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25-year U.S. Navy officer takes flight at bp: David’s story

17 August 2020
In the transition to reimagine bp, David plays a pivotal role training employees, supporting competency programs and improving human performance

In his 25 years in the U.S. Navy, David built a distinguished military career. Flying tactical aircrafts like the F-14A in combat, David accumulated over 4,200 flight hours and 920 carrier landings. He served as commander of Training Air Wing One and under his leadership produced more than 350 Student Naval Aviators. 


David, or known as his call sign “Beaker,” loved the thrill that came with every minute spent in the skies. In 2013, facing a shift in roles that would land him back on the ground and into an administrative and leadership function, he found himself reflecting on his next career path. “Asking myself, ‘what’s next?’, I realized that I was ready to transition to something new,” David reflects. 


As a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, David was able to attend the Service Academy Career Conference. It was here that he first connected with bp and discovered how his experience in the military could translate to the energy industry. 


Championing safety through military precision


David was hired into bp’s competence assessment program, where he trains employees in the wells group on effective decision-making and communication skills and teaches them how to navigate crises. This ensures they have the skills and training they need to move through the energy transition.

In aviation, one key component to avoid making repeat mistakes is ‘critical self-assessment and debriefing.’ The energy industry is adopting this approach to improve its organizational learning and embrace human performance aspects that improve safety and reliability.

David enjoys winning over people who are initially skeptical of the training exercises. By the end of the week, their eyes light up. He says, “It’s rewarding to know my efforts, along with those of my team, are having a great impact.”


He cites his work as an example of the many ways bp looks externally and internally for best practices. In this current transition to reimagine bp, the company is embracing fresh perspectives, which he thinks will help bp to reinvent itself. 

Leadership in the military consists of taking care of your troops and sailors. The mothers and fathers of America are trusting you with their kids, so if you are putting them in harm’s way, you need to give them the best opportunity, the best training and the best resources to do their job successfully. It is the same at bp.

A new mission: fighting a global pandemic


In addition to working remotely for bp during the coronavirus pandemic, David is volunteering with the Civil Air Patrol in a new safety mission. Over the summer, he has flown COVID-19 samples from Houston to the Texas Department of Emergency Management in Austin.


David has completed nearly 20 missions and says, “I still really enjoy flying, and it’s great to put my skills to use for a good cause – while also being able to continue my work for bp.”

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