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Our History

  1. 1951

    Brothers Art and Ray Schmidt bought a fuel oil route in Kimberly, Wisconsin, and formed Schmidt Brothers Oil Company. Art’s wife, Gladys, took phone calls, managed delivery schedules, and kept the books from their home in Kimberly. Across town, Ray’s wife, Carol, did the posting of receivables from their home in Kaukauna. They kept the offices in their homes until 1958.

    See “How the Company Started.”

  2. 1954

    Art and Ray changed the company name to Schmidt Oil Co. when their father, Albert, joined his sons in the family business. The brothers gave up some of their stock to make Albert an equal partner. They purchased land in Combined Locks to build bulk tanks that stored oil, as well as a corporate office and the company’s first service and gas station. They hired their first employee, Gordy Hammen, who worked 41 years at the company before retiring. In later years, younger brother, Bill, purchased Albert’s third of the business.

  3. 1958

    Art and Ray seized the opportunity to purchase a truck load of Cooper Tires at a great price. With no plan or place to put them, they took a risk and bought the product, but were forced to store tires in friends’ and family members’ garages. Not long after, they created a tires and parts division, led by Ray, and built a warehouse so they could begin distribution. That business division is known today as U.S. AutoForce and is one of the largest independent tire distributors.

  4. 1961

    Bill Schmidt, who was 10 years younger than Art, joined the business full-time after he returned home from serving in the National Guard. Shortly after his homecoming, Bill started what is known today as U.S. Petroleum Equipment out of his car and went on to manage U.S. Lubricants and the truck garage.

  5. 1963

    The company’s first terminal was purchased in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

  6. 1966

    The company was renamed U.S. Oil.

    See the story.

  7. 1969

    The Bulk Motor Oil division began.  This division is now called U.S. Lubricants.

  8. 1974

    In response to the 1973 Oil Embargo and through a series of serendipitous connections, Art and his son, Tom, travelled to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Faisal. There they expressed to the King that they could lose their business because of the embargo. Soon after they returned home, Art began calling on major oil companies in an attempt to trade fuel. Art realized there was plenty of product available if they were willing to pay the price. They bought high-priced fuel and sold it to high-volume users who needed it badly. Sales jumped 7x overnight and the company went national. The trip is viewed as the catalyst behind the arbitrage which is now the largest part of U.S. Venture’s business.

  9. 1977

    U.S. Oil moved three terminal tanks in Green Bay, WI to make way for Tower Drive Bridge.

  10. 1985

    As the business continued to thrive, the brothers looked for ways to give back to the community. Art, Ray and Bill Schmidt founded the U.S. Venture/Schmidt Family Foundation to honor the legacy of altruism and benevolence of their parents, Albert and Margaret Schmidt.

  11. 1986

    In August 1986, Bill Schmidt founded the U.S. Venture Open, a golf outing that, since its inception, has raised millions of dollars to help those in need.

  12. 2010

    The company was renamed U.S. Venture, Inc.

  13. 2015

    The U.S. Gain Division established with Gain® Clean Fuel brand.

  14. 2016

    IGEN, a tax filing, reporting and data reconciliation software company was acquired by U.S. Venture.

  15. 2017

    Art, Ray and Bill Schmidt were inducted into the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame.

  16. 2018

    TIRE’s Warehouse was acquired by U.S. Venture.

  17. 2019

    U.S. Venture moved to full ownership of Breakthrough, a transportation energy and supply chain management company.

  18. 2023

    U.S. Oil and U.S. Gain announce the formation of a combined company: U.S. Energy.

  • Listen to the conversations about U.S. Venture’s early days and some of our first team members.

  • Meet Ray Zuelke & Ray Dietzen, two of the company’s very first team members and entrepreneurs.

  • The company’s first terminal is purchased in Two Rivers, Wisconsin in 1956 paving the way for the future.

  • Learn more about the history of U.S. Oil and how the company transformed in those early years.

  • This infamous Saudi Arabia trip was the catalyst behind the company’s enormous growth in the 1970’s.

  • Learn more about how U.S. Oil used strategic foresight to move three terminal tanks providing a much more cost-effective solution for all.