Wendy King – A passion for technical excellence

A passion for technical excellence and advocating for the oil and natural gas industry has driven Wendy King’s career. This passion recently earned her the inaugural Lifetime Contribution Award at the Queensland Resource Council (QRC) International Women’s Day Breakfast.

The award is recognition by the QRC for long and distinguished service to the global resources sector and was presented on International Women’s Day.

Currently the president of the Australia East business unit, Wendy’s career has taken her around the world in technical and leadership roles for ConocoPhillips.

After graduating from the Colorado School of Mines as a Petroleum Engineer, Wendy joined ConocoPhillips and has worked in technical and leadership roles in locations in Wyoming, Texas and Louisiana, the Netherlands, Scotland, Nigeria, Alaska and now Australia.

She has worked on Alaska’s Arctic Circle in the permafrost, offshore platforms in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico, drilling rigs in over 3000 feet of water, and many onshore oil and gas fields in the United States.

“I joined ConocoPhillips 28 years ago for their commitment to technical excellence in developing oil and gas globally and my career has taken me around the globe,” Ms King said.

“I have loved all of the places I’ve lived in, but Alaska and Australia have touched me in ways I didn’t envision because they became home to my children,” she said.

Since 1995 her choice to pursue a global career has been supported by her husband who is a successful engineer in his own right. “Whether or not you are a dual or single career family, balancing work and life is not straight forward,” Ms King said.

“My husband is a role model in every way and has demonstrated to my son and my daughter that when you both work outside the home it takes both parents to raise a family.  

“In my view it is equally important to have both male and female role models that demonstrate the values of the “non-traditional” family as we move forward to the workforce of the future,” she said.

Having held technical and leadership roles within the company Wendy now finds herself influencing the direction ConocoPhillips takes on business objectives and how we engage and retain a diverse professional workforce.

“I have a particular interest in diversity and inclusion and recognise it is much more than a gender issue.  I think the next step in our diversity and inclusion journey is changing the way we are thinking and promoting our sector to people of diverse backgrounds and ensuring we are constantly checking our unconscious bias,” Wendy said. “

Engineers can change the world and are shaping a response to some of the biggest challenges of our time. Ensuring food security, energy security, and water security are just a few of the ways engineers are improving the quality of life of many. “Yet, this is mostly invisible to the average person. As a sector I believe we need to be better at sharing these stories and achievements to inspire the next generation of our workforce,” she said.

Wendy has a firm belief that the sector needs to become better at sharing its stories and achievements to inspire the next generations of the workforce and is an active mentor and willing shares her professional experiences and stories when the opportunity presents.

“As a leader I believe it’s important to actively advocate for the industry and I do this through everything from board memberships to presenting at school career education and professional networking events,” Ms King said.

“I am a director of the board for the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia and the Australian Petroleum Production of Exploration Association (APPEA) and prior to moving to Australia served on the University of Alaska board of trustees, the Resource Development Council of Alaska board of directors and the United Way of Anchorage board.

“I believe that sharing my story and experiences is one way we will see more young women choosing career paths that lead to our industry and remaining in it,” she said.