Distinguished speaker shares strategy for success during downturns
SUGAR LAND – People who work in the oil and natural gas industry are used to the constant cycle of boom and bust, and their experiences can offer a valuable perspective for professionals in any field.
That was the message shared by Roger Pinkerton, president of R. Pinkerton Consulting LP, in his presentation Monday as part of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Business Administration Distinguished Speaker Series. He spoke at UH Sugar Land, where UHV offers many business degrees.
“Mr. Pinkerton’s presentation offered UHV School of Business Administration students, faculty and staff an important look into the methods used by people who know how to equip themselves for success,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the school. “His personal experience lends weight and a valuable perspective to an already engaging presentation.”
The business world can resemble riding a roller coaster, Pinkerton said during his presentation. Every industry has its ups and downs, and the trick is to create a strategy. The people who succeed are usually those who plan ahead during the good times so they can continue to push forward during the downturns.
Pinkerton’s use of humor and comparisons to a ride that can be seen as either entertaining or scary helped communicate his message, said Stephanie Solansky, a UHV associate professor of management and chair of the School of Business Administration Management & Marketing Department. At one point, he used a slide depicting a roller coaster car with no track to demonstrate the effect of shock on people riding an economic roller coaster.
“He really emphasized the importance of people pushing themselves and seeking out personal development opportunities,” Solansky said. “People who sharpen their skills and know how to manage complex situations make themselves indispensable in the workplace. Students have to understand the importance of doing more than just the bare minimum.”
One skill essential to an employee’s success in weathering hard times is the ability to be a bridge builder, Pinkerton said. Reaching out to others and making professional connections sounds easy to some, but it’s actually a difficult and important skill to master. Whether it’s conflicts between departments, difficulties with outside resources or just clashes of personalities, the ability to overcome these issues is essential.
Pinkerton has more than 37 years of experience in the oil field industry. He’s worked for companies including Conoco-Philips, Marathon Oil and Canadian International Oil Corp. He currently serves on the board of directors for Hawkwood Energy and also as an advisor to Warburg & Pincus. He eventually chose to start his own consulting firm, R. Pinkerton Consulting LP. He was invited to take part in the Distinguished Speaker Series through a professional connection with Jay Muzumdar, a UHV graduate student pursuing his Strategic Master of Business Administration in finance.
Muzumdar met Pinkerton three years ago and they struck up a friendship over common interests in the oil and gas industry. After observing the recent slump in oil field activity in the area, Muzumdar thought UHV business students could benefit from hearing Pinkerton share his knowledge and experience in surviving in the industry.
“He is well respected in the industry and is highly connected after decades of working with some of the biggest names and companies,” said Muzumdar, director of business development at Ameritas Technologies. “I knew his knowledge and perspective would be invaluable for students just getting started or trying to improve their careers through education.”
Since 2011, the UHV School of Business Administration Distinguished Speaker Series has brought in area executives to discuss contemporary business issues. Past speakers have included Heber Lacerda, president and CEO of Regency Post-Acute Healthcare System Inc.; Richard Davis, Chief Operating Officer of Katalyst Data Management; Phyllis Saathoff, deputy executive director of corporate affairs for the Port of Houston Authority; and Ron Canion, co-founder and former CEO of Compaq Computer Corp.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.