Gulf Coast Section Initiative Helps Members Between Jobs

A new initiative by the SPE Gulf Coast Section is helping out-of-work members find jobs and is bringing entrepreneurial ideas into fruition.

The Members in Transition program was created earlier this year in response to the industry downturn and encompasses several areas of activity.

Seminar Series. The series covers a range of topics of interest to SPE members who are transitioning between jobs or who may wish to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions by starting their own business. The first seminar was “How to Start Your Own Business,” and additional topics are scheduled monthly for the rest of the year. Other topics in the series include “Intellectual Property for Startups,” “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution,” and “An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Attracting Startup Capital.”

Ideas Launch Pad. The Ideas Launch Pad is intended to help those who have entrepreneurial ideas that could be candidates for funding and an eventual launch as a commercial business. Ideas that have technical and commercial merit are recommended to the Houston Technology Center (HTC), a business incubator. The owners of these ideas make a presentation to the technology center’s Energy Advisory Group as part of a review process that, if successful, will culminate in becoming an HTC client. This will qualify the new companies to benefit from the HTC incubation process aimed at securing angel or venture capital funding. Clients of HTC are also eligible to apply for one-time funding of USD 25,000 from the McNair Foundation.

Four ideas are currently progressing through the HTC process that cover the areas of enhanced oil recovery, drilling technology, real-time drilling decision making, and airborne facility monitoring, said Ivor R. Ellul, past chairman of the SPE Gulf Coast Section.

Software Training and Short-Term Access. The initiative has encouraged several software vendors to provide in-kind support by allowing unemployed SPE members access to proprietary industry software. Companies such as Halliburton, DrillingInfo, and OGRE are providing free training classes and term access to their software to help members develop new skills, an essential activity for those seeking employment in the energy industry.

Member Resources. The initiative promotes SPE member resources that are available for those who are in career ­transition and/or who are considering entrepreneurial opportunities. These can be found at: Examples include dues waivers, an insurance program, access to job banks, the SPE ­Competency Management Tool, and the SPE Members in ­Transition Toolkit. Links to many of these resources can be found at­members/transition. Additional resources can be found at the Gulf Coast Section website:

“We have made tremendous progress on the [Members in Transition] initiative thanks to the excellent work of C. Susan Howes and the Transition leadership team,” said Ellul.


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