Q & A with Shareholder Employees
Anchorage, AK April 18, 2016
A Conversation with Eric Billingsley, Director of Operations for NANA Oilfield Services
This is part of a series of interviews with NANA’s shareholder-employees
Eric Billingsley, a NANA shareholder, runs the day-to-day operations for NOSI. Photo by Brian Adams, a NANA shareholder.
What is your Iñupiaq name?
Utraq. I’m named after my great-grandfather, Jack Jones from Kotzebue.
What is your current job?
I’m the director of operations for NANA Oilfield Services, Inc. (NOSI). I’ve been in this role since last fall.
What does NOSI do?
We sell fuel, lubricants, and potable water on the North Slope and at Red Dog Mine. We operate 24/7 in extreme and remote environs, to keep our clients running.
On the Slope, we have a 1.2-million-gallon tank farm and a six-bay operations facility. We purchase most of our fuel from Fairbanks and then truck it up the Haul Road to resell it. Depending on the weather, it may be a 14-hour trip, or longer, each way. We move fuel to the Slope year-round, but the bulk of it is delivered from December to April.
We deliver fuel to Red Dog on barges, typically between May and June. So, it’s generally the opposite season from the Slope. On the Slope, we’re the only full-service Chevron distributor.
What are your main job responsibilities?
I run the day-to-day operations, while Brad (Osborne, the president of NOSI) is helping out at the corporate level. I’m working on the frontlines, to help make sure that we generate revenue and income.
I visit customers and maintain vendor relationships. I work with our team to prepare bid packages to win new contracts. And when we win the work, I make sure the staffing levels are right, so we can deliver our products and services.
What do you like about this job?
I like seeing benefits to our parent company and to our employees, especially in shareholder hire and development. It’s rewarding to see the impact we can make.
What are the challenges?
With the downturn in the oil industry, we need to respond appropriately. We have to determine the right resources to meet our customers’ needs.
Where did you grow up?
My dad, Jim Billingsley, is from Texas. He met my mom, Deb (Jones) Billingsley, in Kotzebue, where he was stationed in the Air Force. I was born in Texas and we followed his military career to Fairbanks, Maryland, then Anchorage, where we’ve spent the most time.
What was your first job?
In high school, I had a dishwasher job for just two weeks. They wanted me to work long hours, which interfered with school. After that, I got a job at Safeway, stocking shelves and bagging groceries. I met a lot of folks, and the hours fit in better with my school schedule.
Tell us about someone who encouraged you to work at NANA.
Back in the early 2000s, one of my high school teachers was working part-time at NANA in the IT department. In 2001, he got me involved at an entry level. I learned a great deal, during that year and a half, working on servers, enterprise wireless technology, and troubleshooting.
How long have you been with NANA?
Next month, it’ll be eight years. I started in IT and managed the enterprise application team. Then I moved to project management, before taking on a business analyst role in our treasury department. I monitored our cash position, reviewed financial statements, and some of our debt obligations.
What’s your first memory of NANA?
When we moved back to Anchorage, Mom first had a temp job at NANA’s original Harding Drive location, in an old warehouse behind Spenard Builders Supply. It’s literally across the street from where I work today. It’s a reminder of where NANA came from and all that we can achieve.
Who has inspired you?
My mom and dad both inspired me with their ethics. They taught me the value of hard work, and that nothing is given to you. Nothing worth having comes easily. Don’t leave it to luck. Ultimately, the harder you work, the luckier you get. Basically, do your job.
The hard work component is the biggest thing. My mom is always the first one at work and the last one to leave. My dad was the same way. (He’s now retired.)
You have to make sacrifices. Would you rather be outside biking or inside hitting books? The hard work pays off. Keep plugging away. It’ll pay off in every aspect of your life.
What are important lessons that you have learned?
If you put in the effort, you’ll be given opportunities to succeed. But it takes all parties to put that in motion.
Be prepared and ready to step into new positions and situations. Accept the challenges willingly.
You have to believe you can do it. Make a commitment to try your best.
Tell us about your volunteer efforts.
When I was about eight or nine years old, my dad and I delivered wrapped Christmas presents to military families who needed an extra boost. That’s probably where it started.
For a couple of years, my brother, Craig, and I co-chaired NANA’s United Way campaign. It was doubly nice—to give back and to share that experience with Craig.
Today, I serve on the board of Camp Fire Alaska (with my work colleague, Yuliya Mitchell). Camp Fire has a big impact here in Anchorage, and across the state, including in our (NANA) region. Other Camp Fire programs are Camp K’s Operation Purple for military kids.
From volunteering, I’ve learned that the more you put in, the more you get back. You can give more than you think.
What advice do you have for young shareholders?
It can be a juggling act. Work, school, family.
I went straight to work, and having work experience is great, but finishing school is also important. It opens up more opportunities.
Where did you go to school?
The University of Alaska Anchorage. I should graduate next spring with a bachelor’s degree in finance.
What do you like the most about working for NANA?
I like the family atmosphere. No matter which company you work for, you get the sense that it is a family. We’re in this together, and we’re pulling together.
I like the people I work with. We all come to work, and we all want to do a good job. We lift each other up and we are lifted.
What has surprised you most about working at NANA?
The diversity, in all areas: people, different lines of business, and geographic locations. There’s always something new to learn.
What’s the best thing that has happened?
For me? My development. I’ve grown so much. I’ve been able to get my education, while working in different situations with a lot of different people.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
My dad’s side of the family has a rich history, especially in Texas. “Remember the Alamo!” was first said by my ancestor, Captain Jesse Billingsley, when he heard that his friend, Davy Crockett, had been killed. We’re able to trace our family history back to Francis Billingsley, who arrived in America (from England) prior to 1649.
Did you play sports?
I played baseball when I was younger. I even made a few All-Star teams. From that, I learned it’s not just about you, it’s about the team. No one person can do it on their own.
Eric Billingsley was interviewed by Carol Richards, Director of Brand Communications for NANA Development Corporation.
To learn more about NOSI: http://www.nanaoilfield.com/