Danny Yick

Senior Director of Corporate A&D, ConocoPhillips Co., Houston

With the vision of creating an industry safe enough for his daughter, Danny Yick works to include diversity and representation in oil and gas. He believes that representation and creating stakeholder value are not mutually exclusive concepts and hopes the industry will build upon the progress it has already made.

Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?

“Growing up in Calgary, the energy industry is a major part of the Canadian economy. I had an interest in mathematics and sciences, so I chose engineering. At first, I did not know what type of engineering I wanted to major in, but I enjoyed the chemical and petroleum course the most in my first year, so I decided to focus my major toward that specialization.”

Describe a memorable professional experience.

“Early in my career working as a drilling engineer at a different company, there was a moment where a cement truck caught on fire while I was standing on top of the truck monitoring the cement job. The adrenaline had me jump off the cement truck while the company-man had to create a makeshift fire extinguisher to put out the fire. This experience has been a sounding reminder to me why safe operations and proper engineering and planning are extremely important. Although I am farther from the operations side of the business, this experience provides me with empathy when we are working on our technical evaluations in A&D and allows me to fully recognize that execution takes significant planning, effort and engineering to achieve a safe and efficient operation.”

How have you exercised leadership to help shape your department?

“The leadership I’ve been able to provide has been optimism, the notion of never giving up and working collaboratively to get from point A to B without causing too much disruption in the organization. There are many times when we were told ‘no’ on deals, that it would be too difficult or the timing wasn’t right. The stop-and-go nature of M&A and A&D can cause a lot of low times, but I’ve always tried to keep a high energy and be optimistic that things will work out if you just continue working hard and focusing on the outcome.”

What do you think young industry members as a group have to offer that is unique to them?

“Young industry members are not only closer to technology but provide the view that things can be done differently. The newer generation has grown up in an era where information is readily available and have developed the knowledge on how to utilize and find information. This should lead to advancements in engineering, planning, efficiency and ESG. The way an industry continues to progress is talent and innovation. If you don’t evolve, you eventually end up at the bottom, and that will hurt society if the energy industry does not continue to evolve.”

What advice would you give other young professionals in the industry?

“I’ve provided this advice to the folks I mentor and it’s to ground yourself in fundamentals and foundational skills, so you have a base to build from. That skill set and knowledge will never be taken away from you and will only benefit you as you progress in your career.”

What are your long- and short-term career goals? 

“My goals include progressing my knowledge and leadership and ultimately getting the opportunities to take on roles of increasing responsibility and senior positions.”

Three More Things
  1. While I was volunteering in Cambodia, I was in the middle of nowhere with no money, without a phone and on a scooter with no gas in it. I had to convince a street vendor on the side of the road who didn’t speak English to give me US$1 in gas. The happy moment was when I returned to the street vendor and gave the person US$30 for getting me out of a very difficult situation. Seeing her reaction was unforgettable.
  2. When I do get a breather, I enjoy cooking. 
  3. I was part of a tech startup focusing on website design and building out a crowd-funding platform in 2008. One of the first larger projects was designing the backend website for RS Energy.