Seventy-Seven Energy to Veterans: Come Serve with Us
SEVENTY SEVEN ENERGY
Seventy Seven Energy (SSE) is a diversified oilfield services company that provides a wide range of wellsite services and equipment to land-based exploration and production customers operating in unconventional resource plays. Its operations are geographically diversified across many of the most active oil and natural gas plays in the onshore United States. Through its affiliates, the organization provides comprehensive upstream services, including drilling, pressure pumping, oilfield rental tools and trucking, rig relocation, and water transport and disposal. The affiliates include Nomac Drilling, Performance Technologies, Great Plains Oilfield Rental, and Hodges Trucking Company.
SSE is always looking for the right people to join the company, according to Gino DeMarco. “While the industry is in a downturn right now, we will certainly have openings in the future for motivated, dedicated individuals who are capable of working in the field and dealing with adversity,” he said, “and SSE is one of the top veteran-hiring organizations in the country.”
DeMarco is SSE’s senior vice president of administration in charge of human resources, supply chain, facilities, security, quality, and health/safety/environment services. And his knowledge of the military comes from direct experience. He grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University from 1979 to 1984. He studied news-editorial journalism and accounting while also serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He separated from the Corps as a sergeant after specializing as a heavy anti-tank missileman and performing administrative duties.
DeMarco was with the global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte from 1984 to 1991. There, he became a specialist in project and operations management, working in software, healthcare, financial institutions, manufacturing, energy, and utilities.
From 1991 to 2007, he worked for a number of consulting firms and as an independent project manager on a wide range of projects across the country – from decommissioning nuclear power plants in New York and Oregon to implementing large-scale software systems in Texas and South Dakota.
DeMarco’s first entrepreneurial effort was a wood furniture manufacturing company that he started in Tulsa in 1991. At its peak, the company produced and shipped 200 pieces of furniture a day to customers like Sears and JCPenney; but by 1995 a changing market and international competition forced them to close their doors.
He tried again in 2008 by buying an oilfield-services firm based in Oklahoma City and relocating it to Tulsa. The company lost 80 percent of its business in the downturn late that year, but by late 2009 was back on solid footing and expanding across the country.
In 2010 and 2011, the company grew 1000 percent, becoming the largest field-geology firm in the country – and hired more geologists than any other U.S. business. DeMarco sold the company to Chesapeake Energy in December 2011 and went to work at the newly formed Chesapeake Oilfield Services (COS).
In 2014, Chesapeake spun off COS as Seventy Seven Energy, a public company based in Oklahoma City. SSE has approximately 5,100 employees and annual revenue of about $1.7 billion.
Why does Seventy Seven value veterans so much? “Veterans typically exhibit three characteristics that are highly sought after by SSE,” said DeMarco.
“First, the ability to deal with adversity. The oilfield is a challenging environment where not everything happens as planned, and most of the variances create some level of stress for the employees. Veterans are used to dealing with difficult situations, and they exhibit more resilience and ingenuity in stressful situations than the average worker.
“Second, the ability to execute according to a plan. While SSE values creativity, we also value individuals who can execute a job exactly as they were trained, every time. This type of execution is particularly valuable for field work, which is dynamic and fast-paced. Veterans are used to accomplishing a mission under particular rules of engagement, and that training and experience is excellent for anyone who wants to excel in our company.
“Third, the ability to focus on success. Veterans are used to focusing on mission accomplishment and not the various obstacles that may arise on the journey. Men and women with military experience are used to getting the job done, even when the tools and conditions are far less than optimal.”
The ability to move up in the ranks and good pay are just two of the reasons veterans will enjoy working at Seventy Seven Energy, according to DeMarco. “Veterans are used to accomplishing the exact type of entry-level work that we do in the field: often repetitive manual and technical tasks that require conscientious execution to safely achieve success,” he said. “They are also used to a command structure that allows individuals to start in the field and work their way up to supervisory, managerial, and administrative positions. What they are not used to, but happy to find out, is that we pay much, much better than the military.”
"The right attitude will go a long way in the military and in the civilian world," he added. “The most valuable thing I learned in the military – which not only helped me find other opportunities, but helped me achieve my goals in life – was that the mind controls both the mind and the body. As for the body, the military taught me that physical difficulty is just another form of mental stress. No matter how hard something was and how much the body was saying it could not be done, focusing the mind on getting it done nearly always resulted in success.
“As for the mind, the military taught me that attitude nearly always triumphs over stress. No matter how much I didn’t want to do something, or how boring, difficult, scary, or unpleasant a task, simply choosing to do it and keeping a positive attitude generally got it done.”
Veterans should look to work with the right people. “Look closely at the people you will be working with,” DeMarco said. “Try to find people who will value your incredible contribution to their freedom and way of life. Demonstrate a positive, can-do attitude, and you will succeed – even in the face of considerable difficulty.”
As for working at Seventy Seven Energy, DeMarco is full of encouragement. “Apply! We can’t hire you if we don’t know you are out there,” he said.