My late father, Edward Harris, the grandson of Edward Harris who co-founded the law firm now known as Harris Beach in Rochester, bought 82% ownership in our two companies, Alden Aurora and Reserve Gas, from a group of seven Rochester attorneys, starting back in 1964. One attorney, Richard Rosenbloom, elected not to sell and his son, Judge Richard Rosenbloom, held on to ownership until 2016 when he sold out his interest to our family. The companies were managed by a family friend, Angelo “Pooch” Pelino and operated out of an old barn here on Railroad Street that was heated by a wood burning, pot bellied stove in the winter.
At an earlier point in time, there use to be about 55 other companies like ours and they were combined into what is now known as National Fuel. We don’t know why our companies weren’t included in this amalgamation.
In the beginning of my father’s ownership there were only basic, rudimentary maps of our lines, most of the knowledge being stored in the heads of “Heavy”, Tom, a Native American and Elliot, who was retired from National Fuel. (Today our lines are carefully plotted on computer generated maps.) We used to produce all the gas that was consumed by our customers and I recall, on especially cold days, concern that the pressure would drop too much, the wells not being able to keep up with demand. Whenever my father drove to Alden, the first thing he did was look at the meter and chart that recorded pressure at our base. The circular charts recorded a week’s pressure data and you could see the dip in pressure during the nights, the coldest part of the 24 hour cycle and the early morning, as thermostats were turned up.
Over the years, my father took nothing from the companies, only saved a discarded pickup truck for his farm, investing the gains back into replacing our aging gas lines and otherwise improving our facilities to where today we have attractive office and maintenance buildings that replaced the old barn. We have converted about 90% of our lines to plastic and will continue until we are completely done.
Today, our sister company, Alden Aurora, produces gas from about 100 wells and we are not faced with previous line pressure problems as we’re tied into National Fuel Resources, Inc. and one can see an almost perfect circle on our pressure recording chart here in the office, indicating steady, reliable pressure.
I am proud to be associated with the dedicated, knowledgeable and loyal people we have working here and like to think that my father would be pleased to see how his investment has become a successful entity, serving the energy needs of our ever increasing customer base.
Stirlin Harris, Chief Executive Officer