Subsea success stories: Keeping Expro in the family
Our people are at the heart of our success. We take pride in attracting, retaining, and nurturing a talented and diverse workforce. These principles transition from one generation to another – and sometimes within the same family. Father and son Keith and Lee Allan demonstrate the absolute best of our strengths. Keith, our global technical sales manager for subsea well access products, joined us 32 years ago, while Lee just recently came to us straight from school.
We wanted to find out from Keith and Lee what it’s like when Expro becomes a family affair.
Tell us about your journey with Expro so far
Keith: I started as a trainee offshore subsea technician in March 1992, testing all our subsea products as well as going offshore to maintain and deploy them. After working offshore and overseas for several years, I moved onshore as an operations supervisor, responsible for planning all offshore operations along with managing and mentoring all the offshore staff. I transferred to our global subsea product line in 2007 where I’ve held several roles including my current position.
Lee: I was leaving school and was accepted for a mechanical engineering course at college, but I’d also sent my CV to companies including Expro. I was invited for a two-week trial in the subsea workshop to see if I enjoyed it and for them to assess my suitability for a trainee position.
I think this industry offers a great career path. I believe that young people should consider a career in the energy industry because there are so many different avenues you can go down and be trained in.
How did the Expro family connection play a part in career decisions?
Keith: The fact I worked at Expro definitely influenced Lee. Because I’ve been at Expro for so long, it’s become almost a way of life for me. I did offer to help Lee learn some aspects of his job, but he said the workshop boys would teach him better - and he’s probably right!
Lee: I was aware of Expro because my dad’s worked here for so many years. As I was getting to school leaving age, the stories about working offshore interested me. My dad advised me that the subsea workshop was a good place and that everyone was really nice. He also said I’d learn lots about all our products and be trained in other aspects of the industry.
I’ve only been at Expro for a few months but already I’ve attended many training courses. My career for the next few years will be to continue learning in the workshop and hopefully going offshore after that.
Keith, what are the main differences between Expro when you joined and the company today?
Firstly, it’s the sheer size. When I started, we were a fairly small company, and the subsea department was a very small group. Now we have a global infrastructure in all the main areas where we perform subsea operations. While I learned the ropes from some great people, today there is more structure in training and competency along with development plans, which I think is great for young people like Lee. With so many product lines and departments, there are always opportunities to progress here. Maybe I’m biased but think we’ve always been good at developing and promoting people.
Would you like Lee to follow your career path?
Absolutely, but there’ll be no pressure from me. Our subsea career path is so interesting, with so much to learn and no two jobs are the same. There are always new types of operations or new technologies and the opportunity to see different parts of the world is nice.
What would be your most important career advice?
The best piece of advice I can give to Lee is to work hard, ask questions, and listen to what people are saying. One of the best things I ever learned was that there isn’t such a thing as a stupid question. Lee’s message to me is to stop being so grumpy, haha!
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