By Kat Boogaard
At Pink Petro, we often place a lot of emphasis on the amazing women who are making big waves in the energy industry— and for good reason.
But that doesn’t mean the men of the energy industry don’t have interesting stories to tell. And Tormod Engvig, who we were introduced to through Pink Petro member Ally Cedeno, is no exception.
A self-proclaimed history buff, Engvig also regularly contributes to WomenOffshore, Cedeno’s website that she started to support, encourage and inspire women who work in operations roles. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned that he and his wife welcomed twin boys in June of this year.
Needless to say, Engvig’s plate is full. But he still found the time to fill us in on his incredible experiences and his enlightening career advice.
Getting His Start in the Industry
Since his 2005 graduation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Engvig has been an actively sailing mariner. But he hasn’t always worked in the oil and gas field.
“I began my seagoing career on expedition ships, sailing on ships partnered with National Geographic, where I spent time navigating the high Arctic and Antarctica,” he explains.
While Engvig enjoyed his time on expedition ships, he knew he eventually wanted to move over to oil and gas. “I was drawn to the idea of a high-technology workplace, and a place where I could not just have a job, but also make a career—especially one which would have relevance both in the U.S. and in Norway,” he adds.
So, in 2010, Engvig made his move. He began sailing as a mate on high-end seismic research ships for Norwegian-based CGG Eidesvik, and he’s enjoyed it ever since.
“The ships I sail on conduct seismic survey work for multinational oil company clients,” he shares, “Currently, I am on a vessel conducting a survey off Africa, though I have spent several years in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Far East.”
A Day in the Life of a Shipmate
While on the ship, Engvig works some pretty long days. “I stand eight hours of bridge watch a day, which, when you’re towing 5 miles of high-tech sensor gear, can be both challenging and exciting, especially in high-traffic areas,” he says. “I also have up to four hours of administrative work per day, which includes safety inspections, meetings, safety analyses and training of crew.”
And while Engvig enjoys the fact that his work as a mate takes him all over the world, that also means it takes him far from his home in California — where his wife and young twin boys are.
For that reason, Engvig feels fortunate that he’s found a company that places a value on family — and also offers a six-weeks-on and six-weeks-off work schedule. “You never feel like you’re gone from home for so long at a time. This is an important point for me, as juggling work with family obligations can be tough,” he says.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that the seagoing life is easy when you have a family at home,” he continues. “But there are ways to make it work, and even work very well.”
Supporting Women in Energy
While his family life and his career keep him plenty busy, Engvig has numerous other interests that keep him fulfilled and happy. With a deep passion for history, he completed his master’s degree in military history at American Military University (AMU) in 2015.
That knowledge is particularly helpful in another one of his roles—as a regular contributor for Ally Cedeno’s website, WomenOffshore.
Engvig and Cedeno have known each other for years. They met at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, when Engvig was in his last year. Several years later, they met up in Ushuaia, Argentina, when Cedeno signed on as a Third Mate onboard the National Geographic Endeavour, where Engvig was already sailing as a Second Mate.
“We had a blast working together in Antarctica and have kept in touch ever since,” says Engvig, “When Ally began formulating her plan for WomenOffshore, she wanted one or two history contributors on her team. And, knowing my academic background and passion for history, got in touch with me.”
Today, Engvig is thrilled to be part of the team — supporting women in the industry, while simultaneously digging into historical topics that interest him.
“Writing about women in maritime history is also, I believe, an underappreciated field and a great way to get me out of my historical ‘comfort zone,’” he says. “I’m researching and writing about things I wouldn’t necessarily focus on otherwise, all while doing justice to the amazing women who have gone before us.”
Without a doubt, Engvig’s life is a full one. But, that’s exactly what keeps him satisfied.
And, as a last word, he imparts some powerful advice to help others achieve lives and careers that make them feel that same way.
“Go with your gut, and know that the career choices you make are the right ones — even when the grass appears greener on the other side,” he concludes. “I don’t believe there’s such a thing as ‘the’ perfect job. It’s what you make of it. Attitude really is everything.”