Event Rialto 2019

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Engineers See Bright Skies Ahead

While many industries remain subdued, and fears of a double dip recession hang over us, talent managers in the oil and gas industry are scouring the market for technical talent, with many recruiters finding that experienced technical professionals can ‘write their own tickets’ as the market regains strength. In fact, experienced professionals in the oil and gas industry tell us they have weathered the economic downturn better than most.

“Companies are contacting us again with great interest in finding their former employees. There is renewed priority on preparing for the upcoming skills gap. In addition, companies downsized, but are now finding new opportunities and some of the people who were let go will be well positioned to fill these new opportunities,” shares Cathy Clonts, President of AWS, which hosts a number of corporate alumni networks.

In a recent Alumni Web Services’ (AWS) survey of its online networking and alumni community members in the oil and gas industry, members were asked how their job satisfaction compared to the 2007 SPE survey where 73% of respondents were satisfied. AWS members’ responses remained consistent to the SPE survey; 43% percent report they are equally satisfied and a whopping 31% report a higher level of job satisfaction than before the economic downturn. This is good news compared with a recent Conference Board survey of job satisfaction levels in the U.S. According to the nationwide survey, only 45% of Americans were satisfied with their work—the lowest level recorded in 22 years of the survey.

Our Houston happy hour attracted a record crowd at Indigo Joe's. This lovely restaurant could not have been any more crowded during Super Bowl XLIV than it was February 4.  ARCO and Vastar alumni and spouses filled every spare space in the restaurant.  With the BP and ConocoPhillips offices just around the corner, there were a number of both companies represented, with BP still in the majority.  More and more of our members are working with the smaller independents and reviews were mixed about prospects in 2010, with many still struggling.

While companies may not yet have rebounded, individuals at the event kindly answered three survey questions showing that job satisfaction remains high even in this challenging environment.  While some members are looking for work or finding their current positions less challenging than they would prefer, the majority of members indicate their job satisfaction is the same or higher than before the economic downturn.

Reasons for increased satisfaction include; an increase in responsibilities or a promotion, undertaking a new assignment that gives more enjoyment, and simply remaining employed throughout the economic downturn and being appreciative of having a job!  Full survey results will be shared in a news item in March.

The complimentary drinks were enjoyed by all and a heartfelt thanks to our primary sponsor Advancial and to our cosponsors Noble Energy Inc. and St. Mary Land and Exploration.

Here are some of the pictures from our 2010 Houston event held at Indigo Joe's.  More pictures here in the photo gallery!

All smiles from our ARCO Alumni.

Enjoying a well beer with the game on the big screen.

Catching up over a glass of wine.

Signing in at the start of the evening.

More pictures here in the photo gallery!

Not long ago, ampm was a regional phenomenon. It all began back in 1978, when ARCO stations in southern California began tempting on-the-go consumers with food as well as fuel.

Nowadays, consumers around the country can fill their tanks and satisfy their appetites at ampm stores in places such as Chicago, Atlanta and Cincinnati. The ampm tagline, Too Much Good Stuff, describes the store’s unique vision: a “snack food theme park” where customers can indulge their taste buds.

Too Much Good Stuff goes east
The brand’s trek across the United States started in 2007, when BP decided to retool its convenience stores east of the Rockies. As part of that transformation, about 250 BP Connect and Wild Bean locations were converted to ampm locations.

That November, BP — which acquired ARCO in 2000 — announced that it would be selling more than 700 company-owned sites to franchisees as well as dealers and jobbers.

ARCO-branded ampm stores are found in the following states:

•    California
•    Nevada
•    Oregon
•    Washington
•    Arizona

BP-branded ampm stores are located in the following metropolitan areas:
•    Chicago
•    Indianapolis
•    Pittsburgh
•    Columbus, Ohio
•    Cleveland
•    Cincinnati
•    Atlanta
•    Orlando, Fla.

Consumers can also find ampm overseas. There are more than 1,800 ampm stores in Brazil and Japan.

Tasty offerings, edgy experience make ampm different
One way ampm stands apart from other convenience stores is its strong proprietary program. The store satisfies cravings with its private-label beverages, snacks and all day, every day choice of prepared foods. Besides warm fare such as hot dogs and hamburgers, ampm recently launched a hot breakfast menu with burritos, croissant sandwiches and empanadas.

ampm also offers customers a lively in-store experience. Quirky signage, bold packaging and upbeat background music greet ampm customers, appealing to several of their senses at once.

ampm in the headlines
Since starting the conversion to a franchise-based model, ampm has moved up the ranks of several franchise lists.

Franchise Times magazine, for example, ranked ampm at No. 29 on its list of the top 200 franchise systems for 2008 and 2009. Entrepreneur magazine listed ampm as No. 35 on its annual “Franchise 500” compilation for two years in a row.

Industry publications have also noted ampm’s success in whetting appetites across the country. Convenience Store Decisions magazine recapped the changes in an April 1, 2009, article titled “Focused on the Franchise.”

More good stuff on the way
As for what lies ahead, BP will continue to sell off its company-owned ampm locations through the end of 2009. Thirty years after its inception, ampm is now a national franchise stretching from coast to coast with a bright and exciting future!


ARCO Alumni gathered on a sunny evening at O’Malley’s on the Green in Anchorage where Kirk Barker tells me he summers and works as a marshal at the golf course in exchange for free golf several days a week. Kirk winters in Bellingham WA.

Pat Elverum tells us his daughter is also a member of ARCO alumni. Lynette Elverum was with Nortel most recently which was acquired by Erikson. In the IT/ engineering side of the business, according to Pat, “she followed in my footsteps and worked for ARCO not so much because I encouraged her as because of the fold with whom I worked. Of course, I discouraged her as I knew these guys better” laughed Elverum tongue in cheek. Elverum and Mattison traded name tags the entire evening and caught up with fellow IT folk including Russ Doig and Mack Padgett.

Russ says he literally crossed the street when he took the ARCO package and does at GCI what he did at ARCO. “I even have the same individuals working for me and now we provide the same service to BP and they outsource what we did internally at ARCO to us here at GCI”. GCI cosponsored the happy hour along with AWS and Advancial.

Talk was not just about the ARCO days- several watched baseball on the widescreen TV.  John Melvin, Dan Eck and Gerry Suellentrop were among those for St Louis and Mike Clonts as the only Dodger fan was sorry to see his team lose.

Dan Kruse now at COP tells us to visit and learn about his efforts to improve trails and Big Lake of course. Other attendees from COP included Dan Eck, John Melvin, Brian McClaskey and Mack Padgett.

Vicki Oliver is an outsourced service partner to BP providing data and documentation management through ASCI. Vicki was with ARCO for 21 years, 18 of those years in Facility Engineering at Prudhoe.

Other Alumni present included Wayne Swann from ASRC Energy Services, Frank Paskvan and Gordon Pospisil of BP and Nancy Hill who is now at UAA at the Institute of Social and Economic Research.

But what about Palin? One person said he knew there was a God when he was driving home and learned Palin was stepping down from Governor of AK one year early. Another ARCO alumnus however said he expects to see Palin win the Republican nomination and run against Obama in 2012. That was a bet Cathy Clonts was willing to take so we’ll see who is buying drinks at the reunion in 4 years! Most alumni were inclined to think the state was better off without Palin and felt the industry in particular had been dealt a heavy hand by Palin.

As the evening drew to a close our Anchorage Alumni vowed to stay in touch and with the promise of future events and a favourable football result (for most!) said goodbye.

Pictured below are photos of the event. Carol Padgett with Becky Schumacher are pictured top with Mack and Carol Padgett pictured below.

Kenneth Elmore, Wayne McBride and Kirk Barker are pictured top with Kirk Barker and Russ Doig pictured below.

Linda Petrie and Wayne Swann are below pictured top with Dennis Bickford and Pat Elverum pictured below.

Pictured below are Tom Brennan with his spouse Marni Brennan, Susan Andrews and Jim Posey.