GRAND OPENING: Limiting booms, bustsWeatherford opens technology super center to increase cross training

Throughout history, the oil industry has experienced plenty of booms and busts.

Mark Swift, the president of Weatherford’s Western Hemisphere, believes with the opening the company’s technology super center that it will eliminate extreme peaks and valleys.

On Thursday morning, Weatherford hosted a ribbon cutting for the grand opening of its Oilfield Technology Super Center in Odessa.

“For me, it’s about managing the ups and downs,” Swift said. “The bane of our industry is these cycles where we can’t find people and then we let good people go. When we have everyone in one facility, we can cross-train them.

“If one part of your business is starting to taper off, you can take some of the people from that segment and put them with another part of your business that is still buoyant and busy.

“I want to get away from these boom-and-bust cycles that the industry is in. It certainly applies to personnel.”

Ellen Chin, Weatherford’s senior vice president and chief human resource officer, said the company has nine buildings at its location at 702 S. Faudree Road, but she explained there’s room to add seven more workshops.

Weatherford had 743 employees in the Odessa office as of Thursday morning and Chin explained there were more than 80 jobs available that range from being in the field to administrative roles.

The company operates in more than 80 countries with 700 locations and employs more than 26,500 people, a Weatherford press release stated.

Chin said the ability to have many employees under one roof allows for easier training.

“The biggest opportunity that we have here is talent and being able to grow our talent,” Chin said. “Whatever product you are working on, your specialty here, you are working next to someone who had a different technology slant. To work next to each other, you can start cross training.”

One employee that has risen up the ranks at Weatherford is Gabriel Urias from Odessa.

He is currently in technical sales, but started eight years ago as a tool hand. He moved to field sales and then to his current position. Urias said the technology center will give Weatherford’s customers the opportunity to see the company’s services first hand before it comes out to their rig site.

Urias said Weatherford provides equipment for West Virginia, California, New Mexico and South Texas. He estimates about 95 percent of the equipment that Weatherford works on stays in the Permian Basin.

“Our job as a tool hand is the insurance for this equipment,” Urias said while explaining the company’s bucking systems. “If it doesn’t work properly, it’s not the customer’s fault, it’s ours.”