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PESA High Performer Spotlight: Chip Zay, Inside Sales Manager, AFGlobal

Chip Zay

Chip Zay, Inside Sales Manager, AFGlobal Corp.

What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?
Living and growing up in Houston, I was given exposure to the oil and gas industry at an early age and had always been drawn to the fast-paced, entrepreneurial spirit of those in the business. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to join AFGlobal, a company with a diverse footprint in oil and gas, and did not hesitate to take it.

What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
My notions about what exactly the oil and gas industry is have been greatly transformed by my work in it over the past several years. I have gained a great appreciation for the complexities of the vast number of organizations and operations that comprise the industry’s value chain.

What have you found to be the most surprising thing about the industry?
The careful precision with which projects are designed and engineered is something that I did not have exposure to prior to my work at AFGlobal. Working at a manufacturing organization that is tasked with following the intricately developed specifications designed by the end users of our products has given me a sense of how much work goes towards ensuring our industry is operating in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?
Being exposed to the lows and the cyclical nature of the industry early on in my career and learning how to manage a commercial group in the face of reduced margins has certainly been a challenge. That said, I believe the adversity we face as a result of the volatility of our sector is something that prepares us to be able to quickly adapt to change and manage the challenges caused by it.

Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
I would like to see a continued focus on technological innovation, through data and analytics. I believe these recent trends are focuses that will allow all of us in this industry to continue to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and improve lead times through the different stages of the value chain.

What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
I hope to continue to work with my peers to identify innovations that will allow our industry to provide increasingly efficient solutions to consumers across the oil and gas industry. As a manager, I also hope to be available to develop the next wave of industry talent and prepare them to shape its growth in a positive manner.

How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals?
Being a part of PESA has allowed me to connect with an incredible network of talented, hard-working individuals who are invested not only in the long-term sustainability of our industry, but also in helping one another advance their goals. The mentoring and advice I have received from fellow members has been invaluable.

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry and how they’ve impacted your thinking.
I work daily with our distribution and procurement clients to satisfy their diverse needs, and that has provided me the opportunity to change the way I think about being prepared to satisfy the demands of the market on any given day. Being able to be flexible and think “outside-the-box” in order to assemble a plan to meet unexpected needs is a valuable skill that I have gained.

What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry?
I am excited for the growth opportunities for all of us in this industry as we continue to cycle out of the most recent downturn. The ability to work collaboratively with both clients and friends to achieve goals and provide solutions to other members of the industry, all while the market is getting healthier, is something I am looking forward to.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?
There are a diverse range of opportunities available to those who come in and strive to learn and grow. Be open-minded, endeavor to learn all that you can in any opportunity, and don’t let the cyclical nature of this business discourage you from taking on a career in this sector.

What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
I wish the public understood the industry’s focus on safety and environmental concerns. Now, more than ever, oil and gas companies are going to great lengths to make sure that the projects they are executing are not only safe for their employees, but also environmentally sound. This is not something I fully appreciated prior to my involvement in the industry. However, my current role involves working with refineries and pipeline constructors, and I have been exposed first-hand to the lengths these companies are going to ensure their products are designed with these priorities in mind.