May 10, 2016

Davenport Energy, Inc. was named the recipient of the 2016 Pinnacle Award by the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce at the organization’s annual awards dinner on May 9th.  The Pinnacle Award is presented to a business or organization whose outstanding achievements serve as a model for success.

Davenport Energy, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, has made and continues to have a strong local economic impact, employing more than 50 people in Chatham and 130 regionally.

The company, under the leadership of Chairman Ben Davenport Jr. and President and CEO Lewis Wall, Jr., also have a long and distinguished record of supporting the community through donations, volunteering, and service on local, state, and national boards.

Founded in 1941, Davenport Energy is a family-owned company started by the late Ben J. Davenport Sr. Mr. Davenport worked hard to build the business, then known as Chatham Oil Company, by delivering fuel and petroleum products to small mom-and-pop service stations and tobacco farmers throughout Pittsylvania County.

His late wife, Lois, worked by his side until his death, and remained an integral part of the company into her 90s. Even after the company switched to computers, Mrs. Davenport continued keeping the books and making sure pricing was done correctly on delivery tickets. She was kind and generous beyond measure; if someone couldn’t pay their oil bill, she’d tell the driver to bring her the ticket and pay it out of her own pocket.

Davenport Energy remains a family business today. Ben Davenport Jr. serves as chairman, and his nephew, Lewis Wall, is president and chief executive officer. The company employs approximately 130 people.

About 12 years ago, Chatham Oil Company changed its name to Davenport Energy to better reflect its regional footprint, which now includes offices in Gretna, Roanoke, Rocky Mount, Martinsville, Bedford, South Boston, and Covington.

Davenport Energy continued to expand in 2015 with the purchase of APB Whiting Oil Company in Roanoke and Whiting Jamison Oil Company in Covington.

Today, Davenport Energy delivers propane, fuel oil, and other petroleum products to more than 30,000 customers throughout southern, southwest, and central Virginia.

A wholesaler for ExxonMobil and Citgo, Davenport Energy also supplies gasoline and diesel fuel to more than 75 service stations and convenience stores throughout the region.

Throughout its 75-year history, Davenport Energy has been committed to the communities it serves. The company supports local schools, sports teams, churches, fire departments, chambers of commerce, merchants associations, recreation departments, civic clubs, and a variety of other charitable causes.

Davenport Energy is a major sponsor of the annual Pittsylvania County Junior Livestock Show, and, in partnership with ExxonMobil, provides thousands of dollars each year in science and math grants to local schools.

Team members also support local United Way campaigns through payroll deductions, and donate time to local fire departments, rescue squads, schools, civic clubs, and other community organizations.

Whenever there is a need, Davenport Energy is “Ready For You,” as the company’s trademarked slogan states.

Davenport Energy’s volunteer spirit and commitment to community is instilled from the top down. The company’s chairman, Ben J. Davenport Jr., has been and continues to be a champion and driving force behind efforts to revitalize Southside’s economy.

 Under the umbrella of the parent company is Davenport Communications.  Davenport, who also serves as chairman of First Piedmont Corp., a company he started in 1969, is a member of Future of the Piedmont, which partnered with Virginia Tech to launch the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, a key catalyst for change throughout the Dan River Region.

In addition, he is involved in GO Virginia, an initiative for encouraging economic development through regional cooperation. Davenport recently was named to the 2016 list of Most Influential Virginians by Virginia Business magazine.

Davenport serves on the board of directors of Hargrave Military Academy and American National Bankshares, and has been a member of the board of Danville Regional Foundation, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.

A proud graduate of Virginia Tech, he served on the university’s board of visitors from 2002 to 2010 and was rector from 2004 to 2006. He continues to serve on the boards of the Virginia Tech Foundation and Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Davenport and his wife, Betty, also support local scholarships, community events, and the arts, including Reid Street Gallery, a new art gallery in Chatham.

Accepting the award, on behalf of Davenport Energy was Ben Davenport, Jr., chairman of the board.

The Chamber’s Pinnacle Award recognizes an influential business or organization that has made a strong local economic impact. The recipient’s leadership and dedication to a variety of interests should contribute significantly to the socio-economic prosperity of the Danville-Pittsylvania County region. The recipient should be respected professionally and throughout the community for commitment to excellence and vision for future generations.  Business (profit or not-for-profit) nominees must operate in the Danville and Pittsylvania County area.

Criteria for the award include:

  • Recognized leadership in making a key contribution to the quality of life in the region ;
  • Innovative and entrepreneurial leadership;
  • Active involvement that advances their profession or industry.


The Chamber presented its first-ever Pinnacle Award in 2011 to Averett University.  The 2012 award winner was Danville Regional Medical Center, and the 2013 award winner was the Olde Dominion Agricultural Foundation.  The 2014 winner was American National Bank & Trust, and the 2015 winner was Danville Regional Foundation.