TransMontaigne Founder Dies at 86

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TransMontaigne Founder Dies at 86

DENVER, Colo. -- The petroleum industry bid a fond farewell to Cort Dietler who over the course of his celebrated life launched and sold more than 20 oil business companies, including TransMontaigne, before passing last week at age 86.

"He used to say that he started so many companies because no one would hire him," Hal Logan, Dietler's chief financial officer, told the Rocky Mountain News.

Known for his hard work ethic, Dietler was personable, charming and maintained friendships, which in some cases lasted more that 50 years. Certain friends, like Harry Trueblood, an independent oilman who began working with Dietler in 1952, when oil was $2.50 a barrel, recalled his one-liners or "Dietler-isms." "You never go broke making a profit," was one of many, he told the paper.

Indeed, Dietler was never broke. In 2006, he made what would be his last major sale when TransMontaigne pipeline company became the object of a fierce bidding war between Morgan Stanley and the privately held SemGroup, which initially offered $421 million. Morgan Stanley, the Rocky Mountain News reported, won out at $668 million, and Fortune ranked the company with the "most bang for the buck."

Logan worked along side Dietler for 23 years and told the Rocky Mountain News why he was a successful businessman. "He was always very clear in what he wanted to accomplish, and he was not comfortable with self-promotion in any way," he told the paper. "Cort had very basic convictions: Do what you say you're gonna do, pay your bills and honor your friends."