The past months have been rough for the oil and gas industry—oil prices dropping drastically, companies laying off thousands of employees, rig stacking becoming a much too common practice, companies slashing budgets and spending, and companies closing down facilities and operations. Although it seems like there is no end to this downward spiral, there is hope for some.
Low oil prices, which are sitting just around $55 per barrel as you read this, have caused numerous issues for the energy industry as a whole, including the lay-off of thousands of people working in energy jobs. Luckily, there is still a need for skilled employees, despite endless job cuts. Engineers, Technicians, Operators, Mechanics, Inspectors and Geologists are all occupations that the oil and gas industry still needs and is looking for.
Recently, Rigzone sat down with five talent professionals and discussed the current oil and gas job market. The talent professionals included the following: Carolyn Stewart, regional business development manager of North America at NES Global Talent; Mark Charman and Eric Peters, CEO and managing director for the Americas, respectively, for Faststream Recruitment Group; Cindi Boudreaux, senior recruiter and account manager for Clearpoint Creative; and Christine Norris, division manager for Professional Alternatives. During the discussion, all of the talent professionals agreed that companies will always be hiring, and the need for Engineers, Technicians, Operators, Mechanics, Inspectors and Geologists is something that will never go away. Charman expressed how each company is doing its own thing–one could be hiring and the other could be laying off employees:
There are always electrical engineering skill shortages, and there is still a need for some of the hard-to-find G and G roles and reservoir engineers. So far, we haven’t seen a change. You talk to one company and they’re laying off. You talk to another and they’re hiring. It’s a funny market right now.
Stewart also explained how specific jobs are and will be needed by companies:
Currently, NES Global Talent is receiving continuous request for health, safety and environmental roles along with “early works” type roles such as inspection. We have also had a recent increase in client requests for project services type roles such as those related to cost, project controls etc. due to a need to monitor costs and expenditure.
Finding a new job can be hard, even if you have the requirements the employer is looking for. In some cases, starting a new business may be your only option, which was the case for White Brothers Consulting LLC, an engineering and consulting company located West Virginia.
The White Brothers team consists of Bill and Timothy White, brothers, and long-time friend Lee Snyder. Before White Brothers was formed, the three of them worked together at another company where they hatched the idea for their own West Virginia-based consulting firm. They knew the skills they had were skills that are in demand in the oil and gas industry.
It all started when Timothy White was on the fence about staying with his current firm. Unfortunately, White received the bad news that he was no longer needed at the company, and the brainstorming began. Rather than trying to find a new job and work for someone else, Tim, his brother Bill and Lee decided to start their own company. They immediately went to the attorney’s office and started the paperwork.
As they began filling out the necessary forms, the three began discussing a name for the company. After only a short debate, the three decided to name the company White Brothers Consulting LLC, referring back to Tim and Bill’s grandfather, who ran a respected company with the same name. Tim White explained the background of the company’s name and how they decided to go with White Brothers:
We didn’t really have a name picked. And Lee mentioned every time he was out somewhere that people would always say, ‘Oh you work with the White Brothers.’ So we ended up going with that name. The company name comes from my grandfather and his brother’s company called White Brothers Incorporated. They were two guys with an 8th grade education who started doing construction and river towing. They had towboats, which is a big industry here because of coal. Not only would they tow large barges full of coal, but they also were river contractors. We decided keep the name and added Consulting and LLC to it, and it just kind of stuck.
White Brothers Consulting LLC is a company that can serve clients in numerous aspects because of the extensive backgrounds the White brothers and Snyder all bring to the table. Bill White is a
Senior Structural Engineer with over 25 years of design experience. His main focus and area of expertise is bridge design, but he also has an extensive background in providing contractors with solutions during construction of bridges and other structures. White is licensed in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida, Maryland and Tennessee.
Timothy White is a Senior Roadway Design Engineer with over 20 years of combined experience in design and construction. His experience entails roadway design, gas drilling pad and site design and providing engineering for Abandoned Mine Land projects in West Virginia. White is licensed in West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington D.C.
Lee Snyder is a Professional Surveyor and the lead of the White Brothers’ surveying services. He has over 15 years of experience under his belt and handles projects from courthouse research to field surveying and drawing up the final plat. He is also the RSO for the company. He currently is the President of the Greater Kanawha Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Survey Society.
The services the three men are able to offer clients are impressive:
– As-built Surveying
– Civil Engineering
– Roadway design
– Construction Engineering
– Site Design
– Gas Well Pad Design
– Cell Tower Design
– Bridge Design
– Professional Surveying
– Professional Engineers
– Site Layout
– Survey Staking
– Flood Certificates
While being NACE Certified Coating Inspectors-Level 2 and part of the American Council of Engineering Companies West Virginia, White Brothers Consulting is able to serve the oil and gas industry on numerous levels. While speaking with Timothy White, he expressed that the three of them are committed to any job they take and will do whatever it takes to get the job done right and in a timely fashion. White gave the following example of how when they started the company. The three owners did everything:
When we started the firm, we knew that it was going to take maximum effort from the three of us to get started. We were fortunate to get in the oil and gas industry and had to prove that we could be a contributor to the development of the market in West Virginia. Many days were spent in the field surveying till dark, and then we would drive back to our office and do design work till late at night, only to get back up early the next day and repeat the cycle. It was challenging, but our early efforts have enabled us to increase our support staff and keep our clients happy with our work.
White explained that the start of White Brothers wasn’t the easiest, but now, years later, they have figured it out and things are starting to pay off. Leaving their previous firm and creating their own company has opened new doors for them, even though they were scared to death at first how it would go.
White Brothers Consulting LLC proves that there are other options if you are laid off from your job. Their story, along with the talent professionals’ personal views, shows that even while facing a severe hiring slump, hard work and expertise can pay off. White Brothers turned what seemed like a dead end into an opportunity that continues to grow.