Campbell Energy Recognized For Community Service

Note: This blog post was updated on Oct. 7, 2022

The Illinois oil patch is unique in that almost all its producers not only live and work in the communities where they operate but are very active in those local communities as well. A shining example is Campbell Energy in Carmi, which was recognized for its community service and business success this week by receiving the 2022 Carmi Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award.

Campbell Energy Co-Founders Jake and John Campbell

“We are very fortunate to be a part of this community,” Campbell Energy co-founder and CEO Jake Campbell said after being presented the award. “We employ 115, 120 people from the area and we can’t do what we do without those 115, 120 people. We are very fortunate to have them, to retain them, to keep them and to keep finding new people to come in and help us.

“Receiving this honor at the Chamber dinner is a reflection of all 115 of us. We have been so blessed with the ability to work with such great people. It takes all 115 of us to make it work. What we have been blessed enough to do for the community also comes from all the hard work that all 115 of us do every day. So this award presented to us, from my perspective, is an award that is presented to all 115 and a testament of the work ethic and great job each and everyone does day in and day out. I am very appreciative, thankful, and blessed to work with such great people.”

Campbell Energy’s business success is well known. The company has grown from producing less than 10 barrels per day in 2007 to being Illinois’ largest oil producing company at more than 4,000 barrels of production per day in 2022. Not only does Campbell Energy directly employ more than 115, it supports hundreds more jobs when the oil and gas industry’s jobs multiplier is taken into account (Every direct oil and gas job indirectly supports 5.43 other jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute).

But less understood and just as impressive as the company’s business success is its contributions to the White County community – all of which were huge considerations to it receiving this honor.

“This company generously gives to many, many causes in White County,” former Carmi Chamber of Commerce president Amber Knight said prior to presenting Jake Campbell with the honor. “Their name can be seen on the backs of our kid’s uniforms, on banners for events and festivals, and helping to keep some of our youth programs alive by donating money and equipment with no recognition at all. The impact that their existence has on our County can be seen in our economy, in our workforce and in our youth.”

Knight highlighted Campbell Energy’s contributions to We Love White County Inc. (WLWC), a non-profit organization focused on bettering White County, and in particular Jake and wife Keyna’s passion for the WLWC’s Arrows youth empowerment program.

“We Love White County and the Arrows program would not be where it is today without this company and the people behind it,” Knight said. “It is the mission and vision of We Love White County to make our community a thriving place to live by investing in relationships. No one embodies this more than Jake and Keyna Campbell of Campbell Energy. They are invested not just financially in Arrows, but they are committed to loving and helping the people of the program and the people of White County. They are friends and helpers to the people of our community, and they carry this mindset into their business.”

The Campbells were instrumental in providing funds and manpower to renovate the old Brown’s Feed Store on Fifth Street in Carmi into a community youth center.

404 Seed Station Youth Center in Carmi

404 Seed Station Computer Lab

404 Seed Station Game Room

404 Seed Station Entrance/Lobby

“They not only spearheaded a complete renovation, but they themselves put forth much of the man hours required to make the space a warm, inviting and functional space for students and families to grow together,” Knight said. “This location is now known as the 404 SEED Station. Multiple times a week it houses students who are coached along and loved by welcoming adults who offer snacks, homework help, Bible studies, life skills and recreation.”

Campbell Energy was formally founded in 2007 by Jake and his father John Campbell, but the family’s history in the oil industry dates back four generations. The family business – primarily in agriculture prior to 2007 – dates all the way back to the mid 1830s.

It is largely because of Campbell Energy’s success that White County oil production has more than doubled since 2008.

Not coincidently, ad valorem property tax revenue generated by oil reserves in White County has more than doubled since 2007, with more than 60 percent of the more than $41 million generated during that time-span going to White County schools located in districts with oil production. All of the property tax revenue generated from oil reserves stays local.

Spearheaded by Campbell Energy’s success, the White County oil production and exploration industry directly employs approximately 500 people and generates $224 million in gross regional product per year.

Although Campbell Energy is the largest oil producer in Illinois, it is anything but “Big Oil.” For perspective, ExxonMobil – the largest oil producing company in the United States – produces 900 times more oil per day than Campbell Energy. Saudi Aramco – the largest oil company in the world – produces 2,450 percent more oil per day than Campbell. Likewise, Jake Campbell’s style is anything but “Big Oil.”

“My wife tried to get me to dress better before I left the house this morning,” said Campbell, decked out in an unassuming flannel shirt and blue jeans. “I came straight from a combine here. Collared shirt though, at least.”

Although Jake Campbell and his company don’t put out a “Big Oil” vibe, they are making a big difference in White County and the surrounding areas.