Halliburton executive Eric Williams this month marks three years in Oklahoma City as one of seven North American vice presidents at the international oil-field services company.
This is Williams' fourth stint as a resident of the Sooner state. Of his 35 years with Halliburton — or Halliburton acquisitions — he's worked nearly 10 years here.
Early on, Williams lived and worked in Watonga, where his family attended and loved the First Baptist Church; his adult sons started school in Broken Arrow; and in the mid-1980s, Williams and his wife, Jan, a former Edmond schoolteacher, even built a home here. But they got to live in it only 13 months before the market downturn.
As midcontinent area vice president, Williams oversees the company's technical, sales and operations functions for a territory that stretches from Kansas to the Barnett Shale in north Texas, and from the Texas Panhandle to Fayetteville, Ark.
His organization — which includes about 2,500 Halliburton employees — provides “oil-field solutions,” involving well construction to completion, to more than 400 clients, Williams said. Halliburton's manufacturing operation in Duncan lies outside of his duties.
From his 20th floor offices in the Oklahoma Tower at 210 Park Ave., Williams, 60, sat down recently with The Oklahoman to talk about his professional and personal life. This is an edited transcript:
Q: Tell us about your roots.
A: I grew up in Southern Illinois. My hometown, Enfield, had a total population of about 800, including 30 in my graduating class. But Enfield is just 40 miles west of Evansville, Ind., and 120 miles east of St. Louis, so I had the best of all worlds. My grandparents, on both sides, were grain farmers. In the summertime, I often rode my bike to their nearby farms. My father was a drilling superintendent in what was a small drilling community and my mother was a homemaker. I'm the oldest of four children. My sister and two brothers still live in the Southern Illinois area, near my father. Our mother just passed away last month.
Q: What were the highlights of your school days?
A: I played center (I'm 6'1”) on the basketball team, third base on the baseball team, and on the track team, ran high hurdles and threw the shot put and discus. I met my wife, Jan, when I was a sophomore in high school on a trip to the “big city.” She's a year younger and lived 10 miles east of me, in a town of 7,000. I and a carload of young men met her and a carload of young ladies cruising either A&W or Dairy Queen, which was at the opposite end of Main Street.
Q: And college?
A: I attended Eastern Illinois University, where I studied to be a physical education teacher and coach. Jan, who also earned an education degree there, and I married after my freshman year. I was 19 and she was 18. We lived in married student housing, where we made a lot of good friends.