Aug. 07–Roger Willis, past president of Universal Well Services Inc., will be the featured speaker at the golden anniversary Greater Meadville Area Day — Winslow Award Dinner on Aug. 16.
The invitation-only event, sponsored by the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County, is at The Country Club of Meadville.
Initiated in 1969 by the former Meadville Area Industrial Commission (MAIC), Greater Meadville Area Day was started to commemorate the 85th birthday of Dr. Harry C. Winslow, a business leader and surgeon in the Meadville area. This year is the 50th anniversary of Greater Meadville Area Day — Winslow Award Dinner.
With Winslow’s civic-minded activities as a model over the years, the annual Winslow Award is presented during the dinner program to an individual, business or organization that has made a significant contribution to the economic growth of the greater Meadville area.
Willis, now retired, became president of Universal Well Services Inc. in 2008 after joining the company in 1984 and earning a number of promotions.
Universal, now Universal Pressure Pumping, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. of Houston, Texas. Universal does well cementing, fracturing and acidizing services for the oil and natural gas industries. The company works primarily in the Appalachian Basin and has a leading presence in Oklahoma and Texas.
A 1980 graduate of Allegheny College with a bachelor’s geology, Willis was successful in many aspects of the oil and gas industry, including drilling completions and geologic services, before joining Universal.
Willis, along with a few Universal associates, saw the potential in the Marcellus Shale, designing and performing the stimulation of the discovery well, the Renz No. 1 well in Washington County, in October 2004 for Range Resources Corp.
The Marcellus Shale rock formation was a known natural gas containing formation but wasn’t considered a viable gas reservoir until Range Resources Corp. completed the Renz No. 1 well. The well was completed using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques.
After that success, Universal became one of the leaders in the evolving shale industry with current operations throughout the Marcellus formation as well as operations in Oklahoma and Texas.
Willis’ professional affiliations include past president of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York; past chairman of the Exploration and Production Committee for the Independent Oil & Gas Association of Pennsylvania; and memberships with the Pittsburgh Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia oil and gas associations.
Holder of patents related a rotary piston pump, Willis has authored many Society of Petroleum Engineers papers on topics including well control for air drilling, geology and hydraulic fracturing diagnostics.
He also spearheaded a special project with the Sultanate of Oman which resulted in development of Oman’s own pressure pumping company, which became operational in the summer of 2013.
Willis lives in Meadville with his wife and children. He sits on the executive board of Meadville Medical Center and the board of the Meadville Public Library. He’s also an avid cyclist, runner and guitar player and in his spare time. He plays occasional gigs with his band, 41 North.
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