Melissa Phillip-Sealy is one of our female engineers. She lives in Trinidad and works worldwide for us as a Senior Data Acquisition Engineer. Read how she balances her worklife with her family life by choosing when and where she wants to work.
How long have you been contracting with the Wellwise Group?
I initially started with Wellwise Group in 2007 where I did a hitch for Expro Australia, after which I took some years off from the Offshore Oil and Gas industry only to return in 2012.
What brought you to us?
I have always known about varying consultants “day raters” and varying consultancy agencies having worked for one of the Agency’s client company but Wellwise always stood out, as most of the industrious and fully competent contracted hires came from Wellwise. I was further intrigued with Wellwise after having intricate discussions about the policies and processes of Wellwise, as well as the benefits of being a consultant with a colleague and long time contracted worker of Wellwise – Mr. John Brissenden. It was there and then that I decided that a formal liaison be made with respective members of the Wellwise Group to further obtain guidance and information on becoming a consultant.
What is your background?
My present job capacity is a Senior Data Acquisition Specialist. I started in the offshore oil and gas industry in 2003 where I was hired by Expro Trinidad Limited as a Cased Hole Services Field Engineer. Back then the Cased Hole Electrical department of the Expro Group offered services such as Data Acquisition, Bottom Hole and Surface sampling including single phase (SPS) and positive displacement (PDS) sampling, Downhole gauges and Downhole running tools, Production Logging Tools (PLTs) and as such I was trained in and excelled in all areas.
In 2005, I had progressed from being a junior CHS-E Field Engineer to a Senior CHS-E Field Engineer.
My schedule would usually entail abundant amounts of travel to different regions of the globe in which Expro operated. This was vastly cumulated by the fact of limited CHS-E Engineers within the department, as such my operational experience and exposure to varying cultures grew immensely and also at a very fast rate.
In 2006, I gave birth to my daughter and started feeling the need to ‘slow down’ for her sake and for family commitment. Finally the decision was made in 2008 to leave the offshore industry and I opted for a role in the local Petrochemical industry. The development and commissioning of the Ammonia Urea Melamine (AUM) complex in Point Lisas Trinidad was on stream and it offered me great experience in the process operations and commissioning, but I couldn’t help feeling as though a part of me was missing, something was missing; I couldn’t stop reminiscing about my years in the offshore oil and gas industry.
As my daughter grew older and the yearning to return to the field grew stronger, I made the decision to resign from the petrochemical industry, even though it was a permanent and well compensated position and return to what I loved doing, what called to me – the offshore oil and gas industry. I have since returned and could not feel any more complete as I am presently.
What aspects of your job do you find challenging?
I believe on a whole that all aspects of my job are challenging – from the travels, being away from family and loved ones to the actual job on the installation because even the simplest of jobs require that you be alert at all times to ensure the safety of yourself and others who may be affected by your operations.
One main department that a Data Acquisition Specialist would work in cohesion with is Well Testing, which is a very critical and high risk job. As such you need to be very meticulous and cautious in all that you do with a high level of safety awareness.
Being a female in the oilfield, there would be times where it would be hard to get your ‘voice’/ your viewpoint and opinion heard, considered and taken into account. But I have noted that this has changed within the progression of time and with experience and understanding of how to deal with people and situations. I personally, have never run from a challenge or troubling situation as overcoming and resolving these issues bring me an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and also increases a person’s level of experience and both analytical and practical competence. As far as I could remember, I have always been one to ‘hold fast my fort’, including physically as I do use tools and equipment that would require me to get oily and grimy. All in all, being fully knowledgeable and competent, building camaraderie but maintaining professionalism increases the respect and trust from other members in the field.
What locations have you visited recently?
For this year I have been mostly based in Aberdeen, Scotland working in the North Sea.
Was there a highlight or lowlight?
There hasn’t been any ‘out of the ordinary’ activities in my recent jobs, but I have had my fair share of ‘heart racing’ incidents in the past, one of which involved being ‘lost at sea’ off Luanda, Angola.
What location would you like to travel/work in?
Apart from the personal interest I have in these countries, I would love to experience working out of Morocco, Egypt and China as I have heard of intriguing stories from co-workers who have travelled to and worked in these regions.
Do you get any social time in a country – before or after a job?
Depending on the urgency of your presence offshore and the progression of the job (whether you are immediately sent offshore on arrival to country or site and immediately sent home after the job) there would be times when you get ‘free’ periods due to job delays etc. where you are able to explore and enjoy the country/city. I always make use of available ‘free’ time.
How does your family life cope with you being away?
I believe my family has adapted to my line of work, travels and demands my career entails. I am privileged though to have the full support of very pertinent members of family who all ‘step up’ in my absence – especially in the guardianship of my daughter.
What are your likes?
I am a very adventurous individual, so anything that poses itself as a challenge I would be there to tackle and overcome it. I enjoy many sporting activities including motorsports, hiking, parasailing, swimming (I love the beach J).
What are your dislikes?
Negative people and disappointments.
Any other comments?
I would encourage anyone to pursue with their all, that which they love and enjoy doing…..