North American Oil & Gas Pipelines

NOV-DEC 2018

North American Oil & Gas Pipelines covers the news shaping the business of oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance in North America, including pipeline installation methods, integrity management innovations and managerial strategies.

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22 North American Oil & Gas Pipelines | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2 018 "We're better together," she says. "Rather than negotiate back and forth, we're looking for a scenario where one plus one equals three. We want the partnering to be at least win-neutral, not a win-lose scenario." Building a Team Current Washington Gas president and CEO Adrian Chapman describes Townsend's leadership qualities in two words: passion and mentorship. "Tracy is passionate about pipeline safety," Chapman says. "She is an ad- vocate as a distribution company in managing infrastructure. In seeing the big picture, Tracy understands how to evolve a pipeline system to best serve customers well into future. It's because of her passion that she has come to un- derstand the physics of a pipeline, even though she is not an engineer, and she would be the first to tell you that, but she thinks about the physics of a pipe- line like an engineer. Tracy approaches the work we do with a high degree of knowledge, and she brings a level of transparency to get others to be sup- portive of our efforts." As a mentor, Townsend has fostered a strong group of peers and subordinates to help her get the work done. "Tracy has built a team she works with who would do anything for her to achieve success for the company," Chapman says. "She has a core group of peers she interacts with on a daily basis, and she prioritizes that. It allows her to be engaged, and she demands others be engaged so that they come to the right conclusions. The team she has built, even when she's not there, the team mirrors her dedication every step of way." Townsend believes that leaders come in two general types, by position or by influence. That is, some people are put in a position of leadership by their job title and others are leaders by their actions. "I happen to be one by position, but more importantly I hope to be a leader by influence," she says. "It's im- portant to have the trust of the people working with and for you. You have to care about the individuals, not just the work." Being a good leader and building a strong team, Townsend says, requires a person to be somewhat courageous, to be an advocate for others and to stay true to oneself. "I know I can't do this all myself," she says. "I need a team. Because of my position, I could force them to be on my team, but I'm guessing I wouldn't get their best quality work. It's about people wanting to be on your team." Outside of her career, Townsend has learned important lessons through playing soccer. She has played the sport since grade school and continues to play in an adult league. "The biggest thing I have learned playing soccer is the idea of a team suc- cess," she says. "I was playing goalie one time in high school, and we lost a game. I was really down and out, and I remember I walked into my dad's of- fice with big tears in my eyes. It was a military office, and they were kind of sweeping up the dirt I left behind. My dad said, 'Let's see, how many players are on your team? It seems to me there were 10 other people who didn't get it right either.' A team is better together. Sometimes you're not your best, and you have to hope that the people on your team are at their best." Many Mentors In the construction contracting industry, Townsend says she learned everything she knows from the folks doing the work. When it came to Washington Gas, she learned the pro- cesses from the ground up too. "There's always a subject matter ex- pert," she says. "Even if they're not a leader in job title, they're a leader in their experience. I've had a bunch of mentors, even some I learned I don't want to be like them at all." At Washington Gas, Townsend credited Chapman, McCallister and her current boss Doug Staebler as having provided strong mentorship throughout her career. "One of the things that attracted me to this industry is the passion about doing the work and the willing- ness to share," Townsend says. "All I had to do was make them know I was interested in learning from them." However, the one person who stands atop Townsend's list of men- tors is her father. "It might sound kind of cheesy, but my dad is my hero," she says. "He's re- tired military, and the men and wom- en he commanded still stay in touch with him about their life events, whether it's a career choice, a child graduating or getting married. I hope to be just a little bit like him." Bradley Kramer is managing editor of North American Oil & Gas Pipelines. Contact him at Tracy Townsend (center) receives the 2018 Pipeline Leadership Award on Nov. 7 at the Pipeline Leadership Award in Houston. Here she is •anked by Mark Bridgers (left) of Continuum Capital and Bernie Krzys of Benjamin Media.

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