Focusing on Career

Advice early in his career helped Tulsa native Donald Humphreys set goals and focus on the task at hand.
“A guy told me, ‘The best thing you can do is focus on whatever your current job is,’” Humphreys said. “‘Give it your very best, and everything else will take care of itself.’”
Humphreys, senior vice president and treasurer of ExxonMobil Corp., addressed more than 400 during the University of Tulsa’s Friends of Finance Executive Speakers series in the Great Hall of the Allen Chapman Activity Center, 440 S. Gary Ave.
Friends of Finance marks a quarter century of sponsoring the lecture series.
Humphreys is a graduate of Nathan Hale High School. After graduating from Oklahoma State University, he entered the oil and gas business with ExxonMobil Chemical in 1976.
ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil and natural gas company, spent $26 billion on producing oil and natural gas in 2008.
The company is also spending cash on the energy potential of pond scum.
“We have performed a lot of research on alternative fuels,” Humphreys said, referring to the company’s research center in Clinton, N.J.
ExxonMobil examined various alternative fuels, including corn ethanol, sugar ethanol and biodiesel from chicken fat.
“We never found anything we felt was scalable until we started looking at algae,” he said. “The thing that got our attention about algae was the hydrocarbon yield per acre was many multiples higher than these other crops.”
In July, ExxonMobil signed a $600 million research contract with the San Diego-based researcher Craig Venter, who was responsible for decoding the human genome. Venter has turned his attention toward algae and how to generate energy from the green slime. The oil giant signed a multiyear research and development agreement with Venter’s Synthetic Genomics Inc., investing in the algae biofuel programs and $300 million directly in SGI.
“Certain types of pond scum, when crushed, produces a light hydrocarbon that can go directly into a refinery’s raw feedstock,” Humphreys said.
Another advantage is that algae takes huge doses of carbon dioxide to grow, which helps reduce greenhouse emissions, he said.
For more than 125 years, ExxonMobil has sought to meet the world’s growing demand for energy, Humphreys said. The company’s role is creating economic growth, positive social development and environmental protection.
“And, recognizing the challenge that providing the world with energy is far more than simply mining these products,” he said. “The primary role is to responsibly provide energy, sustain an improving standard of living worldwide while earning a return for our shareholders.”
The test is to support education and continue developing technology, he said.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?