When I left the banking industry in 1980, I was new to the oilfield. Although my husband was a manager for a tugboat towing company, I was not familiar with other phases of the industry. Landing a job with J. Ray McDermott for the C&SA Division (Central and South American Division), I was thrown into the pipe laying barge operations. I worked for 8 engineers, 2 managers and one Division Vice President. My job was preparing contracts for our Brazilian and Mexican pipe laying operations in the Atlantic Ocean (off the coast of Brazil) and the Gulf of Mexico (off the coast of Mexico). My job was to type contracts in English and Spanish, and soon my minute knowledge of Spanish became much better as I could tell the Latin American managers when there were grammatical errors in the Spanish contracts. These were contracts of great magnitude – between 400 and 800 pages.
My first week on the job, I was taking dictation from one of the engineers and the terms, “dope pot, and lay barge” were added to the contract. I was shocked! What kind of work had I ventured into?? Then, one of the managers, dictated about running a “pig” through the pipeline and I lost it! I asked how and why would you put a little pig through a pipeline under the ocean? The engineers went crazy laughing. It was then and there, that the Division VP told me about Desk and Derrick and that I should search for a club near us. I joined the Westbank Desk and Derrick Club, and started my industry education. I was privileged to take the Fundamentals of Petroleum Class sponsored by our Desk and Derrick Club at a local community college; and, the engineers were soon borrowing my book and asking/discussing different phases of the oil/gas industry with me.
I am passionate about Desk and Derrick not only for the knowledge I gained about our industry – but, more importantly, I am passionate about D and D because of the growth of my leadership and communications skills. When I joined Westbank Club, I was petrified to speak in front of anyone. We met at the Petroleum Club and there were beautiful white linen table clothes on the tables. The water and tea glasses were filled, the salad dishes set out along with beautifully arranged centerpieces. Each month, the Speakers Bureau Club Chairman, passed the microphone to each table. Each person had to stand, state their name, company affiliation and their position at that company. Now, this was terrifying to me. I was so frightened that when my turn came, I would lean against the table, shaking so much that the water and tea glasses trembled and shook and spilled onto the white linen cloth. It was terrible! Our table was a mess!
I was approached by several club members and asked to work on a committee which I did; but, I also decided I had to conquer my fear of public speaking. I began attending the monthly Saturday morning Speakers Bureau training. And, after several months, began to feel more confident and was able to introduce myself without destroying the table. It was a fascinating journey. I attended monthly classes for a couple of years, and, whenever a communications and/or leadership seminar or workshop was offered by our club or at a regional meeting or at convention, I was there. It took me some years to overcome the terrifying fear – but, through the self-improvement opportunities and the encouragement of fellow members, I did overcome that fear. In 2000, I served as the ADDC President and was offered the job opportunity of a lifetime – the Executive Director of the Harvey Canal Industrial Association. I was awarded that job due to my experience in public speaking because the Executive Director was expected to address the Louisiana legislature when issues concerning our member companies were before the state congress. Also, my general knowledge of the oil/gas and allied industries were another asset.
I cannot express in words my gratitude and the immense appreciation for the industry knowledge and self-improvement that I have gained by being a member of this outstanding and caring organization.
Desk and Derrick is special: it is not only the knowledge we gain, but the constant encouragement and support from our fellow members that ensure our success! I feel that is the difference – the friendships made and the caring for one another that is always there!
— Theresa Adams, 2000 ADDC President