Growing up, Zack Raines played sports, and he has always enjoyed being part of a team, including OU’s rugby one in college. That’s part of what drew him to deciding to pursue a career in the energy industry, which is often a team-based field.
Next up, Raines, who graduated with a chemical engineering degree, will be participating in the Baker Hughes ASPIRE Early Career Development Program on the engineering and technology track. Baker Hughes is an energy technology company, and this program includes two, sixth-month rotations with different teams within the organization, followed by a 12-month rotation.
These rotations include areas ranging from additive manufacturing to oilfield services to working at a facility that builds equipment, Raines explained. His first rotation will begin in July, and he is still waiting to hear what area he’ll be focusing on. The program allows participants to travel to Baker Hughes’ different facilities not only within the United States but also around the world.
“Once you graduate the program, you're eligible to become a project leader or team lead in one of their divisions that hopefully you liked throughout the rotation or even try something else,” Raines said. “It’s basically a way to get you earmarked to one day be a team lead or some sort of leader within the company. They invest that time in you to give back to them, so it's a pretty cool program that I am excited I have the opportunity to be a part of and am really looking forward to.
“The fact that you interact with everyone from accounting and finance to the engineering side of things and everyone has to work cohesively, that's what’s always appealed to me about the line of work,” Raines continued. “I don't really know yet if I want to work on pumps or I'd rather work on drilling fluids or something, but the program is designed to give me that exposure.”
Raines was active in the Jerry Holmes Leadership Program for Engineers and Scientists (JHLP), which is open to students in both the Gallogly College of Engineering and the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy. The program focuses on five primary areas: personal development, interpersonal relationships, management and teamwork, leadership, and intercultural competence.
Through JHLP, Raines has been paired with a professional mentor for the past three years who works for an oil and gas company in Pittsburgh. Raines said that relationship was instrumental and he was able to bounce questions off of his mentor, talk through a difficult exam schedule, and connect with a network as he began his job search.
“Having that program and getting my mentor has opened up an entire network and I wouldn't have had that if I hadn't been a part of the program and been active in it,” Raines stated. “On top of the mentor side of things, Dr. Kim Graves Wolfinbarer (program director) did a great job of bringing in various speakers, and we had all sorts of events and different personal development to help with soft skills and things we don't stress necessarily as much in our day-to-day schooling activities. I’d say it’s probably been the most valuable extracurricular for me during school.”
During his time at OU, Raines completed two internships with Pioneer Natural Resources, an upstream oil and gas company based out of Irving, Texas. He first connected with the company at a career fair hosted by OU Career Services.
Outside of class, Raines was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and OU’s chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He encourages future students to consider getting involved in the student association related to their major because of the connections those groups provide.
“Being involved in those is just really important because it allows you to connect with classmates that are older and younger than you,” Raines said. “You meet more people in your major, and anytime you can interact with people in your class, I think that's really important because at the end of the day, you're going to be in a lot of classes together going forward.”