Erik Christensen, Senior Commercial Analyst, HMH, is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program. He recently shared his insights on the energy services and technology sector.
ENERGY WORKFORCE: What is your role with the company? What does a typical day look like?
Erik Christensen: HMH is a newly formed company of subsea and topside drilling products. I started in subsea products at GE Oil and Gas and have evolved with the company over time. My role consists of being the focal point for the commercial team on new projects and contractual agreements. It’s exciting because every day is fast paced and normally something new.
EW: Why did you join the energy industry? Was there an individual who influenced your decision?
EC: As a Texas transplant, I was unfamiliar with the energy industry until I moved to Texas. It was not on my radar at all. I was lucky to get recommended for an entry level position at NOV by my friend. The thing I love most about the oilfield is it’s a really small family. Compared to my friends that work in tech, medical and other businesses, I feel like being part of the energy workforce is a tighter knit community.
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?
EC: I’ve been lucky to have some impactful mentors so it’s hard to pick one. I’ve learned different things from all of them. My original manager at NOV gave a crash course in oilfield equipment and then later in my career mentored me on how to be a proficient sales account manager. My first manager at GE Oil and Gas empowered me to lead the way on major projects and helped to break down complex deals into smaller digestible steps. My current Director, Kara Ellis, has supported my growth with opportunities like the Advanced Business Development course. I’ve also had the autonomy to learn skills such as deal negotiating under Kara. She provides support while giving guidance when needed.
EW: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
EC: I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I thought I would work offshore at some point but I got put into the sales team early on and have never wanted to do anything else … yet. I’ve spent my entire career in upstream, and I have had the chance to work with some amazing people all over the world.
EW: What has surprised you most about the industry?
EC: How quick the industry is to adapt. I’ve been through numerous mergers, acquisitions and spinoffs, and it’s been remarkable how quickly people adjust.
EW: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
EC: The integration of predictive analysis and technology into our products has been fascinating, and I think we will make monumental progress as we go forward.
EW: What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
EC: Sharing knowledge that I have learned along the way and inspiring younger professionals to consider the energy sector for a career.
EW: How has involvement in Energy Workforce supported your career goals?
EC: Energy Workforce has been immensely helpful in supporting my goals. Every course or networking event I have attended has been relevant, filled with like minded individuals and entertaining
EW: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?
EC: I’ve had the pleasure to learn from Chuck Chauviere – HMH’s Pressure Control Systems President (and member of the Energy Workforce Board of Directors). Chuck is an amazing leader. He’s approachable and is in tune with every part of the business. He has a keen way of asking questions that are impactful for driving outcomes. He also empowers the team to make decisions of their own. HMH has an extremely veteran sales team. I have learned an encyclopedia’s worth of information from Lester Bruno, North America Sales Leader, on everything to running customer meetings to working solutions internally for an optimum outcome.
EW: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the sector that impressed you?
EC: I have to plug HMH here, the CSA (contractual service agreements) we have signed with major drilling companies is bringing innovation to our products and delivering for our customers at lightning speed. The customer benefits from industry leading support and advice, continuous improvement and predictable cost of ownership on their equipment. HMH benefits from being hands on along the entire life cycle of our products.
EW: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?
EC: Have fun at work! Get involved in Energy Workforce. Find a mentor and be a sponge.
EW: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
EC: The energy field is not just the profit-driven machine that you often hear about on the news. It’s a group of amazing people that are working hard every day to power the world in a safe way!
EW: What do you do for fun?
EC: I enjoy getting together with friends and family. Anything from backyard barbeques to a round of golf. I also love to travel.
EW: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
EC: Anywhere with relaxing scenic views, live music and hopefully some history to explore as well. I love meeting new people and learning about them and their different experiences.
EW: What’s a fun fact that people would never guess about you?
EC: I love to cook! In college I worked at the Gristmill in New Braunfels. I worked all over the kitchen but enjoyed working the grill the most. I also waited tables and learned about presentation and service to enhance the customer experience. I enjoy cooking everything from cast iron seared steaks, to smoking ribs, chicken, brisket, etc. I like to make Italian dishes and everything from Thai cuisine to Cajun food. I also like to eat!
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