Transitioning Military - The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Transocean: On and offshore success

By Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: URS


Known for constructing oil and natural gas wells in the deep ocean waters of the world, Transocean provides services for all types of petroleum companies in offshore drilling markets.

You won’t have to look hard to find Transocean and its 18,000+ employees in action around the globe. They operate in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom and the Norwegian sectors of the North Sea, West Africa and Asia. You’ll also find them in Australia and the Middle East to include Saudi Arabia, India and the Mediterranean. The company is headquartered in Switzerland and its U.S. offices are in Houston.

Transocean is a successful company that continually strives to be the world’s premier offshore drilling company by integrating the highest quality of equipment and innovative technology with a motivated workforce. And, as a soon-to-be civilian job seeker, this is where you could potentially enter the picture.

Prior military experience a plus

Like any good organization, Transocean wants to hire the best and they know the best can be found in transitioning military personnel.
“We like to hire employees having the leadership qualities found in those who have served in the military,” said Lisa Mullins, the company’s Houston-based Global Offshore Recruiting Manager.

“Prior service members are often more flexible regarding when and where they work. In our business, you could work rotational offshore shifts of three to four weeks on and then the same amount of time off,” said Mullins.

“Transocean employees work all over the world, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Middle East to West Africa and Southeast Asia. Those who have served in the military have often already been to those places and know what to expect culturally,” said Mullins, adding such familiarity is a real plus.

Leadership and flexibility aren’t the only qualities that the company sees in those who have worn the military uniform.

“We also like the technical strength we often see in prior service members, particularly found in those who have worked within the maintenance field. It is far easier for us to leverage off that specific type of experience to build our work force,” said Mullins.

Hiring a motivated workforce

Knowing that military service members have what it takes to make it in their business is one thing. Finding specific people to hire and put on the payroll can be quite another.

To that end, Transocean has often turned to Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI), the largest military placement firm in the United States, to meet its needs for a growing and motivated workforce.

“According to Mullins, BMI Senior Consultant Justin Henderson has assisted the company with its workforce needs since 2007.

Transocean has attended ConferenceHire® military hiring events in Atlanta, Georgia and in Norfolk, Virginia. BMI has also assisted the company with specific hiring initiatives.

“We recently wanted to hire 100 employees for a newly created, unique subsea engineering program. Specifically, we wanted to hire from the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom and India,” said Mullins.

Mullins said that the subsea engineering job involves a defined skill set that can only be found within the offshore oil industry itself.

This one-time initiative was designed to create an available internal pool of trained engineers within the company and to also assist with operations on specific U.S.-based projects.

Selected candidates were required to attend a four-month shore-based training program where they learned how to maintain oil rig operations. After the four months, they spent a couple weeks offshore to get a feel for working in that type of environment.

Upon successfully completing that portion, the candidates were to be placed in a fast-track training program for one year after which they will be designated as subsea engineer supervisors. According to several online salary surveys, compensation for such positions is above average compared to traditional “9-5” jobs.

“I was in Brazil when this specific initiative came up and Justin [Henderson] was on the ground getting things done for us. We ended up hiring 27 BMI candidates instead of the slated 25. The additional two were that good. We couldn’t let them slip away,” said Mullins.

Other opportunities exist

“Even though the recruitment for this particular initiative has ended, there is often room for the right candidate at Transocean,” said Mullins.

"Depending upon the position to be filled, prior oil industry experience is not always required.

“Having a military background complements Transocean’s system of training. The right person is what matters. The right person can be trained for the job,” said Henderson.

“Henderson added that those coming from the Navy nuclear career fields have been most easily placed with Transocean’s engineering positions.

“I did, however, recently place a former Marine Corps engineman with the company and several years ago, I placed a retired Army Captain with them, too,” said Henderson.

“That retired Army Captain, Recie Medlock, is now Transocean’s Rig Asset Manager in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, with Transocean’s South American Division.

“He was promoted into the position in January 2010, and he loves his job.

“There is no typical day. I can be in the office one day and in the middle of the South Atlantic the next,” said Medlock.

“This is a fast-paced environment that is ever-changing and requires a certain degree of flexibility. I am always planning today for the future, while managing the future today,” said Medlock.

Medlock also offers transitioning service members a bit of advice.

“There are very few places that give the leadership and integrity training that you obtain in the military. Remember that can be the difference maker for you. Those are two things that allow you to walk into any office and they will be glad to have those types of intangible skills in their organization,” said Medlock.

Especially at a company like Transocean.


Janet Farley is the author of The Military-to-Civilian Career Transition Guide (Jist, Inc. 2010) and writes the JobTalk column for the Stars and Stripes Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @Mil2CivGuide and visit

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