H.O. Mohr Research
Engineering, Texas A&M University
involved with mechanical analysis, design, fabrication, and
testing of offshore oil drilling and production equipment, plus
the development of proposals and interaction with clients.
"In college they
don't teach you how to act in an office environment, or even how
to act when you're offshore on a platform. They don't teach you
how to communicate effectively with people, and so that's some
of the things that you learn every day. But, most importantly,
from college, it's not just learning the course work, but
learning how to learn. If you learn how to learn you can go
every day pick up on just about anything. If you can communicate
and you know how to learn, you'll do well."
communication and presentation skills, because success may often
depend on the ability to make effective presentations to
clients. Once on the job, an engineer must continue to develop
his/her expertise, for this is the essence of an engineering
"In college they don't teach you how to act in an office environment, or
even how to act when you're offshore on a platform. They don't teach you
how to communicate effectively with people, and so that's some of the
things that you learn every day. But, most importantly, from college,
taking what you learned. It's not just learning the course work, but
learning how to learn. If you learn how to learn you can go and every day
pick up on just about anything. You'll know where to look for the answers.
And when you pick up on the communications skills that you need -- which
is talking on the phone, writing the basic correspondence and letters to
people -- that is more important I think, so you can know where to look
for things. If you can communicate, and you know how to learn, you'll do
Q: Craig, let me ask you.
After you began your initial studies as an ME, how did you get into this
I actually didn't study as an
ME. I am actually an ocean engineer by degree, but got into the
mechanical-engineering side of things. I started out in pipeline
engineering for another company, and then moved over. I had known Harvey
Moore through the industry, and actually just moved over here to do some
pipeline work and gradually worked my way into the mechanical testing side
Q: So are you a mechanical
engineer or, by degree, an ocean engineer solely?
I am by degree an ocean
engineer. The mechanical background that everyone has, both civil, all
engineers have the basic fundamentals. Statics, dynamics and mechanics and
materials kind of course work. That basic foundation is the same for
mechanical and ocean engineering. Now, I utilize mostly that basic stress
analysis, which everyone knows. But I have specialized also to know ocean
waves, wave forces and structures, current and windloadings and things
like that. So I apply mostly, in my job, mechanical engineering, solely.
There is some of my ocean engineering background that I do utilize here.
Q: So you've been out of
school now, out of college, for about four years?
Two years. I graduated
from Texas A&M in 1994. Actually, in August was when I received my
Q: And since that time, in
the two years that you've been working, has it exclusively been at
the company you're at now?
No. I worked for J.P.
Kenney, a pipeline-engineering firm. It was an office job. I would
sit at my computer and my desk and work out some calculations and
print things out. It really didn't appeal to me. I like getting
outdoors and getting my hands dirty, and in a smaller company like
H.L. Moore, you get to learn the business -- the project side, the
proposal, the management of people and the management of the
projects -- quicker than you would if you're starting on the bottom
rung of the ladder in a big corporate-development office.
Q: Are you making more
money now than you were two years ago?
Yes. When I made the
move from J.P. Kenney, I took a sizeable increase in salary. And
since, I have done well here at H.L. Moore and have continued to see
increases in pay.
Q: Do you think that what
you're being paid to do your work here as an engineer is
commensurate with the time and effort that you put into receiving an
Absolutely. I'm a little different. I come from a blue-collar
working family. Growing up, through high school, there were several
jobs I worked; union jobs, loading trucks, teamsters. My dad's been
in the union for 20 some-odd years. And so the philosophy that my
family had was, "Maybe you're wasting your time, you're reading
books and you're not getting some hands-on experience when you could
be out working and making money." And my salary actually is
something, if I were to go to school, I never would have thought I
would make what I'm making today even after going to college. You
know, two years after graduation, I thought maybe ten years after
graduation I'd be where I am. And so college has really changed not
just the structure of how that will increase, but also it changed
the philosophy that I had been raised in. And there were times when
I thought that the pay should be based on the amount of physical
work that you put into the job. Here it's more mental. I'm in a job
that pays straight-salary pay. I don't get paid for overtime, so
it's tough coming from a union background to work 60 hours a week
and get paid for 40. My family still doesn't understand it. I can't
communicate to them what that means and why I would do that, but I'm
in here a lot of times till nine o'clock in the evening. I come in
on weekends to finish things up when I've had plenty of work.
Q: How many women work at
We don't have any female
engineers. We do have some technical, and then we have a large staff
of secretaries now. We've got five secretaries, all women, and then
we've got an office administrator, and there's two technical staff.
One of them is a sales type, for selling engineering jobs and
Q: So for whatever reason
it seems that at least at this company now, women are a support side
of the operation, by and large.
Right. This job is a
little different than the last job I had had. Out of 60 people, we
had 13 female engineers that worked on staff, and then we had a
staff of support, the secretaries.
Q: In general, do you
think that in the world of being an engineer, women can advance as
quickly as men can?
I think for women, it's all potential. If they think that they can
move up, and they've got the ability to do so, they've got to go out
and get that. They can't expect to just be moved up due to
experience and things like that. Just like any other man or woman
it's independent of sex, race or any other kind of thing. It's
ability and potential.
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