Bills is a participant of the Council’s Executive Leadership Program and a member of the Emerging Executives Committee. He recently shared his insights on the OFS sector.
COUNCIL: Why did you join the oil and gas industry? Was there an individual who influenced your decision? Was there an event or piece of technology that got you excited?
STEVE BILLS: I investigated careers in college and found energy as a uniquely important product, a requirement for every facet of the global economy. I grew more and more passionate about joining such an integral and multi-faceted industry.
COUNCIL: What individual has been most instrumental in helping with your career? What did their mentorship look like and how did it guide your path?
SB: I’m lucky enough to work with the same group for the past 10 years with everyone contributing as a mentor. The balance they’ve struck between guidance and autonomy produces such an effective mentorship. My team members are always available for me as a resource and they push to challenge my capabilities. I would not trade their mentorship for anything.
COUNCIL: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
SB: I never had much of an impression before joining the industry, but I am so encouraged by the recent sustainability efforts. ESG is an increasingly important issue for investors and consumers, and I am happy to see the industry participants respond in kind.
COUNCIL: What has surprised you most about the industry?
SB: The pace and the fervor at which business is conducted. I find it hard to imagine a faster-paced industry. Keeping to deadlines and holding yourself accountable drives long-standing partnerships that outlast cycles.
COUNCIL: Where you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
SB: I hope to see the importance of carbon conscientiousness equal that of financial and operational metrics. The industry embraces new technology and continues to drive value for customers. I think we will see more frequent adaptations of that same innovative approach applied to reducing our carbon footprint.
COUNCIL: What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
SB: As a member of Milestone Environmental Services, we are positioned to provide the infrastructure necessary to enhance the industry’s ESG efforts.
COUNCIL: How has your involvement in the Council supported your career goals?
SB: It’s fantastic to network among diverse perspectives within the industry. So many different ecosystems exist within oil and gas. Meeting and learning from adjacent disciplines shape my own perspectives. It’s exciting to network with those so passionate about the industry that I’ve met through the Council!
COUNCIL: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?
SB: Our CEO, Gabriel Rio. Gabriel’s great ability to quickly refine ideas and ask precise questions enhances my comprehension. I try my best to copy his framework before presenting information or pitching ideas. I find that approach improves my critical thinking and my work product.
COUNCIL: What project that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?
SB: Permitting a slurry injection facility in Lea County, NM. It was Milestone’s first organic permitting effort outside of Texas. The endeavor provided us a great opportunity to introduce our slurry injection process to the New Mexico regulators, as well as expand our footprint to better serve the industry with a net carbon negative disposal method.
COUNCIL: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the sector that impressed you?
SB: Not so much a technology, but I love finding new oil and gas podcasts. Podcasts are the perfect platform to learn new things about the industry or stay up to date with the latest developments. You can now find almost any expert discussion regarding any vertical in oil and gas.
COUNCIL: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?
SB: Keep an even keel. In any cyclical industry it is important to avoid dwelling on the negatives and equally important to avoid resting on your laurels. A level demeanor may improve your focus on long-term goals.
PESA: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
SB: I think it’s easy from the outside looking in, to characterize the industry as stale and stagnant. In reality, companies are continuously competing, perpetuating entrepreneurship, and innovating new technologies.
COUNCIL: What do you do for fun?
SB: Learn new things. I love the ups and downs of trying new things or learning new skills. It hardly ever goes smoothly for me, but through trial and error I find it a fulfilling experience.
COUNCIL: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
SB: Traveling with my wife and authentically experiencing new places and cultures together.
COUNCIL: What’s a fun fact that people would never guess about you?
SB: I love to cook. I used to think of cooking as a chore but spending more time at home presented me the opportunity to learn and apply new skills. Now I look at dinner as a fun and delicious challenge every evening.