Following is the energy story of Dan Vela of Tomball, Texas:
What is your name, title/occupation, and where do you live?
My name is Dan Vela, I am the Director of Americas for the Service Technology and Rental Business for Oceaneering. I live in Tomball Texas.
Can you tell us a little about what your company does and your role?
Oceaneering is an engineering company that specializes in diverse businesses from sea to space. My particular business is centered around products and services that are used in the lifecycle of an offshore deepwater oil or gas well. Our services play a part from the beginning – when the well is drilled – to end, where the well is removed. I lead this business in the Americas region which spans from Canada, the United States and South America.
How long have you worked in the offshore energy industry?
I have worked in the offshore industry for approximately 23 years
What originally attracted you to the offshore energy industry, and what has kept you in the industry?
I was originally attracted to the mechanics of how we can access our energy resources in such harsh remote environments like subsea. What pulled me in was the challenge of the work and the different types of people you meet, especially those who rise up to meet that challenge. Another pull from the industry is the ability to be the leaders in major technology that sometimes transfers outside of the energy industry.
What types of job opportunities does your company offer? What skills make potential employees a good fit with the team?
Oceaneering offers many different types of careers depending on the business. Everything from Technician, Engineering, Project Management, Design Work, etc. The key to being a part of Oceaneering is that you have to be an outside the box thinker and ready to take on any challenge. That is why people call Oceaneering.
How much of a priority is worker safety and environmental stewardship for your company? Can you give an example of safety or environmental practices within your company?
As with the evolution of technology, it has been great to see the evolution safety, not only for the people involved but also the environment as well. At Oceaneering, we practice “Self Verification,” which means that I am accountable for the health and safety of those with whom I work as well as the environment. This is done by communicating in a teaching and learning way, which is sustainable for the future.
How has the industry changed in the last five years? Are there any new technologies or practices that you wish had previously existed?
There has been a tremendous amount of changes in the industry since I started my career. The drive to be more efficient and safer in operations has led to new technology that removes humans and the environment from harm's way. Also there is more data available to make better decisions.
What does your family do for fun when you are not working?
We spend a lot of time outdoors and traveling. We go to beaches, inland lakes and waterways, camping and just being outdoors.
People who do not live along the Gulf Coast might not know about the fishing, beaches and other outdoor draws to the region. How much are the outdoors part of the way of life for energy workers along the Gulf of Mexico?
The Gulf Coast is one of the greatest places to live and visit. It is a sample of the best of America: business, outdoors, food, technology all thrive in the Gulf Coast. The relationship between the Gulf Coast and the energy industry is very symbiotic. The energy industry needs the Gulf Coast to survive and likewise the Gulf Coast would not be what it is today without the energy industry.
Finally, what is the one thing you would like to tell Americans about life alongside America’s offshore energy production?
I would tell Americans that the offshore energy industry and the people who make it their life’s work are no different than others outside of the industry. They want the best for their families and their towns and work hard to make sure America is the leader in technology that keeps it safe and prosperous.