This week on our series, Profiles in GRIT, we introduce you to Patricia Guillory, the Chief Financial Officer of Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corp.
Gulf Copper provides services for the repair, conversion and refurbishment of offshore drilling rigs, construction and support vessels for the oil and gas industry, and provides marine surveying service internationally. It offers a full spectrum of services with diverse capabilities from strategically well-placed facilities along the Gulf of Mexico. They also happen to be the newest member of the Pink Petro community. And we couldn’t be more thrilled!
Patricia took her position at the age of 29, during a turbulent time with the company.
“At my interview the owner explained that he could not promise the company would be able to commit to even my job being around in the next six months,” she recalls.
She made it through — with no small amount of persistence and faith. Here’s her story.
Pink Petro: What’s the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?
PG: The biggest challenge I have faced was taking control of Gulf Copper at the young age of 29. It was at a point in the company’s history when the financial and administration arms faced many challenges.
At my interview, the owner explained that he could not promise the company would be able to commit to even my job being around in the next six months. Employees were anxious at best, and many had low morale. The question for me was where to start on the impressive list of challenges — especially having been the first controller of this 40-plus-year-old organization hired after the bleeding had gone on for some time.
I overcame it with lots of prayers and leaning heavily on my faith. It was through prayer that I developed relationships with those in operations and administration. I also developed relationships with external resources and mentors. I overcame the anxiety of the job, asked many questions, answered many questions and worked excessive hours engaging others, attending meetings and making commitments.
In the end, we overcame these terrific trials and built our way back.
Pink Petro: What’s one mistake you made and how did you learn from it?
PG: The one mistake I’ve made on numerous occasions is departing from my center and my faith to make decisions that do not fully consider the impact on others. An example of this is when I moved all the accounting staff from an operations site to the administration offices where I was located. It seemed practical, except it had not been too long since the assets were acquired. I failed to appreciate the full extent of everyone’s anxiety.
What became clear later is that having the groups in close proximity was helpful to merge the distinct company operating cultures within the two groups. A few years ago, we merged the locations and the two groups. Within a few months, nearly all of us agreed that the camaraderie and productivity levels were elevated. Over the years my faith in God has helped me realize that when I fall, I can get back up.
Pink Petro: What’s been the most rewarding part of your career?
PG: The most rewarding part has been the mentorships developed (and still developing) with my team. Being able to share the experience with someone learning things they never believed they could master is rewarding.
Pink Petro: Who’s been a “gritty” role model for you?
PG: My “gritty” role model is a business-savvy Harvard-educated gentleman who served on our audit committee for many years. He has seen us through some of our most turbulent times and has provided wisdom, knowledge and strength. And he is always pushing me to take hold of the next challenge without waiver. He has provided constructive critiques at the most important times and always wants the very best for me. I truly appreciate his contributions to my life and the growth in my career.