From Gas Pump to President: Enid-Based Continental Resources Executive Reflects on His Career, Energy Industry

Article excerpt

Jeff Hume had no intention of staying in his hometown of Enid after he finished high school; instead, he went off to work.

He had a part-time job at a filling station and wanted to go someplace new, but decided to make his way without college. He took a job in the oil field in western Oklahoma.

"I graduated from Enid High in 1969 and went out and got a job," he said. "I didn't think I needed college. The oil industry was a big part of Enid. Champlin Petroleum was huge here and every major oil company had a field office in Enid."

Hume was doing fine, he thought - starting pay was $1.75 an hour, he was his own man and life was good - until he spent a winter in western Oklahoma.

"That was pretty much when I decided that college wasn't such a bad idea," he said.

Hume did an about-face and enrolled at Oklahoma State University.

"I started out wanting to be an architect, but I discovered I didn't have the artistic bent needed," he said.

But Hume liked things mechanical; he liked new ideas and he liked exploring technology.

"I still read magazines like Popular Mechanics," he said. "I like seeing the new ideas people come up with."

It was that love of machines and his early exposure to the oil industry that pushed him to a new direction. In 1975, he earned bachelor's degree petroleum engineering technology. A month after he got his degree, he married his wife, Francee.

A short time after that, he left Enid for the second time: This time, he thought, for good.

"I finished at OSU in 1975, and moved to Midland, Texas, to work for Sun Oil," he said. "I spent three years there, left then to work for the Monsanto Company. They had a small E and P unit."

He didn't stay gone.

"I went back to Enid," he said. "I went to work for a small independent, the FCD Corp. My wife is from Enid too and, since we had children, we wanted to be closer to family, so we came back. The company I worked for sold in 1982 and I stayed with it for about a year. Then Mr. (Harold) Hamm approached me and I went to work for Continental in 1983."

That decision changed Hume's life.

Now, a little more than 26 years after he returned to his hometown, Hume was named the president of Continental Resources - a position he said he's humbled and honored to have.

"I've been at Continental for 26 years," he said. "I started taking the upward path and about a year ago. Mr. Hamm and the board moved me out of the operations group to the position of chief operating officer. I spent a year growing into that role."

Hume's work with former Continental president Mark Monroe has prepared him for his new position, he said.

"I had been working closely with Mark, our prior president," he said. "I'd been doing a lot of the investor relations on the board and learning more of the business end of the company."

On Wednesday, his work paid off.

"Mr. Hamm made the recommendation to the board," Hume said. "They notified the staff on Wednesday and the new position became official."

And while Hume will tell you he's honored to be Continental's president, he'll also say the staff at Continental is a team and how well that staff works together.

"It's really a reflection of the company," he said. …