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The Road to Palm Springs


Michael O’Neil
CEO and Founder
Preferred Sands

A Philadelphia banker, then a redevelopment-focused real estate pioneer and now the leader of an innovative hydraulic fracturing sand company, Preferred Sands founder and CEO Mike O’Neill lives his mantra, “driving results through service and innovation.”

Relying on his personal strengths and those of his team, Mike’s business strategy focuses on their collective core competencies: engineering, finance, environmental compliance expertise and creative problem-solving. As a result, Preferred Sands is the first in the market with innovative and environmentally sustainable clean fracturing sand, and it consistently delivers a quality product to its customers.

In 2005, Mike led this small Canadian start-up in acquiring a deeply indebted Nebraska sand mine and developing a better way to provide sand to the underserved oil and gas industry. His relentless commitment to customer service, reinvention of the market and customer relationships, improved logistics, and cross-platform view of the mining, logistics, chemicals, and oil and gas industries expanded revenue exponentially over the last three years.

Mike believes that every business is a people business: his philosophy is to hire good people, invest in them and empower them. His commitment to his people and their success is evidenced by the pictures of Preferred Sands professionals and their families that hang in the company headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania. In support of nearby Philadelphia, Mike is active in education-focused charitable organizations, and the company matches employee charitable donations dollar-for-dollar