Joshua Holt

Co-Founder/CTO, WellDatabase, The Woodlands, Texas
Holt, Joshua

Joshua Holt actually had his eye on a career in the automotive industry when he was a mechanical engineering student. An internship at a software consulting company exposed him to its oil and gas clientele. “I ended up enjoying both software, and oil and gas,” he says. “So, I stuck around!”

Which career milestone did you reach sooner than you had planned, and what helped you reach it earlier than expected?
“I always wanted to start my own company after moving to full-time employment from consulting, but the timing just never felt right. Eventually, I started working on what would become WellDatabase on nights and weekends, and the stars aligned, enabling me to go full-time on it sooner than I ever imagined. (I later learned there really is never a perfect time—you just have to do it.)”

What was a uniquely memorable experience in your career?
“I remember sitting at dinner with my family, after we launched WellDatabase, and getting that first email about someone signing up.  It was such an amazing feeling, that we had built something people were willing to pay for. I am excited for all of our customers, but that first one really lit a fire inside to keep going.”

How have you exercised leadership to help shape your company?
“Early on, John [Ferrell] and I fell into the typical overwork cycle while building out WellDatabase. I realized quickly once we started hiring that we needed to make sure our employees never felt that toxic pull to overwork. It’s important to me that our employees have a great work-life balance and feel free to take care of the important things in their life. It’s easy for a company to say that, but these days we try to lead by example, so that employees know we mean it. I do my best to listen and be available to help anyway I can.  My goal is to remove obstacles and enable our employees to succeed.” 

What professional advice would you give other young professionals?
“Learn all you can from the older professionals in the industry while you can. They have so much knowledge to offer about the how and why of things today. That said, try to see it through the lens of the current technology landscape and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. This will help you uncover places where you might be able to drive innovation or increase efficiency.” 

What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?
“The industry is constantly evolving. For a long time, oil and gas was slow to adopt new technologies, and it wasn’t as interesting of a place to work. In the past few years, the oil and gas industry has jumped to the forefront of technology adoption, which makes it an exciting time to be in the industry.”

What do you think young industry members as a group have to offer that is unique to them?
“At this point, young industry members have all had modern technology available to them since the day they were born. Using computers and software is second nature to them. I think they can really help drive the future innovations required to move our industry forward to a cleaner, more efficient future.” 

Which transformations do you think the industry must undertake for it to thrive in the future?
“Create a data-driven culture. Drive efficiency through the diligent use of technology. Empower teams to try things leveraging new techniques, and support failures. Not everything will be successful, but innovation can’t happen if people are afraid of failure.” 

Three More Things
  1. I studied Japanese for six semesters. I love the culture and would love to live there one day.
  2. I’ve done about 60 skydives and absolutely love the sport. I took a break when my youngest kids were born, but plan to get back in the sky soon.
  3. I am mostly an introvert, but I try to hide it as best as I can!