OUR GREAT MINDS

Melissa English Barbour

Melissa English-Barbour 

HSE and Quality & Risk Manager, WorleyParsons

Melissa is a born and bred Newfoundlander who has always lived within 5 minutes of her childhood home in beautiful Conception Bay South. Although she doesn’t consider herself much of an athlete, she spent many of her teenage years in the karate dojo, earning herself a brown belt in Kenpo. While completing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Memorial University, Melissa spent one summer working at K&D Pratt, where she was asked to “help out” with the administration of their HSE and Quality management systems. That summer of helping out turned into working full-time there coordinating the HSE and Quality management systems for their St. John’s-based operations while completing her degree, which grew to managing HSE and Quality for their Atlantic Canada operations including Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

After 5 years, an available position in stewarding HSE and Quality in offshore drilling on the Hibernia Platform became very intriguing. Melissa spent 5 years as the HSEQ Advisor with Noble Drilling, who provided her the opportunity to really gain an understanding and respect for the offshore industry, sending her to the Hibernia Platform almost monthly to work with the drilling and maintenance teams as well as to offshore drilling units in the Gulf of Mexico, Qatar and Dubai to learn the operations of jack ups, semi-submersibles and submersibles in those locations. Along came Hebron, which drew Melissa away from offshore drilling to become the Senior Safety Advisor for the Hebron Topsides Project for WorleyParsons, which then led to her current position as the HSE and Quality & Risk Manager for WorleyParsons’ Atlantic Canada operations.

Melissa is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional, a proud wife to her equally hard-working husband who also works in the oil and gas industry, dedicated mother to two beautiful children as well as a photography enthusiast who loves to take photos of her family, and who also enjoys golfing, fishing, spending time with her family and friends and traveling.

We asked Melissa:

The OGM: What does sustainability mean to you?

Melissa: Sustainability means taking care of our environment and our prosperous natural resources to ensure that our children and their children and society as a whole continue to reap the benefits they provide. Newfoundland is a beautiful place which provides us with so much opportunity. We need to treat it with respect and give back to it like it gives to us.

The OGM: Have you had a mentor?

Melissa: I have been fortunate enough to have a couple of mentors throughout my career. One would be my father who works in the oil and gas industry and provides me with a wealth of experience and advice which helped me initiate and continue my career in the industry. Another would be a former manager of mine who taught me that giving anything less than 100% was not good enough. His attention to detail forced me to try to be one step ahead, be professional and be concise. I always try to conduct myself with these expectations in mind.

The OGM: What does success mean to you?

Melissa: Success to me is achieving your goals, whatever they may be, and being a good person in the process.

The OGM: If you were to describe your career in three words, what would they be?

Melissa: Challenging, Opportunistic, Rewarding.

The OGM: What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in the Energy Industry?

Melissa: I’m a fan of old fashioned professionalism; look people in the eye, have a firm handshake, smile, be positive, walk the talk, build enduring relationships and do the right thing – not what’s easy. You have to earn a seat at the table; no one is going to give it to you. Also, safety is of upmost importance both on and off the job; it’s a mindset – get on board.

The OGM: Describe a milestone in your career?

Melissa:  I feel I have achieved many milestones in my career, but one that is particularly memorable is my first visit to the Hibernia Platform. It changed the way I think and feel about the Energy sector and gave me a better appreciation of it. The general public rarely gets to see that side of the business so it is difficult to comprehend the planning and preciseness required to get oil out of the ground.

The OGM: Describe a challenge you faced in your career?

Melissa: I’ve faced many challenges in my career. Being a young female in the safety field starting out 10-15 years ago was not what it is today. Every position I held presented its own challenges – managing HSE and Quality in a sales and warehousing environment to offshore drilling to major engineering and construction projects – but without these challenges I would not have evolved as a professional.

The OGM: What impact does technology have on your career?

Melissa: Technology certainly helps me be more efficient with respect to transmitting information and staying informed, but it has also presented the need to manage the concerns with having access to too much information and the societal inability to function without it.

The OGM: What do the next five years look like in your career?

Melissa: I’m not one to look ahead in my career; I’d rather take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. I prefer to ride the wave and see where it takes me, relishing in opportunities to learn new things along the way.

The OGM: Were you always interested in a career in Energy?

Melissa: I think I have always been interested in the Energy sector, but working in it makes it even more interesting. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on both the construction and operating sides of an oil project. I find it fascinating.

The OGM: What interests you to sustain a career in the Energy Industry?

Melissa: I am definitely interested in the prosperity and the opportunities, but also the diversity and abundance of things to learn to grow your wealth of knowledge, skill and experience.

The OGM: Do you have a role model you look up to?

Melissa: The role models that I look up to are the hard-working career moms out there who try to balance it all -successfully raising a family and having a rewarding career. I love to swap strategies and success stories; it revitalizes me.

The OGM: What does Energy mean to you?

Melissa: Energy makes things happen.

The OGM: What is your favorite APP on your phone?

Melissa: My calendar is the single most important application on my phone so I know where I need to be and what I need to do. Other than Facebook, LinkedIn and the weather app, I don’t use much else.

The OGM: What impact will the Millennial Generation have on the Energy industry?

Melissa: I think the Millennial Generation will have a huge impact on the Energy industry. The Millennial Generation is trying to make things more efficient through the use of technology and is more focused on the greater societal good. I think as they move up the career ladder, we are going to see a corporate shift in priorities; looking at different ways for companies to be financially prosperous but also being creative in maintaining high employee morale and work-life balance, as well as bringing corporate responsibility to the next level. We are already starting to see this.

The OGM: What’s your take on Social Media and our ever changing digital world?

Melissa: I think it is a great way to stay connected and informed when used as intended. It also brings more information than we need so that has to be managed.

The OGM: What Social Medium do you use on a daily basis?

Melissa: I check Facebook and LinkedIn daily, mostly to stay informed on daily events.

The OGM: Do you use Social Media for work?

Melissa: I use LinkedIn to connect with industry professionals and colleagues as well as keep up to date with industry news.

The OGM: What do you think of Social Recruiting?

Melissa: I think social recruiting is the best avenue for hiring in this industry, as long as you are taking advice from those who you trust and respect.

The OGM: Why do you love what you do?

Melissa: I love what I do because I feel I am making a difference in people’s lives and also directly contributing to a project’s success. We need to take care of our people, meet our customer’s needs and deliver a quality product in order for a project to be successful. Anything less than that is not good enough.

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1 comment
  • Melanie Donnelly

    This is a great story. Melissa is not only a successful career oriented young woman. She is thoughtful, charismatic and beautiful, on the inside and out. People should feel honored to work with Melissa. I wish her all the best that life has to offer and know that she will succeed in all that she encounters.


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