SAN ANTONIO, Texas (April 14, 2015) - The Gas Processors Association (GPA) today presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Tom Russell, recognizing exceptional efforts and achievements throughout his career that have led to lasting benefits to GPA and the midstream industry.
In more than 55 years in the business, Russell has built and sold two thriving companies, designed and built hundreds of plants, presented numerous papers and did several stints on the Gas Processors Suppliers Association (GPSA) board of directors. In 1997, he was honored with the GPA Hanlon Award, the association’s highest honor, for his contributions to the industry, GPA and GPSA.
Russell graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1957, after a stint in the U.S. Army in the middle of his studies. The Russell School of Chemical Engineering is now named for him, and he was named a distinguished alumnus of the university in 2013.
He worked in the Dallas area in the 1960s but eventually moved back to his native Tulsa, Okla., and in the early 1970s, founded T.H. Russell Co. He sold that company after 26 years. After a three-year non-compete agreement expired, he jumped back into designing modular gas plants with Thomas Russell Co., where his pre-engineered modular designs have been groundbreaking in gas liquid recovery plant design.
The cryogenic processing units from his Tulsa Port of Catoosa Plant could handle a variety of natural gas volumes and richness levels. The standard plant concept allowed customers to order plants without knowing where they are going or what their gas makeup would be. The company’s fast and remarkable growth caught Honeywell’s attention and made the business a good fit for UOP.
Russell sold the majority of that company to Honeywell about two years ago but has remained active in the subsidiary now called UOP Russell.
While he no longer sits on the GPSA board, Russell still gives papers at regional meetings. After a lifetime of involvement in GPA and GPSA, Russell has given papers on a multitude of topics and said he still enjoys it.
“We are honored to have had Tom involved in the GPA and GPSA organizations for many, many years,” GPA President and CEO Mark Sutton said earlier this year, when Russell was honored by the University of Tulsa. “From his contributions to the GPSA Engineering Data Book and his personal involvement with the GPSA board, including one term as president, we consider ourselves lucky to be in his company.”