On the 10th of July 2012, conference organizer extraordinaire Phil Crouse died, as he would have wanted, ‘in harness’ while working on the next edition of his industry-leading PNEC Petroleum Data Integration conference. The Dallas Morning News obituary traces Phil’s remarkable career—from roustabout in West Texas to the youngest member, at age 28, of the Conference board congressional fellow program. In 1979, as a senior staffer on the US Senate committee on the budget, Phil was responsible for a $5 billion segment. In 1990, he established the Petroleum Network Education Conferences (PNEC) as a consultancy, training and conference organizing body.
Phil was a big guy and a larger than life character. His interest in the industry at large came across loud and clear as he would hold forth on subjects from politics, through IT and data to the latest developments in non conventionals. Phil was also a man of action. When he spotted a promising novelty—such as horizontal drilling, coiled tubing, geosteering and later, data management, he would organize a conference or course to educate and promote the new technology.
One interesting facet of Phil’s work with the PNEC Conferences organization is the way he raised the game in conference quality and showed-up some of the more established ‘not for profit’ conferences as being rather second rate affairs. Phil was stickler for doing it right—striking a balance between overt commercials and informative content. He was very demanding of authors who were required to submit both slides and papers ahead of time—no showing up and arm-waving at PNEC! His rigor led to some company-making presentations—notably in the field of data quality—the combination of papers from a vendor and satisfied clients in major oils was pretty compelling stuff and showed that marketing IT could be an intelligent, hype-free process.
PNEC and Oil IT Journal—then called Petroleum Data Manager—started out about the same time in the mid 1990s and we shared an interest in promoting the embryonic subject of E&P data management. For those who would like to learn more about PNEC—we did a three part ‘history’ last year in our May, June and July issues. One highlight of PNEC was Phil’s 2006 ‘scoop’ when he persuaded Nancy Stewart, Wal-Mart’s CIO to ‘tell all’ in what was a real technological eye opener. Attendees will also remember how he livened up a rather dry subject with his drawings for Dilbert book prizes and those infernal wire puzzles.
Phil’s spouse Cindy Crouse and the PNEC team are to carry on with the 17th annual event which will be held May 2013 in Houston. You can donate to Phil’s preferred charities and sign the online guest book.
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