About the Interviewee
Byron Haynes, Jr., is currently the Reservoir Engineering Learning Advisor for Shell Global Solutions in Houston, Texas and is responsible for all Reservoir Engineering Training worldwide in Shell. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with BS and MS Degrees in Petroleum Engineering.
He has over 30 years petroleum industry experience in reservoir/production engineering and operations. He has worked on assignments in West Texas, Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, Colombia, the North Sea, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
Byron is a Distinguished Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and is a long standing member of SPE. He currently serves on the SPE Professional Registration Committee, the Ethics and Professionalism Committee and the Editorial Review Committee. For 10 years he has been a technical editor for the SPE Reservoir Engineering and Evaluation Magazine and has been an Associate Editor since 2008.
Byron is a Professional Engineer in Texas and Alaska and an SPE Certified Petroleum Engineer. He previously served as Chairman of the Alaska State Board of Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors. He is now being considered by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as a member of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.
Byron is also a member of the AAPG and the West Texas Geological Society.
About the Interview
Byron Haynes: An interview conducted by Amy Esdorn for the Society of Petroleum Engineers, September 29, 2015.
Interview SPEOH000127 at the Society of Petroleum Engineers History Archive.
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INTERVIEWEE: Byron Haynes
INTERVIEWER: Amy Esdorn
DATE: September 29, 2015
PLACE: Houston, Texas
My name is Amy Esdorn and I’m here at The Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. Today is September 29, 2015, and I’m speaking with Byron Haynes. Byron, thank you for participating in this interview.
Okay. Well, let’s begin. So my first question for you is, how did you get involved in the industry?
I guess my involvement in the industry came through being with my dad, because my dad was an independent oil producer. He wasn’t an engineer by training, but I knew about what he was doing from the time I was about 10 years old because he ran his office out of our house. He brought clients in, and he had well logs that he had on his desk, and of course I was curious about these things. So that was kind of my first exposure to it. And when it was time and through high school, I was getting more exposure to what he was doing and I was pursuing more of a technical background in high school. I liked chemistry ever since I was in sixth grade, and I remember checking out a chemistry book for one year. And then when I finally got into a chemistry class in 10th grade, I just went crazy. But then, as junior year came along and I was applying for colleges, I was looking into the type of curriculum I would I want to go and study. [00:02:00] And petroleum engineering sounded like a natural area for me to go because I already had some background in it. So that was my start. Then I started as a freshman in the University of Texas in 1978, and so that kind of launched my career.
So you studied petroleum engineering at UT?
Right, I did.
After you studied, how did you get into the industry?
When I started studying, I was a freshman. I remember we lived here in Houston, and I mentioned to my dad in the spring of 1979 that a lot of kids in my classes are getting summer jobs, I think I need to get a summer job. I don’t know much about what you do in a summer job. I’ve had odd jobs during high school. And I said I need to work in an oil type job, and he said, “Well, I know a person at a refinery on the Ship Channel, maybe we’ll go talk to him.” So we went to go down to the ARCO Refinery on the Houston Ship Channel, big oil refinery. He knew someone down there, and he got me in the door, just a cold call, and said, “I got a son here who wants to get a summer job, and lo and behold, they said, “Here. Here’s an application.” And I filled out the application with my dad’s help and like a week or two later, I got a call that I got the job, and they told me what the specs were for the job. I was an outside helper on a crude oil sill, which what that means is that I would go around the oil, well the pumps and take samples, periodic samples, and that would be about an eight-hour shift.
There were three shifts in the refinery, and I would be working shift work. One week I might be working mornings from 6:00 to 2:00, and the next week I might be working graveyard shift, which was from 10:00 to 6:00 in the morning, and then next week I might be working from 2:00 to 10:00. That was my first experience in working in an oil type job. Also, I worked as a -- first part of that job, I was working as a pumper in the tank farm. And what I was supposed to do is I was supposed to take the truck and make rounds around the tanks and gauge the tanks, check to see the levels on the tanks. And also, that job required me to take crude oil deliveries into the refinery into these tanks and monitor how much they’re filling up the tanks, not to overflow the tanks. So I had to get qualified on these jobs. So I had to take a test. And the supervisor, the shift supervisor would test me. We’d go around and look at all the equipment and then I’d have to name what all the equipment was and also what the procedures were for doing the job. So I passed the test, and lo and behold, that’s what I did for a summer.
In the next summer, because they liked my work so well, they wanted me to come back, and I did. So that was the summer of 1980. First was summer of 1979 and then summer of 1980. And then I interviewed for a petroleum engineering type job on campus with the same company. And because I had some residence time with ARCO, they said okay, well you know about the company and we’d like to give you a job offer in Midland, Texas. And that was summer of 1981. At that time, in the industry, things were booming. When I started working in the industry in’78, the price of oil was about $13. It had come up since the Arab oil embargo from about $2 a barrel to about $13, and we were in the midst of the Iranian oil crisis. And I remember during that summer going out to the refinery, I had to plan on when I could go fill up my tank and my car with gas because odd days, I could fill up, and even days, I couldn’t fill up because we had gas shortage.
So, prices were continuing to go up about 1980. Price was $36 a barrel. And companies at that time were doing so much, and the demand for a petroleum engineer was high that they were paying huge salaries for even summer hires. So I’m working in Midland, Texas, working on southeast New Mexico on little bitty gas wells that the other more experienced engineers were not working on, but nevertheless, it gave me a common entry into understanding what the upstream part of the business does, and it was good. That memory has stayed with me for years because at that time, graduates were getting out of school and going to places like Midland, Texas, and I thought I would be starting out my career and stay in my career in Midland, Texas all my life. Okay. That was summer ’81. Summer ’82, I worked for the same company, interviewed with the same company and worked for the same company, but they sent me to Alaska, because I’d heard some of my classmates a year ahead of me had gone and worked up in Alaska for ARCO. So I worked up there, and I worked in the office in Anchorage. I was working on evaluating heavy oil reserves in the North Slope, and they actually sent me to do some testing with some senior engineers up on the North Slope of Alaska. And that was in the summer.
So that was my first experience for getting out in the wilds. It was interesting because I got to tour around the North Slope and see all the animals and see what the operation was like, the big operation. The next summer, I worked in 1982. That was in 1982. The next summer was 1983. I graduated in December of ’82, and I’d taken a job in January of ’83 with the Texas Railroad Commission as a part-time graduate student. But I was an engineering examiner, and they needed people to do work for the Railroad Commission, which was regulatory work in the oil and gas division where we would hear cases coming from the oil and gas operators around the state and make rulings on those cases with the help of the more experienced examiners. The Railroad Commission at that time, I was still interviewing with ARCO and ARCO had offered me a job while I was in school to go work back in Midland, Texas on a different field during the summer of ’83, and I got permission from the Railroad Commission to go work for them and take a sabbatical and then come back in the fall and work for the Railroad Commission again. And their reasoning was that we need to get our examiners experience with operators in the oil industry so they can be better regulatory people.
So that’s what I did. I went back and worked in Midland, Texas on another field called Block 31, which was the first field in the United States that underwent a miscible gas flood. And interestingly, most of the people with ARCO that had worked on that particular field and that gas flood -- that field was discovered in 1949. The gas flood started up in about 1950. It was the first one of that to implement that technology in the United States at the time, but the gas flood was still going on, and a lot of my peers that were working on that field at that time were sent to Alaska because of their knowledge of how that field worked to apply that technology in Prudhoe Bay. I don’t know what you call it, a revelation or quite an experience coming behind the paths of other people. I had bigger shoes I was trying to follow. But that was my first experience in a working gas flood that was making a lot of money for ARCO at the time. The price of oil was coming down a little bit then, but there was still a lot of demand for graduates in petroleum engineering.
So time marches on, I went back to school in the fall of ’83, worked for the Texas Railroad Commission half-time and worked -- the next summer, I got permission again to go back and work for ARCO, but in the laboratory in Plano, Texas, and work on the same -- to do some study work on the same field I worked the previous summer. So that was quite an opportunity. I got to meet some people in the laboratory that were notable people in the industry from years back that were well published and they were in monographs, they’d written monographs and things like that. So it was quite an honor to meet those people. And also it kind of set the stage for me, meeting some of those -- kind of set the stage for me in what I would be doing for thesis in grad school. That was 1984. I went back to work for the Railroad Commission as a graduate student in the fall of ’84, started working on my thesis in the area of developing an equation of state. At that time, equations of state, unlike now, equations of state were kind of a new thing to work with in reservoir simulators, compositional reservoir simulators.
1984 rolls along, I start working on my graduate work. 1985, I didn’t take a summer job, but I stayed and worked on my thesis. ’86, same thing. I quit the Railroad Commission in the fall of ’85 because I felt I needed to spend time working my thesis so I could get out school. ’86 rolls along, doing the same thing. ’87 comes along, and I needed a summer job. I was trying to finish up my thesis, so I got a -- there was an advertisement in the petroleum engineering department on the notice board that Shell Development was hiring people that were graduate students that knew about phase behavior and PVT and equations of state. So I applied for it and got the job, and I got support from Larry Lake, who was one of my advisers. And so that was quite an honor to get that job, because even though it was three months, I’ve got to meet and work with a lot of the notable people in the industry, I mean legends in the industry that work for Shell. And walking down the hall, this guy’s name is on a monograph [laughter].
Mike Prats. George Stegemeier. There was a number of people I’ve worked with and got to meet. George Hirasaki, who now works at Rice University as a professor. A lot of these people that I had met just doing my little summer job of creating a PVT database. Interestingly enough, now that I work for Shell full-time, I went back into the library archives and found the exact report I was working in 1987. I couldn’t believe they saved it. But ’87 rolls on, and interestingly, when I was talking to Shell at the time, I was asking about full time jobs and said, well you can’t come back to work here because you don’t have PhD. Interestingly, a number of years before, because my dad had worked for Shell for about 10 years back during The Depression, he said the same thing to me, said, “You’re not going to be able to work for Shell because they need people with a PhD.” He worked through The Depression, that was a different era, different time, where they needed people, so he worked in the refinery also during the ‘20s.
I kind of knew this in the back of my mind, so I just wrote Shell off. I graduated finally with my master’s degree in ’88. I got a job with then Standard Oil Company of Alaska, and they sent me to Anchorage, I start working for them. At that time, I also -- before that, it was the fall of ’87. I interviewed with Texaco for a lab job in Houston, and I took a planned trip to interview with them and I met some real notables in the industry then. And they offered me a job, but it came a little too late. Otherwise, my path would’ve just taken a different path if I’d gone to work for Texaco. At any rate, I went to work for Standard of Alaska, I worked for them for about a year until BP took them over. So I worked for BP in Alaska until about 1991, and because my dad was having health problems here in Houston, I got transferred back here with BP, worked for BP here until about 1994.
We got transferred back to Alaska, and then I got into a job -- I worked for a year in the office there, and then for the next two and a half years, I actually worked a job, an operations job on the North Slope, where I would travel up there, stay up there for a week, two weeks at a time, then come back home. That was probably -- that operations job, it was the “funnest,” if there’s such a thing, job I had in my whole career over 30 years because it was working out in the field and seeing where the oil is produced and where the cash is coming from, also see how you fix wells and bring oil production back on. Also, working with the field crews going around and looking after the wells and the field maintenance people who had to train but they had no formal education. And you learn quite a lot from these guys, how they fix things and just go out some days, when I’d done all my work, I’d go out and just watch how they would fix things like chokes. They would take them back into their shop and work on it, take it back out to the field, and I got to learn a lot about mechanical things in the oil field from that experience.
That was in 1994?
That was in 1994, we went back to Anchorage. May 1995 to the end of 1997, I worked up on the slope, the North Slope, Prudhoe Bay. And it’s all the different seasons up there. The winter was covered with snow and really cold, in whiteout conditions. You couldn’t drive around anywhere, couldn’t walk from building to building, to the summer where it’s just masses of animals everywhere. That’s the first time -- I’d been in zoos and seen polar bears behind bars. That’s the first place I saw a polar bear not behind bars, and scary thing because they’re a huge animal and they run really fast.
Also, I witnessed a lot of -- because I was working a lot with the field crews and I also worked -- I was instructed at one time by my boss to figure why after they were doing cleaning of the oil lines that the water injection rates were going down, and this -- he instructed me to go and work with the pigging crew, and the pigging crew will just go around the field, they have -- they’re part of the maintenance crew, and they go around and they pig the lines with either a smart pig or cleaning pigs to clean out all the crud that’s lining the lines. I got to know all those guys, and they’re real characters working on these crews.
One guy I worked with, his name -- I can’t forget his name. His name is Doug Vaughn. He had a handlebar mustache, about as big around as he was tall, wore coveralls. He was a biker, but he was also a concert pianist [laughter]. And you would have never known. He lived in Wasilla, Alaska. I would go and get to understand, talk to these guys, and after they weren’t really afraid of me—because first they would call me college kid and they tried to put me off—and I said, “No, no, I don’t know anything. I want you to tell me what you’re doing, really show me. And I will go out with you.”
So that was good for them because they told me their feedback to me from several people at the field crews. That’s the first time an engineer had gone out with them and really wanted to understand their job and help them. So they saw me as a resource to help them, and I was really honored by that statement. One time, I was witnessing them getting ready for a pigging job, and they had a pig launcher, which is a large tube, that was about 10 feet up in the air and had a big door, about 500-pound door on the pig tube where they had to open. And before you open the door, you have to evacuate it, get it down to no pressure, and you have a collar on it that you have to pry off and open the door. That procedure, unbeknownst to them, had not been followed to the letter.
There was slight pressure on the pig tube, the pig launcher, so the guy that was up on the ladder, looking at the door and trying to get the retaining ring off the door, he couldn’t pry it off with his hand, so he had to get a crowbar to pry it off. And once he did that, once he actually pried it off with a crowbar, it blew open. It blew him off the ladder, onto the hard floor. It stunned him, but he got up. I thought he broke his back, but because -- I witnessed that situation. The ladder is there, I’m here, and I’m watching as he blows off and he gets knocked off the ladder and hits the floor. He had a hard hat on and had safety glasses, but that didn’t stop him from getting blown off the ladder because that door flew open from the pressure inside the pig launcher. Well, the crew around him helped him up and he was stunned, but he was okay. He didn’t need medical attention. But his supervisor was in charge of doing a follow-up review of what happened, how they could improve their operation and their procedures in the future so that it didn’t happen again. And he came around and interviewed me, asked me what happened.
I told him the same thing I just said to you. He said, “Well, that means you have been initiated into our crew now,” and he gave me a patch. And the crew officially was called the BPX Chemical and Pigging Crew, and their nickname is the Polar Pigs. I still have that patch with me in my bag in the headquarters office. I still use that in my classes, because I say to a lot of the graduates now, with the price of oil being so low, to be flexible. And I show them that patch and I say, “You can do anything you want to in this industry. You can be an engineer, you can work in the office, or you can work outdoors in the field. And this is an example of it. This is what I did for six months.” I said I learned probably more than I have learned in the office doing that work.
Time’s marching on. The company, October of 1997 or in November of 1997, me and my family -- I got transferred to Kuwait, going from the refrigerator to the oven. I was working in Kuwait for three years. My first assignment in Kuwait was to -- because they were water flooding and they were really inexperienced with water flooding and testing wells that were producing water, they wanted me to go up there and show them how to test the wells. Well, going up there means close to the Iraqi border.
At that time, Saddam Hussein was still up there. I had to go through a lot of safety procedures and security protocol for it. But I went up there, and it’s the desert. It’s flat. And I looked around and said, “Hmm, this looks really familiar.” And I went back to the office after that job to get the well stabilized and tested. I made a comment to my boss’s boss that he asked me, “What did you think about the desert in Kuwait?” I said, “It looks a lot like home. It looks a lot like Odessa, Texas.” And so he was going to use that as a PR ploy to get a lot of people to come over to Kuwait [laughter]. Anyhow, the end of 2000, I got transferred back to Alaska. Time marches on. I was up in Alaska for two and a half years, and I decided that I wanted to leave BP and go to work for a company called Occidental Petroleum in Houston, which I went to work for them. It was in Houston, but most of my job was in Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia. And Colombia at that time was a very dangerous place because of the drug cartels, and they were kidnapping oil company personnel right and left, they’re charging ransom to get them back.
I remember before I went down there, I had to go to the office down there and talk to some people about the project I was working on, the simulation project, and I had to be interviewed by the corporate manager of security here in Houston. The first thing -- a few things. He said, “Listen, I’m going to give you a briefing, but I want you to know that when you go down there, you need to go where we tell you to go, and you need to go with a car that we give you and you’ll be escorted. [00:26:00] If you don't stay in the places we have you go and you don't have any escort, you could be kidnapped. And if you're kidnapped, they're going to want $60 million, and we’re not paying.” I said, “Okay, I will go where you want me to go.” [Laughter] I went down to Colombia for about a year back and forth. It seemed like about every two months I was going down there. And I witnessed a lot of things going on down there. It was really surreal because all the locals said, “Yeah, it’s dangerous, but if you stay in the right place, you don’t have to worry about it.” Well, one day, I went with one of the guys in the office, went to a Mexican restaurant around the corner from our building, ate there. It’s a nice place. A lot of expats hung out there.
Okay, after lunch, I went back to the building. Next day, I flew out back to Houston. And about a week later, one of my officemates told me that, “Hey, Byron, you know that Mexican restaurant that you frequented quite a bit down in Bogota?” I said, “Yeah, what’s going on with it?” He said, “Well, someone threw a Molotov cocktail in there and blew it up.” I said, “Hmm, okay [laughter]. I’m glad I wasn’t there.” The next time I went down to Colombia, or Bogotá, I noticed going down from my hotel down the street to the office building, there was a gymnasium, a four-story gymnasium, really nice place that had the whole full front of it blown off from a car bomb.
The next time I went down there, I had taken a book called Unveiling Islam, because I was trying to learn a lot about the issues with Islam, having lived in the Middle East. And I left this book on the table in my room. When I came back, I didn’t notice it, but someone had taken it. When I packed up to leave, I didn’t have this book, and I said, oh gosh, I will have to -- that’s Nancy’s [his wife] book, I will have to go and get a new book at the Christian bookstore when I get back to Houston. Immediately, after getting back to the airport, I ran to LifeWay Books, got another copy of the book, brought it home, gave it to her, and I said, “Listen, I lost this book, but I got you a new one.” She said okay. Two weeks later, I went back to Bogotá, stayed in the same hotel, and the bellboy, after I checked in the room, the same bellboy that checked me in and came up to my room and he knocked on my door and said, “Sir, I think you left this here last time.” So, my speculation is someone took it. The security was checking me out for Islamic extremists. So it was kind of eerie. It was a weird place to do down. It’s weirder than going to the Middle East.
I was doing that for about a year with Oxy, and then they transferred me to Qatar. I was working in Doha. For the first year I was working an operations job. I’d actually go offshore in the Arabian Gulf on the field they operated. Then, for two years, I was working in the office, mostly. Then I didn’t like how the company was run, so I said that I don't want this. So I decided to go to work for Shell, and I got a contact with a guy in Shell down in Oman. That was another notable name in the industry. His name was Mike O'Dell. He is retired now. I think he lives in Houston, but he is -- I was talking to him, and he said, “Well, I’d like you to come interview.” I said, “Well, for what job?” and he said, “Well, for my job.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, I have to retire.” He said the company, he was a local hire at that time with Petroleum Development Oman. The government restrictions require that when he hit 60, he has to retire. So I said, “Okay. How long were you with Shell?” He said, “Well, with Shell, I was with them for 25 years, and I’m drawing a pension now. And what I want to do is go back to Houston and work for them part-time.” I was quite honored they wanted me to hire on to his job. And when I went down and interviewed with him and others during the summer, they hired me on the spot. So, I was pretty honored and impressed.
Did you have your PhD at this time?
That was what was so funny because I remember a year -- I was thinking in the back of my mind years later that Shell said, “You can’t come work for us because you don’t have a PhD,” but then the first job I was in, I was supervising a bunch of PhDs. I was thinking, “How does this work?” [Laughter] Going forward, I stayed in Oman. My girls grew up, they graduated from high school there. After being run around the Middle East, they were in Qatar, they were in Kuwait, and then they had their fourth birthday in Kuwait. And when we left Kuwait, they were seven years old. Then we went back to the States, then to Qatar, then to Oman. They graduated from high school in Oman, they went to university. Then after they left, I got a new post to go back to Kuwait. I was in Kuwait for three years from 2011 to 2014. The second time going back, that was a strange experience because 15 years earlier, I was there and the same people were there, 15 years later. But they had aged and they had been made managers and supervisors.
I got to see all these people and talk with them. They were just so happy to see me, but it’s like, “This is just too weird. What are you here for? You’re working for Shell now, not BP.” I said, yes. “Oh, very good, very good.” So it’s like, “We’re glad you’re here.” [Laughter] Then I got transferred back here into my current job in July of 2014. This has been a good experience being back here, because I’m closer to family, aging parents, and my girls that are getting out of college. I’m in a learning and development job, which is -- this is an interesting experience because now I get to see more people and get into more things in my company than I would have previously, doing different -- actually work on different projects and see a lot of different things. I mostly teach classes, engineering classes, but I teach a gamut of different engineering classes. I get to meet a lot of different people that I haven’t really met since when I was in the Middle East. I’m glad that I’m not flying back and forth a whole lot now and doing these long 16-hour flights. But it's been quite an experience. I don’t know.
Well, you have had a very long career and a very exciting career all over the world, it sounds like. What would you say your -- you kind of discussed the pigging incident as one of your favorite. Was that your favorite project, working on the North Slope in Alaska?
Yes. Yeah, it was because I got out in the outdoors. I didn't really -- I didn’t have to deal with the office politics. I was working where I thought it really mattered, what made money for the company. The bottom line is having wells produce and make oil and fix things so they’re working. That experience has taken me to do different things within Shell. Just because of that experience I’ve been on review, advisory committees in Shell, and coaching and mentoring opportunities with other people that were trying to start working in operations and trying to guide them what’s our best practices. At the time, when I was working out there, I didn’t think I’m really learning a whole lot, I’m having a whole lot of fun, but I don't know what I’m learning. But in retrospect, I learned a lot more than I think I did. Right now, I noticed in the industry that there many of our graduates and even our 10- to 15-year engineers don't have any operational experience, and they’re making million and billion dollar decisions on things they’ve never seen. And that's what's kind of scary. Having a 401K in Shell, I’m a stockholder in my company, and these same people that I’m mentoring that are maybe 10 years my junior that are managers have never seen some of these things. And I’m just thinking this is just really scary.
How difficult is it to go out there and get the operations experience? Is it…
It seems to be more difficult nowadays. Well, it's not so difficult if you want to get it. It seems that people don't want to get and work in a dirty job. They want to sit behind a computer, and they want to be running models or sending emails. That’s just my -- Byron's perception of the world. My observation is that a lot of the graduates now that we hire—it’s not only Shell but it's ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other companies—they want to stay in a job a couple of years and launch on to their next job, which is moving up the ladder. They don't think too much about staying in a technical career, which I keep telling them in my classes that it's not bad being an Indian. You need a lot of Indians to run a company. If you have too many chiefs and not enough Indians, the company won’t run. I know the company, HR recruiters have told you you’re going to be the next leader of Shell, and I’m happy for you if you want to pursue that track. But there’s only one person who’s going to be the next CEO of Shell, okay? And it’s probably a low likelihood you people in this class are going to do that. So you might as well understand the business and how it works, and that'll probably prolong your career than trying to move up every two years in a job.
That’s a good advice. Well, we’re getting to end of our time, and so here’s my last question for you. How has being a member of SPE affected your career?
I think being a member of SPE has given me opportunities and experiences in my career that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t volunteered in SPE. I started volunteering in SPE in the mid ‘90s, worked on the Engineering Registration Committee. That's right after I got my PE license. Because of that experience, I applied and got an appointment to the State Engineering Board of Alaska. And that that was a story in itself because I noticed -- I was working on the Engineering Registration Committee for a while I just happened to notice what the requirements or look at the composition, the makeup of the State Engineering Board. It’s called the Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors Board. It’s a regulatory board for engineers. And I noticed there were no petroleum engineers on the board. I was thinking 80 percent of the state’s revenue was coming from the oil industry and there’s no petroleum industry representative on this board. So, me being my cocky self, I wrote a letter to the office of the governor, and said, excuse me, I’m a resident in your state, and I noticed that there's no petroleum industry representatives on this board. And I’m a petroleum engineer, I’m a licensed PE. I would be willing to serve on this board and help out.
One month later, I got a letter from the governor of the state saying you a got job [laughter]. So, just being on the Registration Committee opened up my eyes to more opportunities out there to serve. Later, I was on the engineering our Engineering and Ethics Committee, where it was kind of an offshoot of the Registration Committee, trying to promote ethics and professionalism within SPE and what that means. I wrote some articles for the JPT about professional licensing that Tom Whipple can pull up for you that we put into the JPT about once a quarter.
Later, I got to work on some -- just thinking out loud here, I did some session chairs, just based on my experience on working with different committees at SPE. There is no shortage of volunteer work in SPE. If you hold up your hand long enough, you’ll be recognized and say, yeah come on, and do it. Currently now -- I’m having a brain seizure.
It’s okay. How was working and doing all the volunteer work, how has that affected your career?
It’s helped my career because I get recognized in my company and my -- a lot of volunteer work, my name starts showing up in print and it gets recognized by people in my company and they say, “Oh, you know about professional licensing.” And because of that, at least within Shell, I have promoted taking the SPE certification exam for our graduates internally to measure their competency. And I wouldn’t have known about that if I hadn’t volunteered on those committees. So I’ve been asked about that by BP that is in the know and can initiate this within Shell. I think this changes policy within Shell just because of my involvement on these committees, just because I kind of stuck my hand [up] and said, “We need to do this.” So, that's kind of how it’s changed my career. It’s gotten me a lot more notoriety in my company, and I’ve been able to do a lot more things outside than what my set job is. Same thing with BP. When I was working in Alaska, they actually gave me the opportunity to go to all these board meetings with the state and out of the state, so I got to meet a lot of different people and get noticed being an ambassador to BP, and now I’m an ambassador to Shell.
That’s fabulous. Thank you so much. Really, it’s been a pleasure to speak with you today, so thank you so much for participating.
Thank you. I hope that went okay.