Dawn Witt, Executive National Account Manager, MRC Global, is a graduate of Energy Workforce’s Executive Leadership Program. She recently shared her insights on the energy services and technology sector.
ENERGY WORKFORCE: What is your role with the company? What does a typical day look like?
Dawn Witt: As an Executive Account Manager, I manage the national contracts and facilitate the relationships of several of MRC Global’s top tier clients. My core responsibilities include liaising between the customers’ business units and service center operations and corporate departments within our company. This includes a variety of responsibilities such as negotiating contracts for renewal of existing business and growing our market share while ensuring that our operational and performance expectations are met or exceeded across all of the customers’ service territories.
With the ongoing volatility in today’s market, there is no “typical” day. My days include traveling to client sites that cover 16 states, addressing current supply chain or service challenges, attending conference/video calls, or participating in strategic meetings with internal and external leadership. I also attend conferences and represent MRC Global at trade exhibits.
EW: 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?
DW: I began my career with MRC Global 32 years ago in an entry level position. Since MRC Global is a large global distributor, I have been able to grow and advance within the organization from inside sales to branch management to my current role.
EW: What individual has been most instrumental in helping with your career? What did their mentorship look like and how did it guide your path?
DW: I have a somewhat “unique” personal connection to the industry and the company. My husband, Karl, recently retired as the Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations from MRC Global after 42 years with the company. Although I did not work directly for him, our mutual connection with the industry and MRC Global awarded me the opportunity to have a mentorship unlike most. Karl is not only professionally invested in my success for the ultimate benefit of the company, but he is invested in my personal growth and successes as well. As you can imagine, it also presented some “challenges,” but his guidance, knowledge and support is something that I will continue to lean on, well into his retirement.
EW: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
DW: Thirty-two years ago, the oil and gas industry was a primarily male dominated industry, especially in key and leadership roles. Over the last 10 years, I have found myself no longer the only woman in the room. The focus on and growth of diversity in the industry is both encouraging and exciting.
EW: What has surprised you most about the industry?
DW: I am surprised most by how much I continue to learn about our industry and by the people who are often generously eager to share their experiences and knowledge with me. It encourages me to pay it forward by doing the same.
EW: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
DW: I hope to see a renewed focus on the U.S. being a self-sufficient energy country. Whether through pipeline projects, natural gas production, development of new drilling technology, renewable energy or increase in crude oil production, the potential growth in oil and gas to achieve this goal would greatly impact our industry.
EW: What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
DW: I am confident that being part of one of the world’s largest dynamic, forward-thinking companies that fully supports all sectors of the energy and industrial industry will afford me the opportunity to impact the industry however I can. I am passionate in supporting organizations that help and promote the younger generations to enter oil and gas. This next generation of workforce will be critical to the longevity of our industry.
EW: How has your involvement in Energy Workforce supported your career goals?
DW: I find the entire Executive Leadership Program to be hugely beneficial to me both professionally and personally. The collaboration, coaching and overall training have helped me to better define strategic priorities, improve my leadership skills and learn how to fail better. These are all opportunities for personal and professional growth.
EW: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the energy services and technology sector that impressed you?
DW: I have seen several innovations in valve actuation and modification technology and in automation and robotics in the manufacturing of oil and gas products over the last few years that not only have impressed me but have greatly impacted our industry and the way we do business.
EW: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?
DW: Oil and gas is an exciting, growing and ever-evolving industry. You will literally learn something new everyday and it’s OK if you don’t know all the answers, just know someone who does! Be prepared to work hard, the oil and gas industry never “closes.”
EW: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
DW: Something that the average person doesn’t realize or just doesn’t always consider is that the industry and products are necessary and essential in some way, shape or form to everyone’s everyday life. Oil and gas is not just about crude oil and gasoline. Biproducts and other petroleum-based products come from our industry as well and without them life would be a lot different, and not in a good way. There is always opportunity for every industry, every company, and every person to do better, but I am so very proud to continue to be part of an industry that is essential to so many.
EW: What do you do for fun?
DW: Of course, when I am not working, I love to spend time with my family and friends, but for “me” time, I love to go to antique stores, flea markets and junk stores on the hunt for my latest vintage treasure.
EW: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
DW: My idea of a perfect vacation is sitting on a beach somewhere warm and sunny with an umbrella drink and a good book.
EW: What’s a fun fact people would never guess about you?
DW: I once met Willie Nelson at a gas station while we were both filling up our motorcycles. He was hard to miss because he had an entourage of black SUV’s following him. He was such a genuinely kind man and spoke to me first. We chatted for about 10 minutes about Harleys, road safety and before we parted ways, he lowered his voice and leaned into me as if he was letting me in on a secret and said “Ya know, this riding would be a lot more fun alone, but they (nodding to his SUV entourage) won’t let me.”