Orleth Bryan-Tortolero, OCTG Technical Sales Manager, Vallourec, is a member of the Council’s Emerging Executives Committee. She recently shared her insights on the energy services and technology sector.
COUNCIL: What is your role with the company? What does a typical day look like?
Orleth Bryan-Tortolero: I am a Technical Sales Manager for the OCTG Onshore division. I provide technical support and casing design recommendations for Vallourec and VAM® products in North America. I am responsible for several regions including the Permian, Eagle Ford and Appalachia. I also manage three of our top 10 onshore key accounts
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?
I made the decision to study geological engineering because it met both my interest in solving problems in a creative way and also my love for earth sciences. The fact that Venezuela was still a superpower in oil and gas production, developing excellent oil and gas professionals and related scientific developments played a big part as well.
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?
OBT: I’m not sure I could pinpoint just one person. I tend to thrive from strong collaboration between different teams, peers in different regions and roles, and participating in multi-disciplinary projects. I learn something from every interaction and have been able to build some great relationships that have helped me along the way, both personally and professionally.
COUNCIL: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
OBT: Being the top industry in my home country, I knew that it was in the forefront of innovative technologies, new discoveries and always the source of excellent human talent. I didn’t realize at the time how cyclical it could be, especially impacting the workforce of countries with a large base of non-government, independent energy companies, like the United States.
Additionally, I thought my entire career would be in geosciences. However, I’ve since discovered the almost endless job opportunities across all functions and divisions of the industry.
COUNCIL: What has surprised you most about the industry?
OBT: The resilient nature of the industry and its workforce continues to amaze me. It’s also a small world! We constantly cross paths and find common acquaintances, especially in Houston. Last but not least, I still see tremendous passion and commitment to the “oil patch” from the excellent people I’ve had the opportunity to work with, especially field operations, and in manufacturing. It’s truly inspiring.
COUNCIL: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
OBT: I’d like to see more companies focus not only on oil and gas but also on renewable sources. I’m very optimistic that the momentum will continue building and the share of energy transition projects and initiatives will keep increasing. I believe we’ll see more efforts in ESG, both from internal company goals to bring more diversity and inclusion, and clear actions required from suppliers and providers.
COUNCIL: What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
OBT: At Vallourec North America, we are positioned as an ESG leader in our industry. I believe I’ll have incremental responsibilities to provide solutions for energy transition projects. I am part of the team who is currently structuring Vallourec’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and I will remain heavily involved. The improvements we achieve will play a big role in retaining and attracting the best talent.
COUNCIL: How has your involvement in the Council supported your career goals?
OBT: Exchanging ideas with peers from other companies on common industry goals has been vital to move forward faster. We have collaborated in traditional oil and gas, DEI, and energy transition topics, and it has helped tremendously to keep improving and adjusting project goals. Also, participating in the Executive Leadership Program helped my career development plans as I gained new perspectives on many key professional topics thanks to the coaching program.
COUNCIL: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?
OBT: Shauna Noonan and Maria Angela Capello, who are both pioneers and leaders in the industry, with strong technical backgrounds. They are open minded to new perspectives and a more sustainable industry, which make them great role models for other upcoming female leaders. They are helping to pave the way for 50/50 representation in the energy industry.
COUNCIL: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the energy services and technology sector that impressed you?
OBT: The continuous and ever-evolving digital transformation and machine learning in the energy industry. For example, the ability to perform many functions remotely, which reduces the amount of people involved in critical operations and therefore decreases safety risks. Also, to bring up a specific product, I believe Intelligent Pipe solutions with temperature and pressure sensors placed directly in the pipe to acquire data from the wellbore and transmit it up the casing string in real-time continuously, throughout the life of the well, are going to be key for reservoir and well integrity monitoring in some plays.
COUNCIL: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?
OBT: Come with a spirit of constant exploration and shift change. Start working in the oil field, or on the plant floor. If direct operations experience is not an option, get involved with operations in other ways — plant and rig site visits for example, or industry events. I worked in rig site operations for six years and it has always been a highlight of my career. Don’t stagnate by remaining in the same roles, or in the same location, or the same team. Look for challenging positions and opportunities to keep growing. Always work on growing contacts and relations with other companies, at industry events and conferences.
COUNCIL: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
OBT: I wish they knew more about what it takes to get oil and gas from thousands of feet deep in the ground, the hardships throughout the industry’s evolution and how we are working to keep energy available for all at our fingertips, while reducing the impact to the environment. I wish they could appreciate that today’s societal life and even the most basic comforts wouldn’t exist without oil and gas. I wish as a whole that the industry had done a better job spreading this message to the public.
COUNCIL: What do you do for fun?
OBT: I like to explore new places, experiences and minds. Hang out with friends and family, go to art and cultural festivals in the city. Travel to new places and learn from other cultures, meet new people at local hangouts, travel the path unknown.
COUNCIL: What’s a fun fact that people would never guess about you?
OBT: I used to have snakes as pets. But apparently, I’m a terrible snake keeper, as they escaped twice.