- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Lucrative Careers Await in the Energy Industry
by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Air Force Reserve

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The top three jobs for veterans currently at Baker Hughes are Field Specialist, Field Operator and Repair & Maintenance Mechanic. Field Specialists form the operational backbone of Baker Hughes, performing skilled technical services, usually at the well site. They plan daily operations, conduct safety briefings, ensure safety checks are performed on all equipment, lead their teams to execute safe rig-up procedures, ensure the safe operation of all equipment, and supervise the rigging-down of equipment and safe return of personnel and equipment.

Field Operators deliver products, services and tools between different sites, as well as safely rig up equipment, operate equipment, load and unload vehicles, perform minor repairs on equipment, and maintain relevant logs and records. And by using hand tools, power tools and electronic diagnostic equipment, the Repair & Maintenance personnel play a vital role in ensuring that support equipment and vehicles are ready for use. They also perform corrective maintenance.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City, Okla., is also actively seeking veterans. It’s the second-largest natural gas producer and the 11th largest producer of oil and natural gas liquids in the United States. In 2014, Chesapeake hired more than 75 employees who self-identified as military members or veterans, and veterans make up approximately eight percent of total employees. Chesapeake’s largest need is for petrotech professionals working in technical functions and/or leadership positions (post-training). Engineers and geologists, two examples of petrotech careers, are critical to the success of Chesapeake.

“Our veterans share their technical training and leadership skills with our company, and we support their transition to civilian life with careers that offer growth and advancement opportunities. Beyond the experience veterans bring to the workforce, they also work with integrity and respect, and put safety first. These are values that are core to Chesapeake,” says Chris Doyle, Senior VP, Operations, Northern Division.

To get noticed by recruiters, Szabo suggests you dig deep into each company’s mission, its work culture, the type of service it provides, where it operates, the type of jobs currently open and what those jobs entail.

“The oil/gas industry is very large, and like the military, uses very specific terminology and acronyms that can be confusing. The more familiar you are with the industry, a particular company and the terminology, the more educated and articulate your responses will be during an interview,” Szabo advises.

“Transitioning service members should also attend both on and off-base job fairs to get in front of recruiters looking for them. They should build professional networks (e.g., LinkedIn, RallyPoint, etc.) and attend military-specific job fairs to become visible to employers. If you are not visible, you cannot be found.”

Military-Friendly Cultures
One way to gauge whether an oil and natural gas company is “military-friendly” is to look at the in-house programs offered to employees who are veterans that foster their career advancement and help them make the transition into the civilian workplace.

Halliburton offers the Veterans Leadership Forum, an employee affinity group with about 500 members. “A lot of their focus is on what they’re doing in the community related to supporting veterans,” Williams says, adding that people can sign up for mentoring opportunities through the group.

Chesapeake Energy offers CHK Troop Connect, an affinity group established in 2011. It provides veterans with an online social network, community-service projects, and networking and military-appreciation events. The company also hosts an annual Veterans Day celebration at its Oklahoma City corporate campus.

“Veterans have an innate desire to continue to improve and to advance. This personality fits well with Chesapeake’s culture. Employee development is a major initiative at our company. We want to take great employees and make them even better, positioning them for promotions and leadership opportunities,” Doyle says.

And Baker Hughes’ Veterans Resource Group supports veterans transitioning from active duty and connects them with mentors within the company.

“This program has been enormously popular since its launch in 2013. Twenty-five chapters have already been established in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, and many more are underway in places like California, Colorado and North Dakota,” Szabo says. “It will come as no surprise that these local chapters, once formed, turn their focus almost instantly to making a difference in the lives of other veterans in their communities.”

Heidi Lynn Russell writes about employment and business issues.

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