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Executive Q&A: Halliburton executive Eric Williams is serving fourth stint in Oklahoma

Eric Williams, midcontinent area vice president for Halliburton, oversees about 2,500 employees who provide more than 400 clients with oil-field services.
by Paula Burkes Published: April 14, 2013
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Q: So you started your career as a teacher?

A: Yes. I taught for two years at separate schools in central Illinois and, to make ends meet, coached (track, basketball, baseball and wrestling), drove a school bus and worked summers assembling radiators on a manufacturing line. By that time, our older son was born, and Jan stayed home with him. She didn't start her teaching and counseling career until our two sons were both in school.

Q: What was your entry into the oil and gas industry?

A: My introduction to the field came through a friend of my father-in-law's, who owned adjacent property to him on a lake in Kentucky and then worked and lived in Oklahoma City. I'd told my father-in-law that I, after realizing there was very little compensation in teaching and coaching, was considering changing careers. I started out as a drilling fluids engineer for Baroid Drilling Fluids sampling well sites in southern Illinois.

Q: You've moved and traveled all over the place with Halliburton. Give us a quick overview.

A: From Illinois, where I joined the company, we moved soon after to central Michigan for a year; then to Watonga for three years; then a few years in Great Bend, Kan., where I was promoted to district engineer and my sales career took off; to Tulsa for a few years; and then to executive sales in Dallas. After some five years there, I served my first stint in Oklahoma City as a sales manager, back to Dallas and then onto Houston to Halliburton's North American headquarters. The company has a second headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. We moved here from Dallas, where we've been based the longest, about 15 years total. Internationally, I've traveled to Trinidad, Canada and Argentina, where Jan once accompanied me during one of her teaching spring breaks.

Q: I understand Halliburton is constructing a new facility in El Reno. Can you tell us a little about that?

A: We're building several multipurpose facilities on 80 acres a half-mile west of Banner Road north of Interstate 40 and south of Highway 66. When they open in mid-2014, they will house many of the employees who, at various leased spaces across the metro, work in Sperry Drilling Services; Halliburton Completion Tools; cementing, fracturing and other services. Engineers based there will be able to observe, in real time, 15 to 25 operations. We also expect to add staff; we‘ve hired several hundred per year over the past five. The beauty is we'll be across the street from the Canadian County Technology Center, so we hope to have a workforce right there.

Q: Your younger son, Worth, is employed by Halliburton. What's it like working for the same company?

A: It's fun. He works in sales in the Dallas area, and is calling on customers I used to call on. The oil and gas business is like a small fraternity.

by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

Position: Halliburton, midcontinent area vice president

Birth date: May 7, 1952

Family: Wife, Jan; sons Ryan and Worth, both of Dallas; daughters-in-law Courtney and Deidra; grandchildren Tanner, 5, and Ella, 3, who call their grandfather “Big E.;” and Beau, their 1-year-old standard poodle

Education: Eastern Illinois University, bachelor of science in education

Pastimes: bimonthly golf games, typically at industry functions; hunting quail with his father in southern Illinois; and Thunder basketball.

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