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Energy Workforce & Technology Council 90th Anniversary
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PESA High Performer Spotlight: Don Bishop, Global Market Manager, Oil & Gas, Oerlikon Metco

Arnco_Bishop_DonWhat influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?

My father spent his career in the oil & gas business, albeit in the downstream retail sector selling finished products for of some of the big names around town and finally with Chevron where he retired so, starting my own career in the industry had always appealed to me because it was something I had grown up talking about around the dinner table with him. By the time I was set to graduate from Texas A&M University, activity was booming and a number of opportunities were available for those of us starting out. The mission of the industry and the talent that was moving into the sector was something I wanted to be a part of.

What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?

Early on, my impression of the services sector was one of unending growth with huge upside waiting to be tapped. It was definitely an easy trap to fall into when you are just starting out and everyone is talking about boom time. Since then, I have certainly come to understand the cyclical nature of the business, but more than that, in recent years I have come to see what an enormous responsibility our generation has to lead the industry into a future where technology will impact our lives more and more and where we must work to achieve responsible growth for the sake of consumers as well as for our fellow OFS sector colleagues.

What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry? 

I am surprised and inspired by how this industry overcomes adversity. I grew up with a sports background so overcoming and growing through adversity is a theme that was always talked about. To see those lessons translate to an industry, and ultimately down to the individual, gives me extreme pride in what we do and the product we deliver to the world.

What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?

I think the most challenging thing we face is ensuring that our message is properly conveyed on a global scale. It is so important for the people to understand that we are an industry made up of smart and thoughtful people who want to see affordable energy available for decades to come. Our focus is on ever-improving safety and sustainability. I find it the most rewarding when I see folks understand that we all have a role in telling our story.

Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?

Technology. Technology. Technology. It may sound cliché, but we all love Amazon, Google, Apple, etc. for a reason. There is certainly an element of cool, but it is mainly due to how these technologies have fundamentally changed our lives. The oil & gas sector needs to continue to embrace technology beyond incremental design and efficiency improvements and harness data and the immense value it holds.

What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future? 

I think my peers and I are perfectly positioned to be the stewards of a new kind of oil & gas sector that can carry on the success of our predecessors while also being the ones who can embrace rapid change. We have an opportunity to provide the solutions to the problems being levied at our industry and we should embrace that responsibility. I am passionate about the oil & gas business and look forward to providing innovative solutions to our customers and communicating the outstanding story we have to tell to those outside oil & gas.

How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals? 

Being a part of PESA has been an absolute must in order to place myself in close proximity to the most important people in our industry. The first step in any professional journey is learning from those who have gone before you, especially when they are willing to take time to pass on their experiences. It is imperative to know how important those perspectives are to one’s overall career growth. The second step is surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are passionate and motivated on a multitude of fronts. PESA provides that and so much more. As the saying goes: you are the friends you keep.

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry and how they’ve impacted your thinking.

I have had to privilege to meet so many wonderful people during my time in the industry. I would say the most important ideas that have impacted me thus far are to remain flexible in what you do, but never in who you are as a person. Also, to never forget that making an impact on people’s lives (big or small) is what is key in our business – Don’t ever become so consumed by the job that you forget about the people.

What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry? 

I am most excited to contribute to the continuing evolution of the OFS sector. As most of us are keenly aware, the landscape is ever-changing and this presents a great opportunity for me to leverage my experience and creativity to seek ways to deliver value to our customers. Oerlikon Metco is uniquely positioned as a surface technology provider to respond quickly to the needs of our clients by utilizing our integration as a material R&D center, manufacturer, and service provider.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?

My main piece of advice is come in with an open mind, an eye toward the future and a strong work ethic. The oil & gas industry has a rich tradition of trailblazers with a “get it done” attitude and it will need the contribution of a new generation of tech savvy minds to help move it into an ever-digitalizing world.

What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?

I wish everyone knew what amazing talent and caring exists in our industry. To listen to some outsiders tell our story might give the impression that there is some small group of people plotting the next big disaster and nothing could be farther from the truth. This industry has special people, cut from a common cloth, who care deeply about others. Knowing the people in our industry says a lot about who we are.



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