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Chesapeake Energy focusing on hiring military veterans

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has hired more than 600 veterans this year to fill jobs throughout the company. Its work force includes more than 1,200 veterans and active-duty military personnel.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: November 11, 2012

“I need to understand what your goals are and what your personality is ... so I can place you in the role where you can be most successful,” she said. “It's challenging, but it's fun.

“It's really fun and rewarding.”

New opportunity

Veterans Jim Bowlby and Maverick Burroughs offered similar assessments of their new jobs at Chesapeake after leaving the military.

Bowlby, who spent five years in the Army, has been with Chesapeake affiliate Great Plains Oilfield Rental for almost two years. He is assistant business manager for operations.

The Oklahoma native said he appreciates latitude afforded to him by supervisor Trey Landry, another Army vet, to do what he can to improve the company's operations.

“I'm never micromanaged,” Bowlby said.

Burroughs, an equipment operator at Performance Technologies LLC, said he likes the team-oriented approach at the pressure pumping company.

He joined the Chesapeake affiliate in February after a 30-year career in the Marine Corps.

The Alabama native took his time looking for the right job after he retired in 2009.

He signed on with PTL a few months after his brother, Gerald, was hired. Now they work on the same 15-man crew that provides fracture stimulation treatment for oil and natural gas wells.

Burroughs said he has learned a lot on the job, which requires physical and mental discipline as the crew works at well sites throughout the region.

“I don't know where we'll go from here, but wherever it is it'll be interesting,” he said.

Primed to succeed

Landry, who is being promoted to business manager at Great Plains, said the company has hired a lot of veterans for its supply management, supply and other segments.

“For the most part, those are the guys who are shining in their roles,” he said.

Landry said the discipline and attention to detail instilled in them by the military can make up for a lack of oil and gas industry experience. Many have spent time in war zones, so they are used to working in less-than-ideal conditions like those in the oil field.

Baldwin, who first was exposed to the industry while stationed in Alaska, said the transition was easy for her. The military and the industry are both reliant on jargon, with similar organizational structures.

“In the military, you call it chain of command. Here you just call it organizational structure,” she said. “This isn't very different to me.”

Burroughs said veterans can thrive in almost any job, regardless of the industry.

“All you've got to do is tell them what to get done and it gets done,” he said.