Congratulations Mr. Tillerson: Safety First

 

Dear Mr. Tillerson,

As an ExxonMobil employee of 33 years (now retired) I am proud to see you selected and approved as the Secretary of State of the United States.

You may not remember me, but I remember you. Around the year 2000, when you were Executive VP of ExxonMobil Development Company, I was part of a team that presented a well to you that we were preparing to drill in Angola. I showed up early to the meeting and to my surprise, you were in the room. As I walked in the room,  you stood up, introduced yourself to me, and shook my hand. We exchanged pleasantries and you proceeded to put me at ease with a delightful personal discussion.

When I heard that you were nominated for the position of SoS, I was not only proud that a fellow XOM employee was recognized for so great a mission, but I knew that President Trump had picked the right man. You confirmed that for me today, when you addressed your State Department team, and told them that the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning is the safety of your employees. That was music to my ears.

It was always that way during my career at ExxonMobil. As you well know, safety is a culture that is developed, not a slogan that is easily bandied about. Whether it was continual abandon ship drills or fire drills on deepwater offshore rigs, or being met with an armor-plated van in Lagos, Nigeria, or a wellsite that was guarded by anti-aircraft guns in Mozambique, or evacuating us safely from a coup in Chad, or ensuring we had the latest anti-malarial meds, or continually hammering us to take these principles home and share them with our family, Exxon always had our back.

I hope your new team understands that when you talk about their safety; and having their back, that you mean what you say.

Good luck sir.

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There are 24 comments.

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  1. harrisventures Coolidge
    harrisventures
    @harrisventures

    Great post Scott.

    It gives me more confidence in Rex Tillerson. I think he’ll make a great Secretary of State.

    • #1
  2. Johnnie Alum 13 Inactive
    Johnnie Alum 13
    @JohnnieAlum13

    The crucial start to changing the climate at State.

    Good Luck, Secretary Tillerson!

    I have a friend that has branded him Rexon.

    • #2
  3. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    ^Like

    • #3
  4. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Thank’s Scott. I felt he was a good choice, but now I know he was the best choice.

    • #4
  5. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    I’m eager to see what Sec. Tillerson does as well as Trump. The complexity of mineral resource exploration and extraction worldwide is the kind of experience most people at the State Dept. have no clue about. This could be a real breath of fresh air.

    In reconsidering my assumptions and biases this past contentious year, it may be just what is needed on the world stage: not a ideological, America hating  appeaser like Obama/Kerry, nor a fight. fight. fight, invade & arm outlook of too many of the foreign policy establishment on ‘The Right’.

    An American businessman that knows how to open markets, and power this world with an essential resource – this could be really successful.

    • #5
  6. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    A great post, Scott, and a fine story. There are so many times when we peer behind the curtain of how someone presents himself or herself–John Kerry’s imperious “Don’t you know who I am?”–and it’s always a pleasure to find out that such-and-such a big shot is actually a human being in real life, not a cardboard cut-out in a nice suit. It must be admitted that sometimes on our side of the aisle we forget that diplomats can be more than cardboard cut-outs in striped pants. Good luck to the new Secretary.

    • #6
  7. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Thanks to all who have kindly commented. At the church I attend in my hometown, I have an XOM colleague/friend who was an early (if not the first) aide-de-camp to Mr. Tillerson when he became CEO. I enjoy teasing my friend that he needs to keep his head down or he will be drawn into the swamp when Mr. Tillerson fills his staff.

    • #7
  8. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    It’s nice to see first hand accounting about this admirable man.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Thanks for this added dimension of the man, Scott. I always appreciate first-hand experience. I think he’ll be great in the job.

    • #9
  10. captainpower Inactive
    captainpower
    @captainpower

    The only other things I heard about him were how close he was to Putin.

    Thanks for sharing another side.

    Time will tell.

    • #10
  11. Eb Snider Inactive
    Eb Snider
    @EbSnider

    Yes, in the industry the word “Safety” gets used a lot and frequently it is a policy on a paper, but not a real practice when it’s not convenient. Or in cases people can get black balled or “run off” as they say in the oil biz for bringing up a serious issue that is problematic. I never worked for Exxon, but I have worked in the industry and dealt with numerous operators (the term used for an Oil&Gas company in the industry). Exxon has the reputation as the best project execution company and professionally run company. Exxon is known has harder working than Shell it closest rival. When the Deep Water Horizon burned in the Gulf Rex Tillerson was impressive in the Senate hearings. From my viewing Tillerson from afar I always thought him to be straight forward, sober, and competent. He didn’t dance around the issues. I think he was the best Oil CEO of the recent lot. I was pleased to hear his confirmation as SoS and think he’ll be good. I don’t think people should buy into this hysteria around him.

    • #11
  12. JLocked Inactive
    JLocked
    @CrazyHorse

    Nice post. As a Texan I’m required by law to approve of Mr. Tillerson. There was a great article about him just recently in Texas Monthly  written by someone who had Jury Duty with him. Touching story and made me feel much better about his appointment.

    • #12
  13. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Feels like the adults are back in charge.

    Thanks for sharing Scott.

    • #13
  14. 555DBF Member
    555DBF
    @

    No one else is going to comment on armor plated vans and wells guarded by anti-aircraft weapons?

    Exxon corporate structure seems to really care about their people and their safety – think out of the box and have their lawyers and insurance  brokers under control–they do what it takes to both get the product and minimize the substantial risks their employees take to make it all work. Glad to know there are still large American corporations with that attitude.

    • #14
  15. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    BP went to a supposed Green strategy, with a flower logo and new governance structure.  They had Deepwater Horizon and the perpetually exploding BP Texas City refinery.  Here’s a video about their refinery safety culture:

    ExxonMobil has kept out of the CSB’s sights – pretty remarkable given how dangerous oil refining is.  Glad to hear that kind of care is in the State Department.

    • #15
  16. captainpower Inactive
    captainpower
    @captainpower

    JLocked (View Comment):
    There was a great article about him just recently in Texas Monthly written by someone who had Jury Duty with him. Touching story and made me feel much better about his appointment.

    Couldn’t find an article like that on Texasmonthly.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Atexasmonthly.com+%22jury+duty%22+%22tillerson%22

    Perhaps were you thinking of this one?

    http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2016/12/23/learned-exxon-ceo-rex-tillerson-spending-week-jury-duty

    (found link in a comment on 2016-12-23 on texasmonthly article)

    • #16
  17. Eb Snider Inactive
    Eb Snider
    @EbSnider

    555DBF (View Comment):
    No one else is going to comment on armor plated vans and wells guarded by anti-aircraft weapons?

    Well, major oil companies have operations in some very dangerous areas. In certain places workers must live in walled armed compounds. BP and Statoil pulled out operations personnel in Algeria due to armed attacks for instance. Foreign oil workers can be targets for kidnapping and there are health issues when traveling to certain areas that require vaccines and emergency medical treatment plans.

    • #17
  18. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Here’s Sec’y Tillerson speaking yesterday at State:

    https://youtu.be/vTDP1mbr89o?t=11m5s

    • #18
  19. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    “The first thing I ask myself when I wake in the morning is, Are all of our people safe?”

    From Tillerson’s speech at State. Well called, Scott.

    • #19
  20. Goldwater's Revenge Inactive
    Goldwater's Revenge
    @GoldwatersRevenge

    What a great feeling to have a serious, competent adult as SOS. James Taylor, your services will no longer be needed.

     

    • #20
  21. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Thanks for sharing that video CB. The State Department again has a leader.

    • #21
  22. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    Thanks for sharing that video CB. The State Department again has a leader.

    No more of this:

    Image result for john kerry james taylor

    Hallelujah!!

    • #22
  23. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    He seems like a sharp guy who knows how to lead.  I think he’ll do great.

    • #23
  24. Johnnie Alum 13 Inactive
    Johnnie Alum 13
    @JohnnieAlum13

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    Here’s Sec’y Tillerson speaking yesterday at State:

    The grown-ups are indeed in charge again.

    • #24
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