Faces of the Industry: Angela Cring

October’s Faces of the Industry profiles a leader who is expanding the footprint of LAGCOE (Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition). Angela Cring, executive director of LAGCOE, is leading the organization into its next chapter and broadening its reach beyond the show itself. While honoring LAGCOE’s rich history is important, Cring and her team are not afraid of change. This change includes a vision to expand LAGCOE’s mission to help people in Louisiana’s oil and gas sector build a bright future and bolster its “next generation” workforce.

Angela Cring

Blending a geology and political science degree, she embodies idealism and pragmatism in regards to how we as a society harness our natural resources. She works tirelessly to apply this passion to LAGCOE and its imprint on the Louisiana oil and gas industry. OilOnline recently spoke with Angela to learn more about her career, her perspective on the industry and her hopes for her legacy at LAGCOE.

When you were younger, what appealed to you?

I was always interested in science and fascinated with nature. In college, I discovered political science and was going in the direction of some type of natural resource policy. I thought it was a good combination of the natural and social sciences. That’s how I ended up with a bachelors’ degree in geology and political science.

How did you get into oil and gas?

During and after graduate school, I worked for the US Geological Survey (USGS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for several years doing research. After completing that role, I fell into oil and gas in part by geographic circumstances because I was in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Were there key turning points in your career?

LAGCOE is my third career. The first career involved working for the federal government, primarily with hydrology. Next, I moved into the private sector, focusing on geohazards geology. I experienced some health issues that made it difficult to sit for extended periods of time in my role as a geologist reviewing data. Eventually, I stumbled upon LAGCOE, as I knew the previous executive director. I started in 2007, and seven years later I’m running the show.

What do you enjoy about the LAGCOE culture?

I enjoy the people. LAGCOE is like a family. Our newly elected board, as well as our membership, is a great mix of longtime volunteers and young professionals. LAGCOE is firmly rooted and many are still passionate about the industry and how our community is affected by the industry. Our current chairman-elect became involved in LAGCOE because his father was a dedicated LAGCOE volunteer. It is truly a multigenerational organization.

What is a common misconception about a career in oil and gas?

People think that you do only one thing. As an example, if you are a geologist, you only do exploration, which is not true. There are several different areas within each field. In geology, you can pursue geohazards, regulatory or environmental careers. Even within each discipline there are many avenues and options.

For engineers, many young people automatically picture themselves working for a major oil and gas company. While that is an option, there are other avenues for engineers such as working for a service, consulting or legal company. People don’t have to be pigeonholed.

What advice do you have for females considering an oil and gas career?

People in the industry are more concerned about your experience level than your gender. I’m sure there are exceptions, but in general, women are certainly more accepted now than they were 20-30 years ago.

What would you tell new graduates to watch out for?

Don’t pay so much attention to other people, just pay attention to yourself. I was sometimes guilty of this, too, early in my career. You can’t control how well other people do their job. You can only control how well you do your job. A strong work ethic will take you far. While knowledge can be learned over time, putting in effort is what will take you far. I would encourage mentors to instill a strong work ethic into younger people. We will all be better off for it in the future.

What is the top life/career lesson you live by?

In life, what we want and what we need are not always the same. Be grateful for what you have because that may be all you really need. In your career, do not be afraid to try new things and embrace change. It can be scary to go in a direction that may not be comfortable, but sometimes you end up in the best place. This certainly happened with me.

What are the key challenges in the oil and gas industry now?

Developing the next generation of leaders for the industry is a key challenge. This is a subset of the overarching workforce issue with the anticipated big crew change. Ensuring that knowledge is being successfully transferred from experienced workers to incoming workers is critical. There needs to be a shift in allowing the new generation to take on leadership roles earlier than some of the previous generations had to.

Tell us more about the upcoming 2014 LAGCOE Career Fair? Why should people attend?

The LAGCOE Career Fair offers a great way for people to get an overview of what the industry is currently seeking. The career development resources and sessions at the career fair will still be valuable to those who may not even be in the market at this time. You never know where your career will take you. A company may come looking for you. Always be ready with an updated resume and LinkedIn profile.

What do you hope to accomplish in your tenure as executive director at LAGCOE? What will your legacy be?

Whether I want it to be, it will be “change.” I’m sure my staff can attest. My brain works 24/7 on thinking of what’s next and how things can be improved upon. During my first few years as executive director, my motto was “ICE”– innovation, collaboration and efficiency. How can we make things better? Who can we create partnerships with? How do we execute things in a more efficient way? Many of the changes have transitioned LAGCOE from more than just a show every two years, into an organization that has value to the industry outside of just the show itself.

While Angela hated the question of how she spends her free time, she revealed that she loves to volunteer. She said in regard to volunteering, “I think it is a sickness, if I ever found a cure, I’d have a lot more time for fun.”

She can back it up, too. Half of her resume is filled with volunteer roles. It is fitting that she leads an organization that relies on and appreciates volunteers to take LAGCOE into the future. Angela said that she always had that innate drive to engage in activities that make a difference. We think she is well on her way.

Angela Cring serves as executive director of LAGCOE (Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition). Originally from Alexandria, Louisiana, Cring has a B.S. in environmental geology and political science from Millsaps College and an M.S. in geology from the University of Mississippi. Cring is a 2013 Acadiana 20 Under 40 award recipient; graduate of the Leadership Louisiana 2013 Class; graduate of Leadership Lafayette Class XXIV; Chairman-elect of the Leadership Institute of Acadiana; member, Public Relations Chair and member of the Board of Directors of Junior League of Lafayette; founding member of The Giving Revolution, A Giving Circle; and member of International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Energy Division, The 705: Acadiana’s Emerging Leaders, Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Drilling Engineers, and Lafayette Geological Society.

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