When Elizabeth Gerbel started E.A.G. Services, she was told that a consulting firm specializing in upstream oil and gas was not a wise business move, but she disagreed. Gerbel, who founded McKinley Powell after graduating with her MBA, has seen her company expand over the past 19 years to provide consulting services and outsourcing services (through EAG 1Source) for hundreds of oil and gas organizations.
Throughout her career, she has seen the midstream and upstream sectors evolve through changes such as economic instability and the energy transition.
“I love the complexity of the industry and the ways that technology and data can drive competitiveness and profitability even with the volatility that we have been experiencing over the past eight years,” Gerbel said. “The industry has always been cyclical, but the economic factors impacting oil and gas since 2014 have been extreme. Being part of an industry that never gives up and keeps finding ways to succeed is highly motivating. I want to do my part to drive that success.”
Entering the industry
“My first opportunity to work in energy came early in my career when I was part of Halliburton’s SAP implementation team. Later in my career, I was hired to help select and implement an upstream oil and gas accounting system. The complexity of the industry appealed to me. Since that first upstream project, I have been immersed in the industry, and I learn new aspects of the business every day.”
Projects across the world
“My career has been blessed with some incredible opportunities. For one of our clients, I had the opportunity to travel from Houston to Baku, Azerbaijan, to Jakarta, Indonesia, and to Bakersfield, California. In each location, I learned about the unique drilling programs, production operations and business requirements. On other projects, we assisted startup oil and gas companies design their technical infrastructure, select and negotiate their software licenses and implement all of their systems and interfaces within the span of six months or less. Those projects were crazy fast, but when we finished, a company existed where before there had only been a few members of the management team. Being part of the birth of a company is an amazing experience.”
THREE MORE THINGS
Trailblazing upstream consulting
“When I first started E.A.G., I just wanted to prove that the company I envisioned could be both profitable and valuable to the industry. Many people told me that there was no room for a consulting firm that specialized in upstream oil and gas, which was our focus 19 years ago. It took years to achieve repeat business and become known as a consulting organization that could be relied upon to execute complex projects successfully. Now I envision E.A.G. becoming a cornerstone of the industry where we assist our clients in achieving their strategic and operational goals on a day-to-day basis in addition to leading and executing their complex special projects. We are dedicated to being there to support our clients regardless of commodity prices and changing market forces.”
“I consider myself successful in navigating through the trifecta of male domination: consulting, IT and energy. Early in my career, I focused on doing the best job that I could and learning as much as I could while ignoring behaviors that were inappropriate or misogynistic. I picked my battles and stood up for myself and earned my colleagues’ and clients’ respect. It was clear to me, even early in my career, that the world was changing, even for oil and gas. Now my clients are focused on building diversity into their workforces and creating organizations that their daughters would want to join. It is not perfect, but we have come a long way in the last 20 years.”
“My clients are focused on building diversity into their workforces and creating organizations that their daughters would want to join.”—Elizabeth Gerbel
Advice for young professionals
“The energy industry is not disappearing. It is maturing, and we need top talent to design and implement new business models that align with changing global requirements and demands. Young professionals who can identify new solutions to generate financial health, minimize environmental impacts and maximize competitiveness in the face of commodity volatility are essential. For those who enjoy learning and solving complex problems, this industry can provide a career full of amazing opportunity.”
Click here for a full list of “25 Influential Women in Energy” honorees for 2022.
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