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Alumni Spotlight

Nathan Savage

Nathan Savage

Alumnus credits strong values for success

January 28, 2013

Nathan Savage has lived a great deal of his life in Utah, the Beehive State. He grew up in American Fork, received his bachelor of arts in economics from Brigham Young University, and currently lives in the city of Draper. However, the natural beauty and feel of the Mountain State convinced Savage to study for his Master of Business Administration at West Virginia University in the mid-1990s.

"People were surprised that I came all the way from Utah," he said. But during his undergraduate career at BYU, Savage spent time in Washington, D.C., as an intern for U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch. "I was able to visit some of Savage Service's operations in West Virginia and I was really taken by Morgantown and Cheat Lake. What's not to like? There's nowhere prettier than West Virginia," he said. Savage, who currently serves as Senior Vice President and Group Leader for Oil & Gas Solutions at Savage Services, also appreciated the state's background in the coal industry.

"My first professor at WVU was Dr. Dietrich Schaupp. I was really impressed by him. It was a management class, an organizational behavior class. He challenged conventional thinking and wisdom. I appreciated his interactive approach to learning. I just really appreciated him in general. It was a great first class to introduce me to the program," Savage said. He was also impressed with the caliber of his classmates.

"My fellow students were good people, not just good students. (They had) solid values and wanted to do what was right," he said. Strong values are of utmost importance to Savage.

"Be a person of integrity and be a person who gives back," he said. "Don't be afraid to be humble, to listen and to learn. It's okay to ask for help. Any company will recognize great performance, but you also must build and help others. Become a team player. You don't build a bridge just to get over it; you help others cross it, too." Savage also emphasized that a great way to gain some self-confidence is to look for opportunities to make a difference. Putting in an abundance of effort while in school, he said, is crucial as well.

"Do well academically and work hard, but it's so much more than just grades. Get as much experience as you can and learn all you can. Go the extra mile," he advised.

Savage Services is a great example of the power of hard work. The company began in 1946 with a father and son team and one truck. Today, the company has over 150 locations in North America, as well as locations in northern Europe and the Middle East. In his role as Group Leader of the Oil & Gas Solutions Group, Savage formed and now leads the Company's business group for upstream oil and gas supply chain services.

Savage Services credits its success in part to a company culture with strong emphasis on safety and health, as well as treating employees well. But Savage said it goes deeper than that.

"(It's about) integrity, fairness and treating people with respect. It's about giving people opportunities to learn and grow. If someone comes to Savage Services purely thinking about the money, they're in for a bitter disappointment. There's nothing about money that is fulfilling in the long term," he said.

Savage Services manages supply chains from the point of production to the point of consumption.

"We strategically look at the market and translate what we see as opportunities that match up with (the client's) goal of maximizing the value of their product," Savage said. "Most of my time focuses on customer requests and opportunities to develop things that, over the long term, will help our customers maximize their yield."

Savage said one thing that sets his company apart is that they don't merely act as a broker between clients and services.

"It's our own trains and trucks and ships and barges. We don't just manage it, we operate it," he said. This direct involvement with customer processes complements Savage's favorite part of his career: the opportunity to work with and build relationships with his customers.

Last fall, he met Milan Puskar Dean Jose V. "Zito" Sartarelli while the dean was visiting Utah, and Savage said he feels strongly that the best is yet to come for the College of B&E.

"I was very impressed with the dean and his vision. I have a tremendous respect (for him)," Savage said. "He's brought real passion and real world experience to WVU. I'm impressed with his focus and his strategy for the College. It's re-energized my feelings for WVU and has made me want to get more involved. There are only better things to come."