Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m an operations manager based in the San Antonio office and I have been with the company for five years.

My job is to facilitate communication. Externally, I liaise with clients to determine their goals and how best to assist in achieving them. Internally, I distribute the knowledge gained from clients to the engineering team to be able to complete their tasks efficiently and effectively. I also share information back to the R&D teams to assist them in future software improvements along with new product requests from our customers.

I graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio. After graduation, I worked in the oil and gas field with a hydraulic fracturing company for roughly two years. Then 2015 rolled around and we had a gas crash. The smaller firms who were doing the type of fracture work that I did, went under. In a three-day period, the company I was with went from staff around 1,000 to about 10. I was not in that 10.

I took a good month or two off because fieldwork is hard and will keep people out of work for two to three months. So, after a well-needed vacation, I started looking. I ended up having a discussion with myself about where I wanted to live and what I wanted to do. I liked the Dallas and Fort Worth area, but I really wanted to be back in San Antonio. While I loved fieldwork, there were no longer any opportunities that suited my level of expertise. I told myself to expand my horizons a little and I thought midstream could be interesting.

That's when I happened to find a job posting for Atmos International who was starting up a new office.  I drove down to San Antonio and my interview was with Damien Ravel in a coffee shop. A few weeks after that, I was helping to set up the office; assembling chairs, getting computers all set up and being ready for business. At that time, the San Antonio office was just five of us. I can say now that I wouldn’t want to go back to fieldwork, for sure

What do you see as your biggest achievement to date?

On a personal level, I was able to buy my first home last year and I absolutely love it. I love the joys of homeownership, including the repairs that are always popping up left, right, and center. I wouldn't change it at all though. It’s about five minutes away from the office too.

Professionally, I would say that there are three that come to mind. The first one was being able to speak at our user conference just a few years ago. That was an invaluable opportunity to be able to meet so many of our clients, many that I had worked with and many that I hadn't. It was great to be able to get a pulse on their feelings for the Atmos software, what they wanted to see and what they were excited about.

The second one was my promotion to Project Manager that came shortly after that conference. It's been great to be able to help mentor and lead other engineers – helping them develop and assisting them to be the best engineer that they can be to fulfill their potential.

Lastly is the opportunity to represent the company speaking with Ryan Sperling, at the AEC conference coming soon, virtually, in Calgary.

What’s a typical day for you?

I would say a typical day outside of the commute really hasn't changed too drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Except for my first thing waking up in the morning, instead of just getting ready and hopping in the car, I wake up and hang out with my puppy, Hudson, a little bit. I got him just as the pandemic happened. Spending time with him in the mornings sets a good mood for the day.

Then I generally make a cup of coffee and head into my home office to check emails for the first 15 minutes of the day. After that, I have a morning huddle with my direct report team. I like to give the guys a few minutes in the morning as I don't want to have them immediately jump on a call and tell me their plan for the day right at 8 am. Because of how dynamic our work is and the ever-shifting challenges of our clients, they need to really be able to check their emails to see what happened, the evening before and or throughout the night. The first and most important thing for me is to have my team get a good feel for what priorities they'll have for the day. Then we get together we have a little bit of small talk like we would in the office before discussing and tackling the challenges raised. I find this gives us all a time to bond a bit and get feedback on any issues.

What three words would you use to describe your role?

  • Dynamic - Dynamic, because no two pipelines are alike and no two clients are alike. Even if you have the same client ordering updates or new equipment, their pipelines will be different. For example, even a five-mile, one inlet and outlet pipeline will have multiple variables. That leads to the challenge
  • Challenging - The challenge is not only managing the engineers, but it's managing the client’s schedule and expectations. Then managing the challenges that each different pipeline presents. Our goal is for the client to say ‘Hey, working with these guys was really awesome. They went out of their way to ensure that every one of my goals was met.’ It all goes back to facilitating communication. I want our clients to know that they can call me or anyone of the engineers and we're going to hop on the issue to be able to help them and it really comes down to that.
  • Fulfilling - It's just being able to be there in the best possible capacity that we can for the client. Being depended on is a great feeling.

If you could swap jobs with someone (not necessarily Atmos) who would it be?

This one is more challenging because I’ve always had the mindset to change myself. So, if I wanted to swap roles, then I would work to change to fit that position by gaining the skills needed. I suppose if I had to do something different and could choose anything, I would like to be a food and travel documentarian, like Anthony Bourdain.

What's your wish list for the next five years?

First, I just bought the house so I’m not looking to uproot or go anywhere. I think five years is a short period in some ways too. In terms of work, I’d love to continue working with Atmos Pipe and see the next version come to fruition. We made great changes in the past few years leading up to the release of version 7 and I know we have great ideas in the works for the future. We have a great development team that has been brilliant in taking on new ideas and translating them to provide cool functionality. David Bisby (Atmos Pipe Product Expert) has been great in all of this and our clients couldn’t be happier with the changes. I think it’s great that we’re able to take on a client’s feedback and convert that to system improvements. We receive a lot of positive comments from clients where we’ve worked with them to update our product to meet their needs.

Who would you choose as a mentor?

I’m going for Warren Buffet because the amount he’s accomplished in his life is inspiring. These days people are demonized for very little, especially those with such wealth. I think for him to continue in business for so long and not have everybody hate him is impressive. I also like how he keeps things very simple.  He’s also pledged to give away most of his wealth.

If you could go back and speak to the 16-year-old self, what would you say,

Oh, that’s simple. Buy Bitcoin. When I was 16 it was just a few years from being released and you could get 250 for about 20 cents.

What do you most like about Atmos?

It's the people, I think we have one of the most incredible and dynamic groups of people I've ever had the opportunity to work with, grow with and develop with. I honestly wouldn't change it,. I couldn't imagine not having a little bit of banter with Damien or Adrian, or my team. I have some great people on my team that I talk to multiple times a day. Pre-COVID we would socialize together after work here and there, so it's not like we came to work to check in and check out. I think because we are a close-knit team, it makes it a unique place to work. It's not something that I've had my professional life before. Being in the field there's only ever one engineer on-site and then I’d fly to the next job with an entirely different crew and entirely different supervisory staff. I was never in one place long enough to really build those relationships too much. Developing the relationships here at Atmos is great.

What advice would you give to recent new hires or those looking to join Atmos?

The most important thing that I tell everyone when they start is, be the change you want to see.

Do you have a motto or a personal mantra?

The exact same as above. Be the change you want to see.

Do you have a favorite blog?

I like to read Atmos blogs. I tend to dip in and out of them but I’m a regular reader of our website. I do listen to some podcasts and Joe Rogan’s podcast is one of the best as he’s usually got some interesting characters on. Also, Ben Shapiro for hearing different dynamics.

What is your favorite country to visit?

It must be Canada. I have made quite a few trips up there and the people are so nice, the food is always great, and I’ve never found myself short of something to do.

Categories: Employee spotlight

By: Will Stone
Date: 12 October 2020