Following is the energy story of Jennifer Medcalf of Houston, Texas:
What is your name, title/occupation, and where do you live?
Jennifer Medcalf, VP-Business Development, Houston, TX
Can you tell us a little about what your company does and your role?
I help to educate and sell the upstream oil & gas market on how to improve their drilling and production performance and safety cultures through coaching on the rig or the production platform.
How long have you worked in the offshore energy industry?
What originally attracted you to the offshore energy industry, and what has kept you in the industry?
I didn’t originally plan to go into the offshore industry, it was a job that I was recruited to. I stay because of the people. I have worked in several other industries like medical and utilities, but I never experienced the same level of comradery or satisfaction in a job well done. I can’t imagine leaving the industry.
What types of job opportunities does your company offer? What skills make potential employees a good fit with the team?
We look for coaching skills, which are not common. The ability to influence people to make changes in their behavior to effect positive culture change at their work place when you have no authority over them is not a skill that everyone has.
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?
Worker safety is what we do day in and day out. Our company works with the offshore industry to make sure that everyone goes home safe. We want to affect the safety culture so that everyone is interdependent and watches out for each other.
How has the industry changed in the last five years? Are there any new technologies or practices that you wish had previously existed?
The resilience of this industry has always amazed me. Not only are the people resilient but the industry keeps pushing forward with new technologies and processes even in non-perfect times such as the recent drop in the oil price. It has been great to see more younger women getting involved and the older women moving up the ranks of the corporate world.
I think the increased access to communications offshore is an area that is evolving not only for better crew welfare but also allows for the increased use of technology. Data and AI have a real role to play in the continued exploration for oil and gas.
What does your family do for fun when you are not working?
We travel, enjoy ethnic restaurants and Broadway shows. Our greatest times however are spent with our grandchildren in the pool!
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 great thing about this industry is it’s love of the outdoors. I grew up in Pennsylvania hunting and fishing which I believe contributed to my appreciation for the environment. I have found this same appreciation for the environment in the oil & gas community. They are a giving community and support many charities that have to do with the environment and wildlife.
Finally, what is the one thing you would like to tell Americans about life alongside America’s offshore energy production?
My father owned his own business in Pennsylvania and was involved on the downstream side of the Oil & Gas industry. If anyone had told me as I was going through college that I would be in the same industry as my father, I would have told them they were out of their mind. I have never regretted one moment of being involved in this industry and now understand my father’s draw to it. How many people can say that the industry they work for is discovering technologies and work practices that rival space? I only live 2 miles from NASA and I believe that my industry hands down is more creative and adaptive than the space industry!