When it comes to predicting and managing trends in supply and demand for a global commodity like asphalt, Associated Asphalt wants top experts like Jim Harren on the job.
An Extensive Background in Commodities Trading
Harren joined the Associated Asphalt leadership team in August of 2019 as Senior Vice President of Supply and Marketing after a long, successful career in oil trading. During his time at global oil companies like Shell Oil and LUKOIL’s LITASCO, he acquired a deep knowledge in a wide variety of skills that will prove to be an asset for the growth Associated Asphalt continues to experience.
At Shell Oil, he began his journey working in the distribution and supply chain logistics in Chicago before leveraging his Master’s in Applied Statistics for the risk management team in Houston. Here, he gained experience in options trading on energy futures. He later used this analytical knowledge to help run and manage inputs for an algorithm that optimized the Deer Park refinery supply system.
“I learned the refinery process during that time so it really came full circle for me,” says Harren. “I went from understanding logistics and how to move everything, and after learning the financial side of trading the materials, I was now understanding how to make it all.”
He took a short leave from the oil business to grow an industrial warehouse company, tripling it in size. He soon returned to trading for a variety of materials in the oil industry on a global scale. It was clear to the leadership at Associated Asphalt that Harren’s vast experience in commodity supply, demand, and trading would be a great fit for the company.
A Perfect Fit
With Bill Kirk’s background working for Shell Oil Company in his early career, there was an instant camaraderie between he and Harren, but the whole leadership team was really what convinced Harren to come on board:
“What appealed to me about Associated Asphalt was the leadership team,” says Harren. “When I first met John, Bill, Steve, and James they were very professional, knowledgeable guys who wanted to grow this company and do what’s best.”
Since joining in August, Harren has been most excited about the level of expertise and professionalism that he’s experienced with every single department of the organization. He instantly recognized the company-wide drive to work with integrity and excellency. Despite the true size of the company, he feels that Associated Asphalt has been able to maintain the family owned company feel.
“Right now I’m getting up to speed on the supply side of things that supports our network along the East Coast,” says Harren. “In January, I’ll start working with the marketing team to dive into the sales side.”
Harren adds that he looks forward to applying his background to make a big impact on the way the Supply & Marketing team. Through his understanding of global markets and changing regulations, he will be able to predict how those markets will perform.
Outside of Work
Though Harren is often traveling for work, when he is home he spends time with his wife getting to know Roanoke and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountain region. As a recent grandfather, he takes every chance he can to visit his daughter and her growing family in Raleigh or watching his son coach the University of Michigan lacrosse team to victories.