What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?
I wanted to find a job where I could put my chemical engineering degree to use outside of a conventional office position. I wanted a dynamic environment, where I could embrace my love of the outdoors. This was influenced by my desire to be closer to my western Montana roots, while also finding a career that would allow me to be financially stable. I wanted to find something that I was passionate about and rest assured that boredom would not be in my vocabulary.
During an internship, I learned about using shallow hydraulic fracturing for in-situ bio remediation of consolidated bedrock in contaminated aquifers. I found it incredibly interesting. After graduating, I met a man on an airplane who worked in the industry and he told me about being a “Field Engineer” in the oil and gas field. I researched it, and thought “Wow, that’s perfect!” A week later I was interviewing in Williston, ND and that is how my career in oil and gas began.
What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
My pre-conceived notions about the oil and gas industry was that it was a rough, tough, place where few women worked.
As soon as I came into this industry, I realized my impressions couldn’t have been further from the truth. While some moments are certainly tough, the people in this industry are second to none in their comradery and sense of teamwork. There are people of all levels of education, cultures and backgrounds, and I realized the industry is one big family. Importantly, I found out I was not alone; there are women working at all levels in oil and gas. I am proud to be a part of it.
What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry?
The resilience and the passion. Every day I see people maintain a love and passion for this industry. No matter what, no matter how many times we get knocked down, we always get back up, brush ourselves off and try harder the next time. It’s amazing to be a part of this environment.
What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?
The most challenging thing about working in the industry is the market volatility. It’s a fact of life that our industry is commodity driven, and we must learn to maintain the efficiencies and optimizations that allow us to survive in any market. The boom or bust mentality is something we must beat!
The most rewarding is being part of a company with solutions that allow us to weather the storm. Coming out of a market downturn with a strong team and hitting the ground running is a major success and very rewarding.
Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
In the next five years, I hope to see people become better educated about our industry. We often hear fallacies and combat negative public opinion on what we do. I hope that the industry comes together to better educate the public.
What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
I want to be a leader and a teacher. I love to mentor those who come into the industry, and my goal is to make them better than I was because they get to start where I leave off.
How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals?
Throughout my involvement in PESA I’ve met a lot of great people and made some long-lasting relationships. The Executive Leadership program was wonderful for me. It greatly enhanced my leadership skills and style. I recently moved into a position with my company as the Fracturing Manager for the Rockies. In this new role, I manage all fleets ranging throughout the Rockies. As a woman working in operations, the Executive Leadership Program helped me meet many other women in operations and grow my confidence. The program showed me that it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, it’s all about who is best for the job.
Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry and how they’ve impacted your thinking.
I could talk about CEOs and directors, vice presidents and consultants, but the people who have impacted my thinking the most are those who taught me about operations. They taught me how to see things logically, find solutions given the tools at hand, and how to be a family industry. That has meant the most to me.
What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry?
For my career, I am excited to take on this leadership role, as well as others to come. I look forward to moving up the ladder in hopes of becoming the CEO one day.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?
I would tell them not to join for the money and not to be afraid of the cyclic nature of the industry. I would also tell anyone to get as much experience in operations as possible, because knowing what happens in operations is key to understanding the entire process, regardless of where in the industry your job takes you.
What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
I wish everyone knew that as an industry, we work to be environmentally responsible and sustainable. Also, I wish people knew that gasoline at the pump is only a small portion of what our industry provides. I wish people knew that many of the modern conveniences we know and love are a direct result of the passion and care of hard-working oil and gas industry workers.