Family owned and operated, Ergon got its start more than six decades ago in the petroleum industry’s service sector. This company has grown into a well-diversified organization over the years, engaged in a number of industries related to the refining and marketing of specialty oils, asphalt, thermoplastic resins, petrochemicals, propane, and the necessary infrastructure to support those businesses
Commitment to service is at the core of Ergon’s mission and values. A focus on hard work, reliable supply and quality products have contributed to the company’s steady growth over the years.
The evolution of Ergon, which started with one man’s idea of taking a used truck to deliver fuels to local construction companies and has since grown to serve customers in more than 90 countries, is evidence of Mr. Lampton’s gift for recognizing market needs, finding a way to meet those needs and building teams that he could rely on to get the job done.
The following video series features Ergon family members from throughout the organization talking about our culture and values. They share a glimpse into what makes Ergon a trusted partner to customers in more than 90 countries around the world — and what makes this an exceptional place to work, learn and grow.
Ergon Talks is a place where different aspects of Ergon’s culture, values, and business can be discussed. Each interview highlights how a company or department contributes to the overall success of the company and shows some of the unique aspects of our culture. We want people to understand on a personal level how our companies meet the needs of our customers and support our employees.
Leslie Lampton Sr. truly epitomized the “Greatest Generation,” serving our country in two wars and coming home to build a company that would grow steadily and strategically to become a well-diversified global organization. Like other heroes of his generation, Mr. Lampton was a man of honor and integrity who put his family, his employees and his faith above all else.
Orphaned as an infant, Mr. Lampton was adopted by a family in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1954, after his service in the Navy and managing a tire store, still in his 20s, he started Lampton Oil Company with a few thousand dollars in savings, two employees and a used fuel transport truck. He began by delivering fuel after hours to highway construction companies in the Jackson area. When crude oil was found nearby, Mr. Lampton began making daily deliveries of fuel and chain oil to the rigs. He learned producers were struggling to get a pipeline built, so he leased trucks and trailers to move the crude to market, a move that established a trajectory for future businesses.
His commitment to service and the growth of Lampton Oil Company resulted in a successful bid for a contract to provide standby fuel oil for Mississippi Power & Light Company’s generating plants, which prompted the beginning of a barge transportation business. When power companies and large industries moved from natural gas to fuel oil in the late 1960s, Lampton Oil Company experienced exponential growth. Mr. Lampton continued adding boats and barges to the fleet, even working personally with engineers and builders to improve barge design and oil heating processes.
The organization expanded under his direction to include seven primary business segments: Refining & Marketing, Specialty Chemicals, Asphalt & Emulsions, Oil & Gas, Midstream & Logistics, Construction & Real Estate, and Corporate & Other. Ergon companies are engaged in a wide range of operations, including sophisticated crude oil processing; producing and marketing naphthenic and paraffinic specialty oils, thermoplastic resins, specialty asphalt products, road maintenance products and machinery; transporting and terminaling crude oil, petrochemicals and refined products; propane marketing; oil and gas exploration; and commercial construction and real estate development.
Today, Ergon employs more than 3,500 people and serves customers in more than 90 countries around the world. Mr. Lampton’s four sons, who are now Directors, have served in various businesses throughout the organization, and several members of the third generation of Lamptons are following in their footsteps today.
When talking about Ergon’s history, Mr. Lampton was always quick to point out that the story was never about him. “Our story has always been about people—the Ergon family,” he would say. Even in his 90s, Mr. Lampton made time to walk the hallways of the Ergon offices and visit facilities, and he knew employees and many of their family members by name. He believed in leading by example, and he was usually the first to arrive at work and the last to leave.
As Mr. Lampton often said, “Ergon’s success is based on our ability to clearly understand the needs of our customers, both today and in the future.” And the Ergon family is honored to have the opportunity to continue his vision to create a bright future for Ergon and for our customers around the world.