Meet Heather Hibbard from Bixby, Oklahoma. Heather has a Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering with a Minor in Chemistry from the University of Tulsa. She currently works as a BOP (Blow-Out Preventer) Field Engineer in the offshore oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico. Her work on deepwater drillships supports drilling, completions, and workover (maintenance) operations by ensuring that BOP equipment is capable of performing as designed in well control operations. Heather works closely with subsea engineers to verify that the BOPs are properly maintained and tested per original equipment manufacturer, industry, and contractor requirements.
Women Offshore connected with Heather to find out more about her career, working offshore:
Heather, what inspired you to work on the water?
“I started working in the GOM (Gulf of Mexico) straight out of college. So, initially, it was the pay incentive for paying off student loans.”
Please tell us about your most memorable experience.
“My most memorable experience was my last day spent as an HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) Specialist. I had worked with the same crews for over a year. I made many good friends, whom I dearly miss.”
What motivates you to continue working on the water if it’s a long-term career for you?
“I enjoy the time off. It’s like having six months of vacation every year!”
What challenges have you faced in your career?
“Work life balance can be very difficult for a female who works offshore. Relationships are by far the most difficult.
Unfortunately, I still run into sexism. On one occasion – which I will never forget – myself and three other males were introduced to a supervisor. He walked passed me, only to shake the hands of my three male counterparts. Thankfully, these types of situations have not occurred very often.”
What do you think can be done in your industry to encourage more women to pursue similar careers?
“Getting the word out about opportunities for females to work offshore would be very helpful. This workforce is still dominated by men but offshore careers can be a great fit for a lot of women.”
Thank you Heather for sharing your career with us! We appreciate your support of WomenOffshore.org and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!