What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?
With my education in physics and math, and my passion rooted in sports, I have always been drawn to the technical challenges and competitive spirit of the industry. When I started working with Energy Alloys, I enjoyed the relationships created, the opportunities offered and the fact that hard work was expected, noticed and rewarded.
What was your impression of the industry beforehand, and how has it evolved?
The first half of my career saw year-after-year growth, and an industry focused on deeper water, and more complex and deeper wells. The last five years have seen almost a complete change in direction, both in the type of well now being drilled, as well as the growth trajectory of activity in oil and gas. With this most recent downturn, the focus shifted to costs, and every company had to provide more value to its customer base to distinguish itself amongst its peers.
What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry?
The capital intensive nature of the oilfield supply chain is something that continues to surprise me. Whether it is raw material used to make down-hole tools, rigs required to drill, fleets required for pressure pumping, OCTG for the string, or anything else along the way there is a significant investment required to participate competitively.
What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?
The large swings in activity level of the industry — and the challenges associated with trying to respond quickly and right size the business accordingly — has definitely been the hardest for me on several different levels. A close second would be how forecasts from customers are either non-existent or inaccurate, and I’m not sure which is worse! It has been very gratifying to work with and lead teams of people that continue to accomplish goals and help customers in an ever-changing market.
Where do you hope to see the industry develop during the next 5 years?
I hope to see the price of oil increase back to a sustainable rate that brings offshore exploration and production back into play. Realizing there is a delicate balance with the impact this will have on the consumer, we can’t rush back to more than $100 barrel oil. However, there is a significant part of the industry that has not been participating in the increase of market activity during the last 12 months.
What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
I’ve had the fortunate experience of working for a medium-sized privately held company with a global footprint. The family-like culture has shifted to a little more structure as we’ve grown, but we’ve managed to hold on to that personable aspect that drew me to the company when I first started. We’ve managed to do this on a global scale! I think that even outside of our company, the culture of the industry is one of safety, hard work, passion, innovation and entrepreneurship. I hope to coach and mentor others to be future leaders with a commitment to preserving these core values.
How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals?
PESA has provided me with networking opportunities with industry leaders and executives that have become new business opportunities, engagement with other people to exchange management ideas and long-standing friendships. As a member of the Emerging Leaders Committee, I’ve been able to learn on a personal level what fellow members do for their companies and the critical role all our companies play in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons.
Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry, and how they’ve impacted your thinking.
I’ve had the opportunity to live in the Middle East and manage Energy Alloys’ facility there. I’ve also spent a significant amount of time visiting and working with our UK facility. It amazes me that no matter where you are on the globe or which culture you interact with, the oilfield language, service expectations, people skills and basic supply chain principles still apply. It’s important to maintain a solid company culture that encourages ideas from different parts of the globe, but also maintains a consistent face to employees and customers regardless of your physical location.
What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry?
I’m excited about the opportunities ahead as we exit the most recent downturn. Many companies are so lean now that the accelerated activity during the last 12 months in North America alone has required widespread new job growth. Every employee has the potential for career advancement and broader responsibility. In my 15 years with Energy Alloys, it’s been great seeing the people I’ve worked closely with (suppliers, customers, fellow employees and industry friends) continue to grow within their respective companies, and I hope this rebound continues for years to come.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?
Go for it! The energy industry provides global opportunities, unique problem-solving requirements, worthwhile products used by everyone across the world, and an interactive and embracing group of professionals with which to share those experiences.