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PESA High Performer Spotlight: Dawn James, Industry Solutions Advisor, G&G, Halliburton

Dawn James

Dawn James, Industry Solutions Advisor, G&G, Halliburton

What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?
I’ve worked in the natural resource industry and subsurface technology my entire career. When I had the opportunity to enter the oil and gas sector, it was a natural transition.

What was your impression of the industry beforehand, and how has it evolved?
I was first exposed to the oil and gas industry in college and graduate school. I was impressed by the knowledge and understanding within the exploration process. Although I’m still impressed with the utilization of engineering and technology within the industry, now I have a much better appreciation for the breadth of the entire industry.

What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry?
What I’ve found most interesting is the passion the scientists and engineers have for new methodologies, innovation and safety.

What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?
The most challenging thing I find in my work is helping industry professionals to be early adopters and enabling the oil and gas field to keep pace with other industry spaces. It’s a difficult thing to change with the times and technology; however, it’s inevitable and necessary.

The most rewarding thing is definitely fitting solutions to these challenges. I love solving problems, no matter the complexity.

Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next 5 years?
I really hope to see the continued trend in increased diversity. I also hope to see the industry stay abreast with trends in horizontal industries in the adoption of transformational digital technologies.

What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
I hope to have a “sticky” presence in the industry. I hope to mentor and provide visibility to women in STEM. I also hope to be at the forefront of the technological tsunami in which we are currently living. It’s a very exciting time to be working in this industry, and I’m very happy to be a part of its future.

How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals?
PESA is a tremendous organization, and I’m extremely proud to be a part of it. Over the last year, it has afforded me many networking opportunities and leadership development opportunities, as well visibility within the industry. I look forward to continuing with PESA as I grow in my career.

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry, and how they’ve impacted your thinking.
I’ve interacted with many different types of professionals during my time in the industry. Since I predominantly work with petrotechnical solutions and subsurface interpretation applications, I work mostly with geoscientists and reservoir, drilling and production engineers within both service companies and operators. Working with scientists requires critical thinking, fast logical problem solving and a focus on optimized solutions.

I also work with C-suite executives, IT professionals and BU managers. Working with specialists at this level of the business requires a different way of articulating solutions to challenges. Having a holistic understanding of the industry is imperative and being able to tie market challenges to the science and technology is vital. In general, every person I’ve interacted with from the roughneck on the rig derrick to the CEO, has taught me valuable lessons that I carry with me every day of my professional career.

What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry?
Honestly, I’m very excited about the changes that I’m seeing in the industry that closely affect my career trajectory. The emphasis that I see in the industry on digital transformation, big data and analytics is extremely exciting. In this age, the industry will need young mid-career professionals that understand the concepts and goals of the older technology, but can also grasp the newest innovations to provide a bridge to the future. I’m extremely excited to be that bridge.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?
Be sure to have a firm grasp on the theories and concepts behind the applications that you use on a daily basis. Also be sure to learn about the aspects of the industry outside of your specific area of knowledge. Understanding where your skill set fits into and is dependent on other domains. This is extremely important to communication with peers and clients.

What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
I wish there was a better understanding of the Industrial Revolution and how the oil and gas industry is among the building blocks of a modern society. I think that there is a fundamental lack of understanding of how important our roles and professions are to the continued global infrastructure growth and maintenance, as well as the proliferation of everyday products.

For those inside the industry, I wish there was more action around increased adoption of new technologies. I also have the hope that there is a clear recognition on how this change must take place to keep our industry from falling behind our horizontal counterparts.