58 59 THE ACTERRA GROUP ACTERRA GROUP THE TOTAL ENERGY SERVICES AT A GLANCE THE ACTERRA GROUP WHAT: A multi-faceted, energy services and consulting company WHERE: Marion, Iowa WEBSITE: www.acterragroup.com T ad Christopher Cooper, President of the Acterra Group, a multi-faceted, en- ergy services and consulting company in Marion, Iowa, says that his grandfather started the family firm back in 1958. “He was working for Standard Oil, which is now BP, formerly Amoco, and worked on fuel pumps,” Cooper recounts. “At that time, Standard Oil de- cided to fire all their people and put them as independent agents. So one day, he was working for Standard Oil, the next, he was independent - but working for Standard Oil and billing them. And that’s how the business got started.” Cooper also remembers that his grandfather was very set in how he wanted to do business. “He didn’t like diversification; he liked to do what he knew,” he says. “Or so, I’ve heard from my father.” Cooper’s father followed his father into the business in the early 1960s, and took it over in 1976, after the founder died. “My father was very entrepreneurial, and figured out, early on, that diversification was important,” Cooper adds. “So, every time he saw an opportunity, he formed another business and went after it.” Today, the Acterra Group is a diversified company that operates four divisions. “We’ve