Patrick Watrin

Senior Vice President of Operations, XRI Holdings, Midland, Texas

A proud U.S. Air Force veteran, Patrick Watrin incorporates the lessons he learned in the military about leadership and hard work into his role as senior vice president of operations at XRI Holdings.

Watrin finds it exciting to guide and watch as his employees succeed in any facet of life. His role as a leader is to support and guide his team by example from the energy field rather than from the office.

Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?

“I was looking for an opportunity when I departed the military to really challenge myself. I didn’t want to sit behind a desk 40 hours a week and wanted to be as active as possible. I knew that the oil and gas industry was shifting into a new era of technology, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that.”

What has been your most challenging project to date, and how did you accomplish your goal?

“Our race to automation was quite the task. It was a difficult process that we took on, and during COVID, nonetheless. I remember second guessing every decision we made because we laid it all on the line to be able to prove to ourselves that it was achievable. Trusting our team members and relying on the technology we deployed was the only way we were able to make it through.”

What qualities do you think are necessary for a good leader in the oil and gas industry?

“Communication. I can count the number of times on one hand I’ve been recognized as an over-communicator and countless times I’ve not communicated enough. Watching a team fire on all cylinders because of excellent communication is like watching a symphony perform. Sure, there are still missteps in the best laid plans, but they are swiftly taken care of when teams communicate well.”

Describe a memorable professional experience.

“My military service is something I would say was a challenge that isn’t typical of the majority. Making instant, life changing decisions was something that taught me a lot about leadership and how to react under pressure.”

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

“Don’t be afraid to make a change in your career. In my career, I’ve tried a few different professions that I thought were interesting before I got to recycling. The most successful and well-rounded people I’ve encountered have knowledge of quite a few fields of experience.”

What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?

“I’m really excited about the environmental aspect of the oil and gas industry. I’m excited about making an impact on recycling volumes in areas where brackish water is scarce. I like producers taking ESG initiatives seriously and reporting how they’re making the industry a better place to work and live in.”

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

“We’re coming into such an exciting time in the industry with technology and automations. That push is largely driven by those younger individuals with new ideas and different approaches. This industry has come a long way in the past five years, and there’s no telling how much more advanced we can be in the next five years.”

Three More Things
  1. Being part of the water recycling movement in oil and gas is something I’m most proud of, to be part of a changing industry through new technology to lessen the ecological impact we leave behind when an area is drilled. 
  2. Andy Stanley’s leadership podcasts are a great tool for anyone wanting to take a Christian-minded approach to leadership.
  3. I am proud of being honored by Hart Energy as an Impactful Veteran in Energy last year. My military service is something I’m immensely proud of, and to be recognized as someone who served that now makes a difference in our industry was very special to me.