Who I am and why I am here
My wife and I live in River Oaks located in Houston. Our adult daughters, their husbands, and our young grandchildren all live in Texas (Houston, Dallas). We own an oil and gas and safety/litigation consulting business, in addition to a small oil and gas operation (with our own drilling rigs and related equipment). I am an optimist and hands-on. I just finished designing, building, and drilling a well with a new top-drive drilling rig near San Angelo, Texas. My wife worked in the creative side of advertising, is a children's book author and illustrator, and is active in community work. I help her with projects, such as hosting a garden party for the Houston Symphony during the fall of 2017. We are also jointly chairing the Houston Grand Opera annual Concert of Arias event in February 2018.
I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania about 10 miles from the Drake Well, which is the first oil well in the United States, 1859. We lived on a farm in the suburbs of a town of 750 people. We raised corn and oats; had Hereford cattle; and operated other businesses (e.g., sand and gravel, construction, timber, oil and gas). I am a third generation oil and gas operator and driller. My 93-year-old father--also a Petroleum Engineer and a Pennsylvania oil and gas industry regulator for many years--still operates oil wells. My father also has an oil and gas, farming, and timber industry museum where people young and old come to learn the history of those industries, or to rekindle memories from preserved artifacts that they associate with their younger lives in the area.
I am an Eagle Scout and Vigil Order of the Arrow. I participated in high school sports, hunting and fishing, 4H Club, Key Club, Model United Nations, and church activities (Presbyterian).
I had the benefit of learning by example from a hard-working and fairly accomplished family that never gave up--progressing while learning to overcome and defeat difficult tasks and adversity along the way. Work in the oilfield, on the farm, and in the woods was considered "Saturday recreation" by my father and grandfather starting when I was about 15 years old. My grandfathers worked in oil and gas, farming, and construction. My father and six of my uncles on both sides of the family were in the military, starting in WWII through the Vietnam Era. My father survived a torpedoed troopship in the English Channel on Christmas Eve 1944 (SS Leopoldville). One uncle was a test pilot; he died in 1953 while flying the Bell X-2 rocket plane. Other uncles were a college professor and computer innovator, truck drivers, welders, or career military. One of my sisters retired as the president of a division of a major defense contractor; another sister was a small-county Pennsylvania District Attorney. My third sister is a Registered Nurse, as was our mother. My brothers were in the oil and gas and timber businesses in Pennsylvania. One of our daughters works with contracts for a major defense contractor in Dallas, and our other two daughters earned doctorate degrees and now work as researchers in Houston.
After earning a degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Penn State in 1972, I immediately began six years of National Guard service (Honorable Discharge in August 1978). Work after college progressed at Marathon Oil Company, Home Petroleum Corporation, and then my own businesses starting in 1981 when I was 31 years old. I have built several businesses in consulting, staffing/personnel, safety/training, welding/fabrication, and for oil and gas drilling, production, pipeline, and field operations. I started working in Texas around 1973 and have continuously lived in Houston since 1977. I have hired and employed several hundred people over the years in our several businesses. I am a Professional Engineer in Texas and a Certified Safety Professional. I went to law school part time and at night until I graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1979. I am a member (inactive as I do not practice law) of the State Bar of Texas.