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Recovery Act
Chem Tech Services Inc.
Summer Intern, Lindsay Byrd internviews Chem Tech Services Inc.
owners,Todd Latham and Derek Waters

Sharing an office is an indicator of the compatibility between the owners of ChemTech, an oilfield production chemical company. Todd Latham and Derek Waters, balance each other very well. Their leadership at ChemTech is truly an example of synergy at its finest.

Latham and Waters are very fortunate because they understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses as individuals and rely on each other for support and balance. They have done an excellent job of balancing each other and working as a team to build their business. ChemTech has doubled in size since these two purchased the business.

Highlights from a visit with Latham and Waters are included in the following section.

How did you go into business together?

Waters: We were working together at another company that does the same thing we do here when an opportunity to purchase this company from Dick Tubb and the late Dennis Patton, who were getting ready to slow down a little, arose. We were both a little frustrated with the company we were working for, so we decided to jump on in and do it.

Latham: I had a little different approach from Derek.  I’m married and Derek was single at the time, so I approached my wife with it. I asked her to think about it, pray about it, and let me know what she decided. About one month later she came to me and said she had prayed about it and she thought it was a good decision. That is when we decided to go into business.

Could you explain what ChemTech provides to its customers?

Latham: ChemTech is an oilfield production chemical company. Basically, we supply the chemicals needed to treat the fluids coming in from the oilfield; whether it be down in the hole or on the surface.

Waters: Our customers are not one-time customers. We’re not under contract; there is no written agreement, but we’re not a business you use one time. Our chemical treatments are typically based on monthly applications.

Has your market changed in the past few years?

Waters: About 99 percent of the products we supply to the oil field are oil based. They are all derivatives of oil, so when oil prices go down, our cost is driven down as well. It’s something we have to ride out. There is nothing else we can do as ChemTech to make the curve a little more flat when prices are down.

Latham: The biggest part of our business is service and relationship with customers. When things get slow, it is very important to have strong relationships with your customers. They may slow down on their spending but they are still going to use you.

How many employees did you start with and how many do you have now?

Latham: We started with seven employees and we have 14 now. A year after we bought ChemTech, we opened a branch in Midland. There are currently four employees at the Midland branch and 10 employees here in Levelland.

ChemTech has doubled in size since you purchased the company. What did you do to grow your business?

Latham: Some of the important things we’ve done are offer the employees more benefits and more incentives to try and grow ChemTech with us. That has really encouraged everyone to take some ownership. When we started, the employees had no medical benefits at all. By being able to give them that, we’ve seen our relationship with them grow and they are out growing our business.

Another thing is that we’ve just been getting out and making sales calls. When we bought this company, the previous owners told us that was why they were retiring. They weren’t excited about going out and trying to grow the business. They were pretty comfortable with what they had. And so we knew that opportunity was there. I think we’ve been pretty successful with going out and doing that.

The commitment from our customers is another very important thing that has allowed us to grow. We’ve got some really good customers. They are just dedicated to us.

Waters: And that dedication is attest to the guys that owned the company before us. They built ChemTech up for 25 years and we’ve just tried to pick up where they left off.

What would you say has been most challenging for you as a business owner?

Waters: The greatest challenge that I’ve had is learning to really manage my time well. Managing my time with employees, customers, and also just allowing enough time to do the things I need to take care of for myself as an individual.

Latham: For me, the greatest challenge in being an entrepreneur is knowing my commitments and priorities, understanding where the growth is coming from and not getting caught up in all of the opportunities to grow the business. You can’t neglect your home life or whatever it is you are committed to on a personal level. That is the hardest part for me to manage, the personal and the business. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of owning your own business?
Chem Tech Services Inc. Levelland
Chem Tech Services Inc. an oilfield production chemical company
based in Levelland Texas

Latham: It’s kind of a double edge sword. What you really enjoy about it, is you see the benefits that a customer receives or you receive from a decision you made, but at the same time, if you make a bad decision, you have to deal with that as well.

What would you say to someone considering opening his own business?

Latham: I think if it is something you really want to do, go for it, but, it has got to be something you really want.

Waters: If you want to open your own business to become rich, you are going in with the wrong mentality. You have to have a plan or a goal at the beginning. Those plans and goals will change, of course, but you have to have a firm foundation for your business.

I think that if you are going to have employees involved, you have got to take care of them, more than yourself even.

I would also tell them to enjoy the goals that you accomplish; even if it’s celebrating that you made it through the first month of business.

And last, but not least, when it comes to starting your own business, you need to go out and develop relationships. Develop relationships with customers, suppliers, and people in town. I think it is important to let people know what kind of person you are and what kind of business you operate.

What three pieces of advice would you offer to someone who has decided to open his or her own business?


  1. Know your priorities.
  2. Understand your weaknesses.
  3. Understand and appreciate small achievements.


  1. Have a business plan developed.
  2. Understand the market you’re going into.
  3. Maintain your relationships with customers.

Latham and Waters have more than doubled the size of their business since they bought ChemTech. They are innovative, motivated and dedicated partners and for that reason they will continue to grow and strengthen their business for years to come.

For more information on Chem Tech Services contact Todd Latham and Derek Waters at (806) 894-8172 or stop by and visit their office at 1935 West Ave in Levelland Texas.

Entrepreneurs in Action Photos Courtsey of steve Conway Phtography


Photography is not a hobby, photography is not a part time job. Photography is an expression of my soul’s point of view on life and just so happens to be the one and only way I choose to make a living.

Steve Conway 2010

I am a professional photographer based out of Sundown TX

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