PESA: 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 MERCER: I was in the process of getting out of the military and attended a hiring conference in Austin. Born and raised here in Houston, I have always been around oil and gas. My grandfather retired from Exxon, my uncle has been working offshore for nearly 35 years, and for over 50 years the family land down in South Texas has had active oil and gas wells. NOV offered me the chance to work for a technology giant and a great leader in Pete Miller. It was a no brainer.
PESA: What individual has been most instrumental in helping with your career? What did their mentorship look like and how did it guide your path?
SM: I’ve been fortunate to have great and influential leaders in my career, including Tom Yost, Scott Sanders, Jerri Babin and David Reid. Each one of them have given me sound advice and directed me through my career. It’s difficult to navigate this industry on your own. Having someone you can call and talk to is crucial.
PESA: What has surprised you most about the industry?
SM: How we stick together through thick and thin. The road has been bumpy the last decade and to be honest, it’s a difficult industry to be in these days. Our resiliency is second to none.
PESA: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
SM: With the current political turmoil and going “green” being so important, the industry must find a way to be more diverse in its business ventures and acquisitions. We cannot be a sink or swim industry anymore.
PESA: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?
SM: Pete Miller and Jeremy Thigpen come immediately to mind. Both are great leaders; every time I talk to them or listen to them, their leadership rubs off on me. They’re all about their employees and the well-being of everyone they run across. It is all about the TEAM.
PESA: What project that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?
SM: To be honest, every project that I have ever been a part of. I love how teams come together to accomplish a goal. At the end of the day, seeing the customer’s success makes me proud.
PESA: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the OFS sector that impressed you?
SM: I love the Top Drive, especially the TDX model. The hard work and innovation that went into those pieces of equipment is extraordinary.
PESA: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?
SM: Put your head down and work hard. Volunteer for everything. Find a mentor who has been through it all (good and bad) and learn from their experiences. Don’t be too quick to advance, learn your job and teach others.
PESA: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
SM: How embedded it is in our society. It’s not all about putting it in a gas tank.
PESA: What do you do for fun?
SM: I like to golf, shoot guns, and teach my kids sports.
PESA: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
SM: Sitting on a beach with my wife, no phones and no schedule.
PESA: What’s a fun fact that people would never guess about you?
SM: I was appointed to the United States Naval Academy by Kay Bailey Hutchinson and graduated with the Class of 2003. I got laid out playing football against Notre Dame’s Tony Driver after catching a 20-yard pass (yes I held on!). I played the rest of the game with a concussion and cannot recall what happened. Apparently, we lost.