Digging Deep with Peter Pappas

When gas prices dropped dramatically in 2015, after volatile surges the previous year, Peter Pappas knew that’d he’d have his work cut out for him. Having served the oil and natural gas industry for the past four years during an upcycle, he knew changes were coming, and he was the one responsible for making them. In turn, he thought back to his previous positions to assess solutions for maintaining and increasing his company’s book of clients.

When gas prices dropped dramatically in 2015, after volatile surges the previous year, Peter Pappas knew that’d he’d have his work cut out for him. Having served the oil and natural gas industry for the past four years during an upcycle, he knew changes were coming, and he was the one responsible for making them. In turn, he thought back to his previous positions to assess solutions for maintaining and increasing his company’s book of clients.

Before joining Bosque Systems, Pappas worked at several national insurance companies. His first job was in Blue Cross Blue Shield in Oklahoma’s management training program. There, he learned how to work with business owners and how they thought, walked, and talked. After a year, he joined a local insurance intermediary group as a producer and was quickly promoted to vice president. The group was then purchased by the multinational Willis North America, where Pappas spent seven more years. In this role, he worked with executive teams as a broker-consultant to design and implement risk-management and benefit solutions. That position taught Pappas how important and difficult differentiation can be. He also learned an important principle of creating value: understand your customers’ needs before selling a product.

During his time at Willis North America, Pappas reconnected with an old friend from his high school days, Clane LaCrosse, whose saltwater disposal company was working with Willis. The two would bounce ideas off each other. LaCrosse asked for advice about managing sales and company growth, and Pappas would inquire about services and his day-to-day approach to his work. After a couple of years, LaCrosse asked Pappas to join his team, and Pappas accepted the challenge.

“I was in a pretty comfortable place financially with Willis,” Pappas says. “But I also was starting to become a little bit restless. I was ready for a new challenge.” So in 2011, he joined the fledgling Bosque Systems in Fort Worth, Texas. Today, as the vice president of growth and business development, he manages individual market leaders, new business opportunities, and growth across the company’s current and emerging markets. He also oversees Bosque’s marketing and sales teams.

Bosque Systems is a fluid management provider that serves the oil and natural gas industry. With seven markets across the country, the company works with some of the largest oil and natural gas well operators. When the company was founded in 2007, Bosque’s first line of business was saltwater disposal because owners LaCrosse and Joe Mitchell noticed major changes in the Barnett Shale’s oil and gas industry. The increase in activity required more saltwater disposal capacity than was available in the region, which led the company to build its first saltwater disposal site, named Bosque, in Cresson, Texas.

As oil and natural gas production in North America increased in the early 2010s, the demand for water recycling services grew even larger. The hydraulic fracturing method employed by oil and gas operators relies heavily on water, and until this time, operators had been sourcing from lakes, ponds, rivers, and municipal supplies. Freshwater shortages and sustainability concerns bred a market for water recycling options. Bosque forecasted the industry’s new demand and was able to quickly adapt its business model to accommodate by switching to a consultative and solutions-based business model.

Bosque’s services now provide full, water life-cycle management, which includes environmentally responsible practices in recovering, transporting, storing, treating, recycling, and handling pre-frac, flow-back, and produced water and other fluids in the oil field.

All of this was possible, Pappas explains, because of the company’s small size of about three hundred employees. Having only worked at large corporations up to this point, the surprising agility of this young company was a new thrill, and it turned out to be a significant advantage in helping the company stay afloat when oil prices plunged. Bosque quickly shifted from a corporate-centric model to a regional one. This enabled the organization to make adjustments in individual markets quickly, without affecting other regions.

Pappas also reemphasized the company’s consultative approach to business during this time. “Needs changed during the downturn,” Pappas says. “We pivoted as an organization. Rather than try to push a product, we instead asked, ‘What are your problems, and how can we help solve them?’”

Pappas’s tenacious attitude and persistence worked. Not only did Bosque Systems maintain its client base, but it actually grew. “We took a different approach that really wasn’t being done in the industry at the time,” he says. “We could react quickly. We’re innovative when it comes to the technology that we use to clean water.”

Bosque’s highly entrepreneurial environment and the constant challenge that comes with working for a smaller organization are what drive Pappas. This economic downturn also made him a better listener and a more strategic solutions provider. “What are the operators’ needs?” Pappas asks. “Let us provide the solutions.”


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