The Primitive Podcast: Justin Noseff

Posted by Leisa Redmon | November 9, 2020

Justin-Noseff-Primitive-Podcast

Continuing the topic of leading through adversity, we have Justin Noseff - owner of an oil and gas field service company, Divine Energy.


In this episode we take a peek inside what it's like being part of an industry that is going through such rapid transformation right now. We really appreciate Justin joining us and hope you enjoy his story.

Transcript 

Kade Wilcox:

Hi guys Kade here. For this week’s Primitive Podcast we have Justin Noseff. Justin owns an oil field service company called Divine Energy. He’s been running it for 14 years which means he started it at a very young age. He has a fascinating story. He grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico. And I invited Justin on, one I wanted to hear about his background and his company and his story. But what I appreciate Justin and him joining us during this time is, if you know anything about the oil and gas industry, you know that right now it's at an historic low and going through some historic challenges. So I really appreciated Justin’s vulnerability, being honest, and taking the time to share from his perspective what it's like leading a business through adversity and dealing with all the ups and downs that are notoriously true of the oil and gas industry. So I am really appreciative of him joining us and hope you enjoy his story and just a peek inside of what it's like being part of an industry that is going though such rapid transformation right now. Thank you as always for listening. We really appreciate you being a listener, and being part of The Primitive Podcast.

Kade Wilcox:

Justin, I really appreciate you being with me today. Thanks with everything that we have going on in the world and very likely your business. I really appreciate you taking some time to connect and so I'd love to start out by just telling our audience a little bit about who Justin Noseff is and just a little bit about your background.

Justin Noseff:

Cool. Thanks Kade for having me on here. My name's Justin Noseff. We have an oil and gas service company and Hobbs, New Mexico. We also have a yard in Midland as well. We provide all truck services, worked with service trucks, downhole, and surface rental equipment. I guess we've been doing this, June will be 14 years.

Kade Wilcox:

Wow, man. That's awesome. Congratulations. That's a long time for any business to be at it, but especially in oil and gas where things are always so up and down. So congrats on that. That's amazing.

Justin Noseff:

Thank you. So I grew up in Hobbs. My entire family has been in oil and gas mostly on the drilling rig side. And I started working in it when I was 16 at Patterson Drilling, now known as Patterson-UTI drilling. I worked in a shop there, started driving a truck, helping move drilling rigs, and then a couple of years later I had the opportunity to buy my own truck, forklift, and trailer and that's how we got started.

Kade Wilcox:

That's awesome. At what point did you realize you wanted to be your own boss and start your own business? Was it just like a light bulb moment or did you just luck into it? Or what did that evolution look like from going from being an employee to someone who wanted to start and run their own business?

Justin Noseff:

Honestly, it just happened.

Kade Wilcox:

Just happens. That's probably the best way, honestly. That's really cool. Approximately how many oil and gas downturns have you lived through as a business owner? Because I think even even for our listeners who aren't really familiar with the nuances and particulars of the oil and gas industry, most of them are familiar enough with ups and downs just because of what they hear on the news and things like that. So how many booms and busts have you lived through in your 14 years of leading Divine Energy?

Justin Noseff:

Well this one that we're in right now was making the third bust. 2009 it wasn't too bad, and then 2015, 2016, 2017, now 2020. Here we go.

Kade Wilcox:

Yeah. What are some of the things you've learned from that? Again, for the casual listener who doesn't know all the ins and outs of the oil and gas industry, what are some of the things that you think about when you're going through a season like this in the oil and gas industry? And what are some of the things that you've tried to learn or you try to observe as you find yourself going through these different seasons?

Justin Noseff:

For me, I always try to learn something new coming out of it. Obviously, every industrial change, every boom and bust, typically whenever it comes out of a bust, everything's different. Same with oil and gas. So technology obviously is a huge benefit now whereas several years ago it wasn't. Less people want to be in oil and gas every time there's a bust. Kade times like a bust you try not to be so worried about it, you know what I mean? As hard as that is to say you just gotta stay focused on what you can control today. And not so much worry about the future in a situation like this.

Kade Wilcox:

Yeah, I think that's really good advice. And that would be true for anyone, whether they're in the oil and gas industry going through a bust or when we're recording this in late March 2020, and everything the economy is going through, both economically speaking but then also just all the unknown around the coronavirus. That's really good advice in terms of you can only control what you can control and that has a real calming effect when you really take that seriously and that's how you approach it. Do you find that there also are a tremendous amount of opportunities when you're going through a challenge like this? Or is it more about hunkering down and trying to survive the downturn?

Justin Noseff:

Well, like I said, this is my third one. Obviously there are opportunities, but the older you get, the less opportunity you tend to see, especially in situations like this. The first one, even the second one, '15 and '16, you're kinda naive too what can really happen. And I feel like being naive, there's just more opportunity. So for me, this downturn I've actually taken three of our best people and actually given them operational roles and told them, Hey, you guys go run with the operation. Because I feel like I'm going to be a hindrance to the company and opportunity because I'm going to always see, Hey this didn't work last time or this didn't or that didn't. So I feel like you bring in a fresh set of eyes with their ability to go find what's there and let me sit back and run the back office stuff and let them change the dynamics of the operations today.

Kade Wilcox:

That's encouraging to hear. That takes a lot of self awareness and it makes total sense what you're saying in terms of the more of these you go through, the more it changes your approach or your ability to see through it based on what you've learned and what you experienced with all the other ones. So that took a lot of self awareness. Was it hard for you to do that? You're the leader of the company, it's your company. Or was that an easy move given that it was important to have clear vision and fresh ideas to see how you could capitalize on this opportunity?

Justin Noseff:

Well, yeah, it's hard for sure. I guess I don't mind changing things. I think change is always good. Keeps people motivated, keeps people excited about what's going on. So those guys that are overseeing the entire operation, they've been with me a while. 10 years, eight years, and going on three, I believe. Those guys are awesome and I trust them enough to go do it. You know? It's hard though.

Kade Wilcox:

Sure. Yeah. That's good. You have a high level of trust with them and that certainly certainly helps. So you have around 80 or so employees. How do you see your role as a leader right now as you help lead your company through these current times? What are some of the things that you're really focusing on in terms of your leadership and what you're trying to provide to your team right now?

Justin Noseff:

Number one thing is I'm using the word concern instead of worried. Even though it kind of means the same thing, I just think it comes across a lot different. If I'm anxious and worried all the time, then obviously other people will be the same way. You know? I just feel, like I said, it's me stepping back. Just let me do the back office stuff and let those guys run with the operations right now. That's my main focus today. Just, like I said Kade, a new perspective, there's nothing wrong with that.

Kade Wilcox:

Right. Absolutely. How do you treat failure? This podcast is primarily about leadership and business. So certainly, whether it's in an uptime or a downtime, as leaders, we're always failing, we make good decisions, we make bad decisions. How have you historically tried to learn from failure? Do you have any practical things that you do or is it more just reflective? How do you personally approach failure?

Justin Noseff:

I'm reflective of it. Reflective for the most part. I think you got to laugh about it. You got to accept failure. If you're not failing, you're not going to change. And we live in a changing fast paced world right now.

Kade Wilcox:

Right. Yeah. That's 100% true. How do you balance all your work and your family? You've got three kids or four kids.

Justin Noseff:

Three.

Kade Wilcox:

You have three kids, happily married, you have 80+ employees, you have three or four different locations, you have uptimes, you have downtimes in your industry. So how do you practically try to approach balancing your leadership, your work responsibilities, all the things that you face there as well as being present and engaged with your family. What kind of approach do you take there?

Justin Noseff:

You know I take my kids to school on Mondays and Fridays, and I'll try to pick them up from school on Friday. So we have an office here in Lubbock, so I'll work out of our office on Monday and out of our office here in Lubbock on Friday as well. So that's how I do it. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, they can be pretty hectic and traveling between Hobbs and Midland a lot. Then just spending time with them on the weekends.

Kade Wilcox:

Being fully engaged. Yeah.

Justin Noseff:

Yeah. With technology today I believe it's a lot easier today to have a work life balance. It still can be difficult, I'm sure you know.

Kade Wilcox:

For sure. Yeah. You have to be intentional about it. One thing I appreciate about what you said is you have a very intentional routine. It's Monday, I take him to school and pick them up. Friday I take them to school and pick them up. And that's very intentional and something that you could really protect. And then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday you just have to do whatever you have to do to make things work. So I love the intentionality of that and it makes a ton of sense. What do you think have been some of the biggest personal influences on your leadership, whether they're books or podcasts or people, or maybe even just learning experiences. When you think about your own leadership journey and who or what you've learned the most from, what comes to your mind?

Justin Noseff:

Well, I think podcasts. I'm not a big reader, so I'll do audio books, but I think it's the season of life you're in. One season may be nothing but podcasts, next season may be more audio books, and the next season may be an individual. I think you have to be open minded to it. And I just think you have to be self aware of the season you're in and where you're get the most benefits.

Kade Wilcox:

Yeah, that's good. That's good feedback. If you could think back to your younger self, let's go back 14 years ago, you're working for this other company and all of a sudden, next thing you know, you have equipment and now you're your own boss and you have your own business. What if you could go back 14 years ago, what types of advice would you give Justin 14 years ago as you embarked on starting and running your own business?

Justin Noseff:

You can't conquer the world.

Kade Wilcox:

It's true.

Justin Noseff:

Be patient. No matter how big or small the company is, you can't make a change overnight and see the impact tomorrow. It takes time. And the more you think those changes through the better off they are in the long run. I've learned that over time. If we want to make a drastic change in operation or accounting or whatever it is, really think that through and test a few areas to see if it even makes sense. Cause the more people you add to the system, the longer it takes to change and then you end up down these little rabbit holes and you're not getting anywhere.

Kade Wilcox:

Right. Yeah. It's really good. I'm always really surprised at the number of people when I asked them that question on this podcast that talks about patience. And so that's clearly something I think a lot of leaders probably have to really think about and focus on. But it's hard when you're trying to make things happen and care for the business and grow the business, to be thoughtful and to be patient when you're thinking through most decisions. So that's good advice. Well thanks a ton for being on the podcast with us. It's really great to hear your perspective, particularly in really interesting times like this where there's so much uncertainty. We're pulling for you and your people and for all those really being impacted by the economy and all the unknown. Your people are lucky to have you as a leader. I've no doubt you'll come out of this stronger than ever and really appreciate you taking time today to be on the podcast with us.

Justin Noseff:

Yeah I appreciate it, thank you Kade.

Kade Wilcox:

We'll talk to you soon.

 

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