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Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted May 27, 2014

Wouldn’t Be in Business: Steel Nation Thriving Thanks to Energy Industry

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Mark D. Caskey, president of Steel Nation Steel Buildings, a Washington County company that constructs gas compression stations for energy companies, is no stranger to having doors slammed in his face.

In fact, when he pitched the idea to build such stations to energy companies six years ago, that’s all that happened.

“We tried to talk to every big midstream company, trying to get our foot in the door,” Mr. Caskey said. “We’d knock on their door, they’d meet with us and they’d say, listen, ’You’ve never built a gas compression building before. We’re not going to be your guinea pig.’”

Gas compression stations, he explained, gather gas from wells. They also separate and cool the gas before transporting it to major transmission lines.

In 2008 when Steel Nation opened, the company focused on building prep plants that wash and separate coal for coal companies.

But after a friend from oil and gas company Range Resources took him to a drill site, Mr. Caskey realized he could take his talents to the natural gas industry. 

“He showed me a compressor station, which was just a tin can. That tin can was very loud, very hot … it was just an obnoxious building. At that point, I realized I could take all of the things we learned through coal and try to make these buildings quieter, safer and cooler,” Mr. Caskey said.

Finally, Moon-based Atlas Energy gave Steel Nation a shot.

“We bid on a real small project, a single-compressor engine out in Indiana County,” Mr. Caskey said. That job turned out to be the breakthrough the company needed.

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Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.