Rickey Hunter, Training Department Manager, Solaris Oilfield Infrastructure, is a graduate of Energy Workforce’s 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?
Rickey Hunter: As a Training Department Manager for Solaris Oilfield Infrastructure, I’m responsible for developing, coordinating and managing field service employee training and development programs.
A typical day for my role would include developing manuals and training materials, then creating the certifications tests for said material. Afterwards, I prepare and execute training for our field operations teams using those materials to further their skill sets and knowledge base.
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?
RH: I joined the industry due to the culture and environment almost mirroring that of being in the U.S. Army. As a U.S. Army veteran, I am comfortable in the pace of this industry and enjoy the team-based work culture Solaris fosters for its employees. My decision of be a part of the industry was influenced by other veterans that had left the military and began working in the oil and gas industry. Solaris’ technology has always excited me, even before being employed here. As a former operator/maintainer of the Patriot Missile System, Solaris has a similar level of innovation and automation specific for this industry.
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?
RH: I have been blessed with many great mentors during my career: CSM Eric McCray, Marcos Meza, Michael Bertrand, Glen Donham and Kerrie Greer. It would be difficult to say that one of them played a larger part than the other. They have all supported me by providing expert advice during pivotal points in my career.
EW: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
RH: In the beginning, I felt that the industry was very rigid and struggled with adaptability. However, as I have spent more time in the industry and with customers, I have come to realize that my initial observations were skewed by the small scope I had at the time. I have witnessed many companies collaborate on technology and mergers to adapt with changes as they occurred in the industry.
EW: What has surprised you most about the industry?
RH: How resilient this industry truly is! Regardless of the challenge this industry faces, it always finds a way to recover quickly.
EW: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
RH: This industry offers a comfortable degree of stability for its employees. However, I would like to see the industry reach a level of stability where employees are not concerned with layoffs and rather are focused on becoming more efficient for their career growth. Esoteric knowledge at all levels is immeasurable when considering its role in stabilizing the industry five years from now.
EW: What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
RH: I hope to play a role in implementing technology that not only increases the efficiency of the industry, but also makes the work environment safe and stable for everyone.
EW: How has your involvement in Energy Workforce supported your career goals?
RH: Energy Workforce has allowed me to interact with peers from other companies and increase my skill set not only as an industry member, but as a leader.
EW: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?
RH: Brendan Gilbert and Michael Bertrand at Solaris, they both have played a large role in changing the way I assess and negotiate the various challenges I come across.
EW: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the energy services and technology sector that impressed you?
RH: Automation — the ability to have a product that reduces headcount, increases safety and efficiency, while exceeding customer expectations is nothing short of impressive. As the industry continues to innovate, automation will continue to improve and expand its footprint on the job site.
EW: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?
RH: This industry is fun and rewarding! If you have great work ethic and a creative mind, there is a place for you in the industry. While innovation is on the forefront of most companies’ agendas, creative thinking coupled with outstanding work ethic is actively searched for in new-hire candidates.
EW: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
RH: The positive role this industry has on the economy, society and the environment. Traditionally, the industry is given the “villain” label, however, that is far from the case. With a little research and understanding, most individuals can find the positives this industry provides within a few minutes of their time.
EW: What do you do for fun?
RH: I enjoy spending time with my daughters and wife. I am family focused and enjoy spending my free time taking my family on trips or to events. Aside from that, I am a firearm enthusiast and enjoy being on the range.
EW: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
RH: The perfect vacation would be taking my family on an adventure to a place we have never been before. The excitement of not having a route planned, picking an unknown destination and enjoying the drive along the way would be the ideal vacation.