Tell us a little bit about what you do for Williams Scotsman?
Paul Raiford: I oversee our strategic energy accounts. I also help develop sales and service strategies for our local teams in energy hot beds located across the country, including the shale gas plays throughout the U.S. Another core responsibility of mine is trend watching and identifying pertinent information that is most relevant to our energy customers. This process helps us to stay on top of emerging developments and be a proactive part of the planning process.
What are some of the trends happening in the U.S. energy field right now?
PR: Specialization is a major focus. What I mean by that is the energy sector is developing laser-like focus areas. Companies that were developing offshore projects and land-based development all over the globe are now re-structuring to focus solely on U.S. shale areas. U.S. companies are focusing on specific areas of the country, for example selling their acreage in the Marcellus Shale region to focus solely on mid-continent exploration. And of course the Halliburton/Baker Hughes merger has been a hot topic for the last few weeks as the two oil field service companies look at merging to streamline costs and gain efficiencies.
How do you see the current energy trends impacting the construction process?
PR: Energy companies are looking for efficiencies. They want to partner with vendors that they know have all the capabilities required for their projects, can meet their schedules, and offer economic advantages.
What is the biggest challenge that energy companies in the U.S. face in 2014?
PR: Speed. Energy exploration and production is a labor-intensive process. The greatest challenge is mobilizing equipment and space to get procedures up and running quickly.
How is Williams Scotsman helping to solve those problems?
PR: We offer an essential service. In other words, nothing can happen on a well-site, gas plant, or pipeline without a workspace for the team. They need office space, break space, and personal care space. Our company provides these life essential services so that our customers can do what they need to do and stay focused. We also understand that customers in the energy sector are working under intense time constraints. Williams Scotsman has developed a turnkey repeatable process to support energy customers so they meet deadlines and stay on budget.
What are the common threads among William Scotsman’s energy customers?
PR: Safety is always of paramount importance. Williams Scotsman is just like all of our customers – we want everyone to go home in the exact same shape that they came to work. After safety, it all boils down to execution. Can you deliver your products within a reasonable timeframe and help meet deadlines? Our team does a great job and as a result our customers turn to us repeatedly. Not only are we a full service, turnkey solution provider, but also we get the job done safely and on time.
Everyone is talking about the recent swing in oil prices. What is your perspective on that?
PR: Oil prices are always a concern. Obviously, lower prices are good for consumers of refined products like you and I for our cars, as an example. Industries that depend on energy to manufacture and move their goods benefit, so lower prices help many areas of the economy. Oil producers tend to like higher prices, but they also realize that in this highly competitive industry, they must always be looking for greater efficiencies. The technology that our customers use and continue to develop is mind-boggling. The U.S. can and will be the world leader in energy because we are on a constant quest to keep our production high and our costs low.
What does the future look like?
PR: First and foremost we need to redefine our energy strategies that were developed back in the 1970s. It’s critical that the U.S. government develop a realistic, 21st century energy strategy. Doing so will not only benefit customers in the U.S. but abroad as well. New policies will help support growth in the U.S. energy and exploration market and support the national economy for years to come.
What are your thoughts on the recent block of the Keystone XL Pipeline?
PR: It’s unfortunate. We are working with contractors to supply space and value added services at various pumping and compressor stations. It didn’t pass in the Senate this time, but I believe it will in the near future.