Following is the energy story of Doug Polk of Houston, Texas:
What is your name, title/occupation, and where do you live?
Douglas Polk, Vice President Industry Affairs, Vallourec USA. I live in Houston, TX
Can you tell us a little about what your company does and your role?
We are a producer of seamless tubular products used in the drilling and production phase of oil and gas exploration. We have ~2100 employees in North America.
How long have you worked in the offshore energy industry?
I have worked in the offshore and onshore industry for 43 years.
What originally attracted you to the offshore energy industry, and what has kept you in the industry?
I went to work for a major oilfield service company immediately upon graduating from college. My first assignment was in New Orleans and became intimately involved in the offshore business from that time forward. The offshore environment is dynamic and the leading edge for technology development for our industry.
What types of job opportunities does your company offer? What skills make potential employees a good fit with the team?
Our company is seeking engineers, technicians, IT, QA, and business skill graduates throughout our operations.
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?
Safety is the first priority for our company. We have a team culture that watches out for each other in all practices. We take it personally.
How has the industry changed in the last five years? Are there any new technologies or practices that you wish had previously existed?
The industry has become more efficient and seeks to embrace the Total Cost of Ownership throughout the entire value chain. Project management and transparency in systems has allowed many discipline silos to be broken down that ultimately improve project economics with no diminishment of safety standards.
What does your family do for fun when you are not working?
We have a home in Pass Christian, Mississippi that we try to get to as much as possible. If we are not there, we are avid waterfowl hunters and fishing enthusiasts. We saltwater fish from Port O’Connor, Texas Galveston Bay, Lake Charle’s Lake Calcasieu, Lafitte, Venice and Port Eads, the Louisiana Marsh, to Bay St. Louis on a regular basis. Duck hunting season is coming upon us. We hunt the Texas marshes, and the South Louisiana marsh below Abbeville, LA. It is a hunting and fishing paradise.
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?
I personally consider the draw of the Gulf Coast, from South Padre Island to Biloxi, Mississippi as my playground. I can attest that the energy workers enjoy the same bounty and spend their time and money all along the coast. We are all stewards of this bounty and treat it so.
Finally, what is the one thing you would like to tell Americans about life alongside America’s offshore energy production?
Come on down. It is a cornucopia of nature’s wonders.