Spectra Energy Leader Enjoys Bringing Veterans into the Oil and Gas Industry
“Energy independence is our national security,” said Sittler. “So the more veterans who can help us bolster our energy security, where we’re not as dependent on foreign sources, the better.”
He co-leads the Veteran Talent Resource Network (VTRN) at Spectra Energy, one of North America’s largest pipeline and midstream companies. Based in Houston, TX, Spectra Energy’s operations include about 21,000 miles of natural gas and crude oil pipelines.
Sittler joined Spectra Energy in 2015 after working for five years at BP. He came to the oil and gas industry after working at a number of engineering firms, and even a medical equipment supply company, which he joined after his 11-year career in the U.S. Air Force.
While in the Air Force, he worked in medical logistics and biomedical maintenance, serving at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, and Ramstein Air Base in Ramstein, Germany.
“After the Air Force, I was working as a Procurement Manager at a water district in San Diego, but wanted to get back closer to my kids, who resided in the San Antonio area,” explains Sittler.
He took a job with engineering firm Fluor, where he was first introduced to the oil and gas industry, working on BP’s Whiting Refinery Modernization Project. He also worked at engineering firm CH2M Hill before taking a job directly with BP.
While at BP, he was active in the company’s veterans network and served as the National Co-Lead for the Veterans USA employee resource group. After joining Spectra Energy in April 2015, Sittler says he was impressed with the company’s proactive efforts to launch a veterans program.
“Three months after I started at Spectra Energy, HR approached me and asked me to help start a veterans resource group,” he explains. “In conjunction with HR, we put together a proposal, presented it, and we’ve been up and running since the beginning of the year.”
The Veteran Talent Resource Network partners with Human Resources to assist them in their recruiting and retention of veterans. In addition to recruiting veterans to the company, the VTRN assists Human Resources with identifying veterans and veterans’ family members that are currently working at Spectra Energy. This allows the company to be better aware of special skills that existing workers obtained in the military.
The group also works as a veteran skills “translator” for veterans interviewing for new jobs within the company.
“We find veterans are a great fit because they bring problem solving skills, they usually have solid project management skills, they naturally have a strong safety-focused background and they are quick to adapt and learn new things,” said Sittler. “Anyone coming from the service typically also understands how to be led and knows how to lead.”
The VTRN currently has 70 members, which include veterans, as well as parents, spouses, children of veterans and interested employees — and Sittler says the group is growing.
He also works with a number of non-profit veterans organizations, including the Lone Star Veterans Association and is an active veteran mentor with Veterati and NextOp.
“I enjoy getting vets into the oil and gas industry,” said Sittler. “I try to help wherever I can.”
Spectra Energy, the oil and gas industry, and the veterans hired to work at the company, are all better off for it.