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william lafayette William Lafayette Gray
February 13, 1947 - June 28, 2018

William Lafayette Gray passed away on June 28, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Shirley Corbin Gray, sons & daughters in law: Bernard Keith & Devona Kay Gray and Byron Heath Gray & Natasha Robinson; granddaughter: Paige Alexandria Gray; brother & sister in law: Robert & Regina Gray; sister: Carolyn Gray and a host of nieces and nephews.

Louisa Meyer kindly shared that William died unexpectedly Wednesday morning. William was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, had a successful procedure, but had an adverse reaction to a medication.

After ARCO, William taught in Dallas ISD where he and Louisa reconnected. “We stayed in touch via Facebook and had a long lunch together last year. We laughed a lot and, as you know, he was always full of wisdom. I especially liked learning about his fraternity’s mentoring program,” emailed Louisa.

You may write his family at: 1908 Windmill Hill Ln DeSoto, Texas 75115.

The family will receive friends at the Friendship West Baptist Church, 2020 W. Wheatland Rd., Dallas, TX 75232 on Tuesday - July 3, 2018 from 10:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. with the Funeral Service beginning at 11:00 A.M. with Reverand Claude Bradshaw, officiating. Interment will follow in Holy Redeemer Cemetery, DeSoto, Texas.

Read the full obituary here.

dallas event blog 2018 houston

Berryhill Baja Grill, Houston
We planned our Houston happy hour to coincide with NAPE and were pleased that Joe Sinner, Rick Payne, Christy Smith, David Nicklin and Jamie Robertson came to the happy hour following NAPE activities. Other new faces included John Bridges, Executive Director, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, Wyn Michals who has her own company, PetroPure. Wyn caught up with several friends including David Dubois and Janeen Judah whom she first met at Super School. Wyn shared that she worked in gas marketing for Dan McGinnis in Plano. Joan Kennedy who is looking for her next career opportunity, came along for her first ARCO Alumni happy hour.

With oil at $65 a barrel, the mood was positive at NAPE, with investment bankers keen to find opportunities.

Career moves are fewer, but continue. John Gillespie moved from Chevron to WT Offshore, Tim Seidel who is with the BP L48 group, shared that they had moved back into their offices that week, and the first floor was still under construction following Hurricane Harvey. Doug Peck and Bob Kramm are both with BHP and Prabodh Pathak is with ExxonMobil. Craig Mosely does both freelance photography and work for the Houston Chronicle. Brad Berg and Wes Peirce drove in from The Woodlands.

Retirees included Mike McKee and Janeen Judah. Janeen shared that she will retire from Chevron in April.

As our evening drew to a close, Jennifer Bell, with Advancial drew two names for raffle prizes which were awarded to Joe Sinner, Legacy Reserves and Mark Landt, Stellar Oil and Gas.

dallas event blog 2018 houston

Bent Tree Country Club, Dallas
Thanks to Steve Suellentrop for making the Bent Tree Country Club available for our ARCO Alumni. The Dallas networking happy hour was sponsored by Advancial and Contek Solutions. We appreciate the continued support of our sponsors who enable us to get together as we approach twenty years since ARCO was acquired. Jim Johnstone, President, Contek Solutions, had flown in from Minneapolis the evening before the happy hour and due to lightning and thunder, was diverted to Lubbock. The flight landed in Dallas at 3a.m. and we are grateful Jim had the energy to attend!

In addition to our Dallas residents, Bab Anderson drove in from Houston and Pat and Ken Thompson and Gerry Suellentrop were in town from Anchorage. Jamie Robertson, Salt Creek Petroleum and Mark Landt, Stellar Oil and Gas attended both our Houston and Dallas happy hours. Mark's Houston home was impacted by Hurricane Harvey and they are living in Plano.

Carolyn Hunter Hale framed a picture of Harold Inman and set up a memorial including balloons and a candle.

Carolyn also was able to catch up with Ian Hogg, Carolyn Howington, and Gary McKiddy who worked in the Internal Auditing Department together at ARCO. Carolyn Howington is at CIGNA, Carolyn Hunter Hale is with Reef Exploration, Ian is consulting through his company ERK solutions, Gary is CFO at Premier Nationwide Lending.

Ken had spent the day at the Pioneer board meeting and he and Pat celebrated their son’s birthday later that evening. Mike Camara and Steve Sinclair work at Pioneer Natural Resources. Gerry is working for Caelus and has the unenviable commute between Dallas and Anchorage. On the positive side, he sees more of his brother Steve and sister-in-law, gourmet chef, Betty. Steve retired from Hunt Oil in January and he and Betty are enjoying skiing, seeing their children and grandchildren and an upcoming trip to Spring Training. Martin Wouch, also with Hunt, attended. Jocelyn Spellman, Cynthia Thomas, SandDollar Financial; James Doyle, IBM, are among our regular attendees along with Carlton and Mary Karlik. Carlton is with Contek Solutions, our event sponsor.

New faces included Melinda Wright, TPG Global; Steve Saleh, Nancy Collum, Kenneth and Barbara Dickerson, and Mike and Gail Seward who met at ARCO in the 1980s.

Chris Moore, Moyes & Company, shared he has always been out of town and was thrilled to finally attend an ARCO alumni gathering.

This was also Mary Sculley’s first ARCO gathering; Mary runs The Exercise Coach with her husband Pat.

Raju Checka, Anil Chopra, PetroTel; Hoyt Taylor II, Larry Asbury, and Suzanne Larsen all attended with their spouses, making for a nice evening.

A number of our alumni are retired or consulting, thereby enabling them to travel to visit children, grandchildren and explore new areas.

We had a record number of Anchorage residents at our Dallas happy hour.

Ian Hogg and Diane Camara won Advancial branded prizes. Thank you Natalie Storrs, our Advancial sponsor, whose charm and warmth added to our annual Dallas event.

Members who updated their information or joined recently whom we hope to see next time include Ruth Ann Meek, Cindy Daniels, and Tom Schmitt. Log on to read what members are doing.

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Harold InmanHarold Inman passed away Tuesday, January 2, in Richmond, TX after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Harold was a native of Wilmington, NC and a graduate of New Hanover High School ('66) and Wake Forest University ('70) with a degree in Spanish. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA where he learned Farsi. He later mastered Portuguese, French and Malay. While stationed at Ft. Hood, he met his future wife Mollie (née Melone), who was a student at the University of Texas. He attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas and earned an MBA. ARCO petroleum company and later Enron recognized his language expertise and sent Harold all over the world working for them. After nearly 30 years in the oil industry, Harold retired to his ranch in West Texas.

Unable to stay retired for long, Harold returned to college and earned his Masters degree in Education from Texas Tech University. He taught at Rotan High School until his lifelong love of hunting got the better of him and he decided to turn it into a full-time profession. He and Mollie moved to South Texas and he managed customer relations at an Orvis-endorsed Five Star hunting resort in northern Mexico. He eventually settled in Richmond, TX, where he was an adamant giver of his time and resources to the Houston Safari Club, Patrick Williamson Foundation and Sky High for St. Jude.

Harold is survived by his wife of 44 years, his sons Ross and Charlie, their respective wives Hope and Fiona, his grandchildren Cash (7), Lucy (6), Austin (5) and Caroline (2), and his brothers Philip and Robert. A service will be held on Monday, January 8, at 11am at Wrightsboro Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC. He will be buried at his family's ancestral land in Ash, NC. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society.

'Shark' Keith Lynch Reviews Ideas Pitched by 'Sparks'

Most of us have viewed or are at least familiar with the tv series, Shark Tank. In a clever play on words, the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee hosted three forums in 2017 called the Spark Tank. The IADC Spark Tanks are forums where new and developing technologies (“sparks”) are presented to a panel of operators and contractors (“sharks”), who provide feedback to the presenter. The purpose is to provide technology developers with insights on what is important to their prospective customers. Thirty minutes are allotted for each topic; 15 minutes for a pitch presentation then Q&A. ARCO Alumnus Keith Lynch was a ‘shark’ on August 2.

Keith chairs the Drilling Engineers Committee for IADC (formerly known as the Drilling Engineering Association, DEA, a group focused on facilitating JIPs for new drilling related technologies). He took over the role from Ben Bloys, Chevron, who is also a former ARCO colleague.

There is sometimes a vast disconnect between a good idea and a great product, and the Spark Tanks attempts to close that gap in a good-natured, productive manner,” IADC Group Vice President/Publisher Mike Killalea said of the Spark Tanks, which is his brain child.

“The Spark Tank has been fun for everybody” said Keith Lynch. “IADC sends out a meeting notice to attend the Spark Tank and see the technologies. We created an opportunity for ideas to be presented to drilling contractors and operators in a format like Shark Tank,” said Keith. “The presenters are people with an innovation or invention. They run the full spectrum, and might be entrepreneurs working in a garage, a small company looking to expand a product line, or major service companies pitching an idea. The next Spark Tank is December 6. See:

The goal is to offer an environment where new ideas are pitched that have not gotten traction elsewhere.

“Everyone thinks they have their own secret sauce to improve a product or service,” said Keith. 

The role of the “Sharks” is to assess the technologies discussed and offer advice on options to fund/promote the development and use.

The audience is a good cross-section of drilling contractors and operators. If someone in the audience likes a presentation, they can approach the presenters afterward. The role of the sharks is to offer advice, suggest whom to speak to, or how to further the technology. The sharks also point out any flaws they see. “It a classic free advice scenario where the inventor might make a connection and ultimately get an endorsement where someone pays for their technology,” said Keith.

A Wells Operations Advisor at ConocoPhillips in Houston, Keith does committee work with both the SPE and the DEC. “Like my work with SPE, the DEC efforts are meant to promote positive activity in the industry,” explained Keith. “ConocoPhillips encourages the technical staff to participate in this type- of professional organization involvment.”