Spotlight onSteve Hulce

From that day in 1976 when Steve Hulce borrowed $300 from a bank for traveling from California to the Gulf Coast to start his first job as a Rig Steward to the moment in 2011 when Steve was named Rig Manager-Performance for the newbuild Deepwater Champion, it has been an incredible career.

“In 35 years, I have not had a bad experience with a supervisor or manager. They have all been very supportive. If I ever needed something, I got it. Proper training has never been an issue,” Steve said, also giving credit to his outlook on life in general—“If it’s a bad day, make it a good one.”

From his job as a steward, Steve worked his way through the ranks as a Roustabout, Roughneck, Derrickman, Assistant Driller, Driller, Toolpusher, Drilling Superintendent, Offshore Installation Manager and now, Rig Manager-Performance. He has worked all over the world starting in the Santa Barbara Channel off California, Spain, Portugal and Italy on the Glomar Coral Sea, North Sea and the West coast of Africa on the Glomar Biscay II and the Adriatic VIII. He has also worked in Indonesia on the Glomar Pacific and Alaska on the Glomar CIDS (Concrete Island Drilling System).

Steve has spent the last half of his career in shipyards—in Mississippi converting the Glomar Biscay I to the Enserch Garden Banks, on to San Francisco, Oregon and Alabama converting the Hughes Glomar Explorer to the Glomar Explorer. He also worked in Belfast on newbuild Glomar C.R. Luigs, in Singapore on newbuild GSF Development Driller II and in South Korea on newbuild Deepwater Champion.

“The construction and commissioning of the dual-activity drillship went extremely well. I am most proud of the crew. We identified the right people for the right jobs and were able to bring them in early. They had a lot of time to get to know each other as people, which creates a strong team,” he said. “The support I received from the people in the Ankara and Cairo offices have been a tremendous help during my transformation from a rotator to working as an Expat Resident.”

The Deepwater Champion recently completed its first well in the Black Sea for ExxonMobil with minimal downtime, 92.5% Service Quality rating by the customer, and no recordable incidents. (See customer letter here.)

Steve and his wife, Lori, live in Ankara, Turkey, the base of operations for the Deepwater Champion. It’s the first time he has actually lived in one of the countries while working there. With two grown children on their own—Lacey, 28, and Jake, 25—Steve and Lori are enjoying this chapter of their 26-year marriage. “Rig workers cannot do what they do without strong family support at home,” he said. “Lori has supported me every step of the way.” And with their granddaughter, Lyla, back in the States, Steve added, “Thank goodness for Skype!”

Just as he received the mentoring and training he needed along the way, Steve sees it as his duty to return the favor. “I do whatever I can to help others in the company succeed. When you watch them rise through the ranks and see their success, it’s rewarding.”