echoes many in the fuel industry — “price volatility.”
“It makes this one of the most inconsistent markets in which to do business, and it’d be great if we could measure market direction more dependably.
“To help tame some of that uncertainty, Desert Fuels offers different types of fuel-purchasing contracts, such as, setting the per-gallon price by beginning with an industry-recognized, baseline market rate published by organizations that research and report market movement, such as OPIS, ARGUS, and PLATTS, and then adding a fair margin acceptable to both supplier and buyer.
“That actually gives the buyer direct input into the price paid, providing a rare level of stability to the usual pricing roller coaster, and ensuring a price that is trustworthy—not manipulated by the gouging we often have to pay when suppliers push the pricing envelope to exploit sudden political, financial, and global troubles.”
Working with Wendell and Wakefield Oil keeps us on our toes. The huge volume he moves meets the fuel needs of many small businesses and other organizations in his corner of New Mexico, and Desert Fuels helps him get the job done.
AT A GLANCE
Location: Roswell, New Mexico
Customer Since: November 2010
Industry: Cardlock and Bulk Fueling
Ownership: Family owned and operated.
No. of Employees: 20+
Premium will feature some of the amazing people we work with—customers, suppliers, and carriers—who have built companies on hard work and high quality service. They’re risk-takers and job-makers. We’re thankful to know them and proud to introduce them to you. This month, Premium spotlights Wendell Wakefield, founder and CEO of Wakefield Oil Company, Inc.