Name: Jaret Garber
Position: General Manager, Drilling Services of America Inc.
Education: LSU, bachelor’s degree in finance
When Jaret Garber graduated from college, his original intent was to enter grad school and earn an MBA. But after Hurricane Katrina, he saw the opportunities in construction support.
“Being 23 and making some money was a lot more appealing than borrowing some money to go to grad school,” he says.
Recovery work led to a job with a Baton Rouge general contractor. He worked there as a project engineer and estimator, then as an estimator for a Baton Rouge roofing company, before a desire to get back to his hometown and his oil and gas roots led him in 2010 to a Lafayette service company.
“My goal was to be the most operationally driven, educated finance guy there,” Garber says. “I wanted to see and touch and know what the equipment did, above and beyond the utilization numbers.”
Drilling Services of America, a thru-tubing milling and fishing company based in Carencro, hired him in 2013.
When was your first exposure to the oil business?
My dad’s been in the oil and gas industry since he took his first job at 17, and he’s still in it today. So I’ve been around it my whole life. It’s not where I started my career, but my roots have been oil and gas. Being in Lafayette, the service hub, it’s just in our blood.
In your last job you were a numbers guy, but you say you wanted to know as much as possible about what was going on in the field. Why was that so important to you?
I wanted to get into operations at some point. I actually started at LSU as a mechanical engineering student. I’ve always been extremely interested in how it all works.
What is your typical work day like?
No two days are the same. This could be internal meetings, daily operational updates on our current projects, the management and guidance of our sales and operations teams, overseeing our facility, inventory, financials, HR, IT, and last, and most importantly, safety. We’ve never had a recordable injury in our company’s history.
No recordable injuries in the company’s history?
Correct. In 32 years, we have over a million man hours without a recordable.
What’s the key to aspotless safety record?
It starts from the top down. We care about every employee, and we want everyone to return safely. We back them 100% from start to finish. Finding the right people who can support those efforts is a contributing factor. I give the credit to them.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
I would say my current position. This is my career game, and I’ve only finished the first quarter. I have three left to play, and I have so much more to accomplish.
How would you characterize the industry’s state after the most recent downturn?
Two-thousand seventeen was a comeback year, and ’18 seems to be on a similar course as ’17. There is tremendous growth potential for the oil and gas industry. I have 30 years left, so I expect there will be many more ups and downs to come.
This downturn lasted a lot longer and was more impactful than previous downturns. The operators were a lot more aggressive in the past, and I think they’re all still very slow in putting more rigs out. It’s a slow-moving comeback.
How did your company stay healthy through the tough times?
We stayed lean, and we watched our spending. Performance is everything, and if you continue to perform, they’re going to call you. The pricing was tough, but we made it through. We’ve always stuck to the slogan of, “Don’t think of cost. Think of value.”
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I am on the executive committee for the Young Professionals of LAGCOE. I’m passionate about the next generation. We’re going through the passing of the torch. I’m also active in the men’s group at my church, St. Pius X. As far as hobbies, I like hunting and fishing. Bow hunting is how I unwind. And just being around family and friends and cooking. Normal Cajun stuff.
What is your pitch to a young person who is considering entering the industry?
The oil and gas industry offers a number of opportunities for a degreed or non-degreed person to have a lucrative career, whether it’s in the field, in the office, in safety, in procurement or in HR. They employ so many people.
Interview edited for space.