Great Western Announces the 2020 EHS Stewardship Award Winners!

Denver, CO – March, 2021

Great Western’s commitment to environmental stewardship is fundamental to the growth and innovation of the organization. In an effort to drive our environmental, health and safety (EHS) practices, we launched the Seal of Stewardship Program to honor employees for excellence in the fields of innovation, leadership, and safety. Our goal is to encourage our field personnel and reward excellent EHS operations in a way that is fun, competitive, and ultimately leads to long-term habits positioning Great Western as theleader of environmental stewardship in the Denver-Julesburg Basin.

As part of the fabric of our culture and everyday operations, these peer-nominated recognitions additionally galvanize our commitment to our values as a company and as individuals.

Great Western Seal of Stewardship from Great Western on Vimeo.

We are excited to present our 2020 Seal of Stewardship Award winners! Great Western selected these honorees for demonstrating innovation, displaying exceptional leadership behavior, and championing safety in the various technical fields of oil and gas. Read on to learn the proactive thinking and progressive actions that led to recognizing the winners below.

Innovator of the Year: Max Trehus

We are extremely proud of Max Trehus this year for demonstrating innovative problem-solving skills. Trehus has strived tirelessly to minimize bradenhead pressure on our producing wells and, this year, implemented an operation he created and developed from the ground up we refer to as “fluid displacement.” Fluid displacement is now a method we use to keep our thermal expansion-related bradenhead pressures below the actionable threshold. Trehus also implemented “catalytic heaters” in the field to bring our sustained bradenheads into regulatory compliance. By displacing fluid from the bradenhead and installing catalytic heaters, Trehus has made a positive impact on Great Western’s environmental stewardship, regulatory compliance and financial obligation, and also enabled us to reduce venting. By thinking outside the box and working with other internal and external teams, such as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), Trehus consistently does his job with our core values in mind, and it’s evident his work truly exemplifies the term “innovation.” The combination makes him an excellent choice for Innovator of the Year.

Honorable Mention – Innovator of the Year: Bob Mese

Bob Mese is a leader when it comes to innovation. He is constantly looking at our facilities and operations with an eye for improvement. About a year ago, he brought up the idea of connecting our compressor blowdowns into the Vapor Recovery Unit (VRU) system and capturing the resulting gas. It took some work and planning, but we finally integrated this idea at our Wilson Facility; we connected the blowdown off of our gas lift compressor to the suction line for our treater VRU compressor, allowing us to capture 100% of the gas into our gas stream and put down the sales line, as opposed to blowing the unit down to atmosphere and releasing the gas. As our pilot site, this experiment led us to connecting more gas lift compressors at other locations, increasing efficiency on a larger scale. In addition, we were able to expand on Mese’s idea by integrating a full facility purge and blowdown system that routes to our Emission Control Device (ECD). This will give us the ability to capture 100% of our equipment blowdowns and system purge during our operations. These changes will decrease our site emissions, and in turn, allow us to add additional production to the site. As you can see, one relatively small idea that was tossed out during a meeting has transformed into a large operational change that will position Great Western ahead of our peers in the way we operate our sites and handle emissions.

Leader of the Year: Norman Rose

When it came to selecting the EHS Leader of the Year – Great Western had a clear winner.  Norman Rose personally takes the care and measures needed to protect the environment at each of the locations at which he operates, ensuring the sites exceed the EHS standards of excellence. His dedication to Great Western’s core values of stewardship and excellence are obvious in his daily walkthroughs of facilities. Rose is constantly vigilant in seeking potential sources of emissions. In fact, in the past year alone, he has found tank leaks that he not only immediately repaired but also investigated for the root cause to ensure they didn’t happen again. When the EHS team rolls out a new field inspection requirement, such as checking the tanks after a known operational pressure event, Rose easily folds the request into his daily work. Rose even has gone so far as to run around with the hydrovac on his day off just to make sure his sites were clean. His dedication to great housekeeping has led to seven of Rose’s facilities to glide through a COGCC field inspection without requiring any corrective actions. This sort of reputation – quickly repairing leaks and diligently ensuring our facilities are clean and efficiently operating – lends credence to Great Western’s social license to operate.  He is truly a role model for stewardship.

Safety Champion of the Year: Dustin Smith

Dustin Smith has proven himself to be a true leader when it comes to safety. He goes above and beyond his daily scope of work to ensure that job sites are safe, even if it is an area unrelated to what his crews are working on, in order to keep his crews safe. Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) is an area where Smith focuses attention every day. Part of overseeing maintenance activities means he deals with live active sites on a regular basis. Confirming the proper steps to isolate energy sources are taken and checking the equipment is properly blown down is a crucial part of his daily activity. Smith takes the time to meet with all involved personnel prior to the start of a job to certify that proper LOTO is in place and that the site is safe to start the scheduled job. He is very thorough in his walkthroughs and makes sure to explain what will happen during the job to confirm everyone has full awareness and understanding of the task at hand. Smith takes personal responsibility for his crews and guarantees they all understand the importance of LOTO and why it’s being done, which is to protect everyone. He ensures that every person on site has a lock on the lock box and that no one is able to return a site to operation until final sign off is done for the job. In addition to LOTO, Smith walks all job sites, checks and removes any possible safety hazards he may find. This work may not be part of the scheduled task, but site safety and job safety are critically important to him, and to Great Western. His reporting communication with route operators and the rest of the team is top notch.


The environment, health and safety of our staff and communities will always be the highest priority at Great Western. Congratulations to our bright and innovative honorees. We are proud of their efforts and their commitment to Great Western and our EHS practices, and enjoy seeing their leadership qualities shine out in the field. The proactive contributions of our winning stewards propel our commitment to environmental stewardship into the future – and we look forward to seeing our teams develop even more inventive programs, initiatives, and technologies that enable us to produce the cleanest natural resources in the safest way possible.   

Great Western and its employees are committed to excellence and #CommittedtoColorado.