A Lifetime of Achievement
For over 24 years, Bob Collings has called Shell home, rising from Operator Trainee to Central Operations Manager. As he looks back, Bob shares highlights from his career and reveals what has kept him passionate about working at Shell.
“You’re looking at a guy who started on the floor as a Junior Operator and now I’m managing two large gas plants with roughly 200 people in my organization. I would have never thought when I was 21 years old that I’d be sitting where I am. Sometimes I kind of have to pinch myself,” says Bob.
With a career that spans several decades and various paths, Bob has dedicated himself to Shell for the majority of his life. It all started in 1989, when he began his career as an operator trainee. However, after seven years on the job, he left to explore outside opportunities.
“You can see I actually left and came back. And I have a number of colleagues who have done the same thing.”.
What drew Bob back after four years was Shell’s “care for people.” In addition to an incredibly supportive environment, Bob really valued the work-life balance because he didn’t just have a job to do; he had a daughter to raise.
“When my daughter was younger and I raised her half-time on my own, my supervisor at the time was very accommodating to let me drop her off at school, leave early to pick her up and then I did some work at night to kind of catch up. They’re very accommodating with people.”
Amongst other perks, like generous vacation days, Bob counts himself lucky to receive many professional development opportunities. From mentorship to training programs, it was unlike anything he’d experienced at other jobs. “The other companies that I worked at, it was more that you were hired to do a job and that’s kind of where you sat until someone moved,” he says.
At Shell, Bob’s had a supervisor by his side every step of the way, helping him to advance his career. He says, “Whether it be a formal sit-down or actually saying, ‘You know what? I’m going to put you on this project for a while to help you get that broadening.’” This joint partnership with his supervisor has provided a nurturing environment that continuously helps Bob reach the next level of his career.
As Bob has advanced over the years, he’s also witnessed Shell grow as a company. With innovations in everything from wind power to carbon sequestering, Bob sees Shell as a true pioneer in clean energy. “We’re always looking for better ways to optimize how we treat the environment” by lowering emissions and focusing on cleaner energy, such as liquefied natural gas.
“If we don’t continue to actually look at how we treat the environment, we won’t be in business. It’s as simple as that.”
In addition to the progress Shell has made with energy, Bob has noticed another change within the culture: diversity. Since 1989, he’s seen the teams change and expand with “all race, religion and diversity” represented today.
“What I love about that is we don’t have a bunch of tens of the same thinkers. If you have ten of the same thinkers, you only need one really,” he says. “Now with so many different folks and different generations, it’s amazing what a person will come up with and you’re like, ‘I never thought of that.’ And that to me, it shows how strong [Shell] is getting.”
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