When Anthony Bilotto joined Covenant Testing Technologies LLC, he didn’t know the first thing about the oil and gas industry. He was transitioning into the corporate world from the military, where he spent 12 years flying various aircraft for the U.S. Air Force and Texas Air National Guard.
“I certainly have an unorthodox background,” he says. “But it seems to have worked for me.”
Bilotto was hired as an executive intern at Covenant in June 2013, when the oilfield services company was still a startup. Despite his initial lack of industry knowledge, he soon proved his worth, and within five years, the company grew to nearly 1,000 employees throughout Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and North Dakota.
“The experience of growing Covenant from startup to a leading position in U.S. shale well flow management over the past six years through the worst oil downturn in recent history defines my greatest professional achievement,” Bilotto says. “The aptitude necessary to scale a company from startup to dominating market share was reinforced with a foundation of 12 years providing air support for many valiant men and women on the battlefields in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
An unconventional path: Bilotto’s resume is chock-full of professional accomplishments spanning a variety of sectors. He began his career managing a family restaurant and nightclub while working as an optics group research assistant at the University of New Mexico’s Center for High Technology Materials.
His career took a turn in 2001, when some inheritance money funded his ambitions of becoming a pilot. After graduating from The University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in physics and a second degree in mathematics, he joined the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a special operations co-pilot and managed his squadron’s financial planning and budget. After flying 40 combat missions, he transferred to the Texas Air National Guard to help the state establish its first MQ-1 operations center as an instructor pilot and training officer.
He was hired by Covenant after completing an MBA from Rice University. He says his military experience remained relevant as he transitioned to the private sector.
[Ownership, adaptability and grit] are valuable in every situation, across all industries and job types, and serve as the cornerstone to my professional life.”
“The U.S. military is a large organization with a complex and unenviable mission whose people volunteer, join the organization untrained and are generally not paid well relative to the sacrifice and risk,” he says. “Despite those inherent limitations, great leaders arise, difficult missions are accomplished successfully and people volunteer to continue.”
“In many ways, the service achieves this outcome by instilling a sense of ownership, adaptability and grit into those who choose to commit. These attributes are valuable in every situation, across all industries and job types, and serve as the cornerstone to my professional life.”
A great innovator: Bilotto has played an indispensable role in Covenant’s success, having created, implemented and built numerous system support structures. He’s responsible for almost all of the systems Covenant used as its foundation to grow over time.
His most challenging project was the creation of an integrated, offline-capable time and asset management platform with offshore developers who possessed basic English-speaking capabilities.
Bilotto has even loftier goals for the future. He plans to identify functional integration opportunities for both remote process automation and artificial intelligence, and he wants to integrate augmented reality into Covenant’s training programs. He says this would reduce cost while increasing employees’ degree of interactive learning.
“The biggest personal challenge as the organization grows is, ‘How do I position myself to continue focusing on solving high-impact problems versus regular oversight of established processes?’” he says. “But it’s a lot of fun.”