PESA’s Emerging Executives Committee prepares high-performing individuals for their role as the next generation of industry leaders. The Committee develops and carries out their own agenda of events and training seminars, including Leadership Forums, an Executive Leadership Year-Long Program, and the Executive Address Series. PESA recently sat down with committee member Anthony Thomas II, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Ringers Gloves, to discuss his view of the industry.
What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?
During graduate school, I took a design course in which corporate sponsors partnered with student groups to design and build a prototype product. The corporate sponsor for my group was Schlumberger, Schlumberger’s Doll Research Center was across the street from campus, and our group designed and built a downhole tool prototype. I was impressed by both the technical challenges presented by downhole tool design, and the rigor and creativity with which the Schlumberger team approached these technical challenges. I ultimately was recruited for and offered a position with Schlumberger after graduation.
What was your impression of the industry beforehand, and how has it evolved?
I had no exposure to oil and gas prior to joining the industry. During my early career as an engineer, I was narrowly focused on technical problem solving and developed deep but highly specific expertise. As I pivoted away from engineering and into finance, I developed a more holistic view of the industry and got a healthy dose of humility as I came to realize just how much I didn’t know.
What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry?
Despite the capital intensity, violent cyclicality and technical risks in oil and gas, a spirit of entrepreneurship continues to thrive in the industry, attracting talented leaders across the globe.
What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?
Suffering through downturns together with our clients is extremely challenging. It’s personally satisfying to be a part of a company that develops products that protect people in their daily work.
Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
I’d like to see the industry more collaboratively embrace data to improve performance. I also want the industry to attract a more diverse generation of problem solvers.
What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
I will draw upon my technical, financial and operational experiences to help drive transformative change. I’d also like to use my career to create opportunities for the next generation of future leaders.
How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals?
PESA provides a structured platform for peer engagement, leadership development and continuing education that I have not been able to find in other professional groups. I am humbled by the many accomplishments of my peers and excited for the opportunities to learn from each of them.
Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry and how they’ve impacted your thinking.
Throughout my career, I’ve interacted with many types of professionals including engineers, operators, advisors and investors. Each interaction confirmed that no matter your expertise, there are countless ways to have a positive impact on the industry.
What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry?
I’m excited to be a part of an industry that relies so heavily upon technical innovation to create value. This reliance ensures a steady stream of smart and innovative minds into the industry to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?
Have a career path in mind but maintain the intellectual flexibility to change that path. It’s impossible to grasp the breadth of opportunities in the industry before you begin your career.
For more information regarding PESA, please visit pesa.org.