Q & A with Shareholder Employees

A Conversation with Clayton Gooden, Project Controls Lead at NANA WorleyParsons

This is part of a series of interviews with NANA’s shareholder-employees.

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Clayton Gooden, a NANA shareholder, is a member of the project controls team at NANA WorleyParsons.  NANA WorleyParsons is a 50/50 partnership between NANA Development Corporation and Australia-based WorleyParsons LTD. Photo by Brian Adams, a NANA shareholder.

 

How long have you been with NANA WorleyParsons?

Two years this month. In that time, a lot has happened in our industry. The decline in the price of oil has changed the way we do business, causing us to redefine job roles and to be more agile.

What is your job?

I’m a member of the project controls team at NANA WorleyParsons. I’m responsible for monitoring and controlling costs and schedules on our portfolio of projects. A lot of versatility is expected. Saying that “it’s not my job” is not an option.

How did you come to work for NANA WorleyParsons?

I received a phone call, unsolicited, when I was in Canada working for Fluor (a multinational engineering and construction firm). I always assumed that someday I would work for a NANA company, I just never expected “someday” to be now.

Where did you work before coming to NANA WorleyParsons?

I’ve worked on projects in Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and a “working holiday” in Iraq.

What did you learn from rotational shift work?

You need to plan for obsolescence and willingly train your replacements. Several countries view expats as instructors with which to grow their workforce, so on future work they can be self-sufficient.

What did you do on your time off?

I made the most of my time off, traveling extensively—taking in many new cultures around the world.  

Where did you study or train?

I earned a bachelor’s degree in international finance from the University of Alaska Anchorage. After finishing college, I moved to Thailand. I taught scuba diving for about a year, until I was called to return to Alaska to work for VECO, where I had worked as an intern. While taking a company-sponsored Primavera P3 scheduling course, I offered my services for a recently-awarded contract in Sakhalin Russia, north of Japan. 

I am currently earning my MBA (Master of Business Administration) at Alaska Pacific University. I’m about halfway through the program.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Fairbanks. My parents (Clyde and Dianne Gooden) both grew up in Fairbanks, and moved our family down to Anchorage in ’87. My paternal grandmother is from the NANA region.

Where did your love of travel come from?

My parents took us on many vacations and camping trips, as often as we could afford it. Then my mother got a job at an airline, so we were able to jump on a plane to points unknown. I’d fly to Chicago to catch a baseball game, or Seattle to catch a concert. I believe these were the roots of my wanderlust.

What are your favorite travel destinations?

I have seen enough of the world that I can tailor my answer to the audience. But two places I often recommend are Iceland and Alaska.

Who has inspired you?

My (maternal) grandparents (Audley and Jeanne Folsom). They both had that old-school, Depression-era work ethic. They taught me never to expect handouts or a free ride, and to go out and earn my own way. I still fully believe in that.

When they were not working, I loved just hanging out with them, learning things, and playing music. My grandfather enjoyed singing and playing the guitar.

What was your first job?

At 14, I was a tool boy for my grandfather. He was a carpenter throughout his life, a 40-year member of the Carpenters Union. His work ethic rubbed off on me. As he grew older, I studied under his guidance and fetched whatever tool or material was out of his reach.

What is your first memory of NANA?

I have always known about NANA. In school, I learned about Willie Hensley (and his fight for Native land rights). I also knew about NANA from working up here (for VECO).

Although I always knew I would come back to Alaska, I never contemplated what my role or function would be.

What advice do you have for young shareholders?

Work hard. If you do a job well, your work speaks for itself. Put in a full day’s work. If you do a good job, good things will happen. And again, don’t expect anything to be handed to you—earn it.

Any other on-the-job advice?

Because we are an engineering contractor, we try to ensure that everything I do is billable. So, always give 100 percent. Don’t slack off because it is 3:00 on a Friday. Finish your work today, and move that work along, to stay on target.

Become a leader not a manager. Communicate, ask questions. Remember we are usually part of a team.  

What do you want people to know about NANA?

It’s beneficial to have strong partners. (NANA WorleyParsons is owned 50/50 by NANA and Australia-based WorleyParsons.) We work from both companies’ strengths. I believe in NANA’s potential; it is one of the main reasons I chose to return when I did.  We still have some growing pains to get through, but the future is bright.

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Clayton Gooden was interviewed by Carol Richards, Director of Brand Communications for NANA Development Corporation.