Ray Ross


Ray Ross

What makes a company great? Most would say the people. Someone with a strong work ethic who is dedicated, professional, and trustworthy. Someone respectful, honest, humble, and great at building teams. Someone who often talks about going fishing but seldom ever does. Someone who works one hundred fifty miles per hour all the time but loves every minute of it. Who fits this category? Ray Ross.

Ray Ross was born, raised and currently lives in Hobart, OK. This small, Southwest Oklahoma town is where Ray, at a young age, learned the importance of a strong work ethic. His dad taught him this as a teenager before he passed away. He recalls what his dad told him about working a job: “Whatever you do, be the best at it and give an honest day’s work.” Ray also drew inspiration from his mother, who raised three kids on her own. She died when he was twenty-eight. “Appreciate your parents,” Ray says. One of his first jobs as a young boy was at the Hobart stockyards, keeping the pens clean. He was the best at it, and once the word got around, everyone wanted him to clean their pens. When Ray broke out on his first drilling rig as a chain hand, he was the best chain hand in the world. “I carried my chain around in a five-gallon bucket. That’s what you said back then.” Ray has had many people take him under their wing, like John Coakley from Hobart. “He was like a father figure to me, and I got put on the right foot because of him.” Ray also contributes who he is today to Penny, his wife of forty-two years. “She has been with me the entire forty years of my oilfield career and supports me no matter what. Penny is the key to making it all work.”

Ray has always been a self-motivator. Early in his oil and gas career, he spent many years on large drilling rigs and worked all the crew positions. During one of the downturns, he became a certified meat cutter for one year. “I was not an inside person.” He returned to the oil and gas industry overseas in solids control and then tour-pushing for several years. Ray worked for Goober Drilling (Keen Energy Services) in 2006 at their Stillwater 80th Street Yard, building new SCR and AC rigs. Ray went on to become a Drilling Superintendent and in the name of professional growth and at the direction of the CEO at the time, he became the Operation’s Manager (inside work) for a short season. When Latshaw acquired Keen in 2012, Ray continued for another decade as a drilling superintendent until it was time to retire and go fishing.

In January of 2022, Ray retired for eight months. His wife and he got to do everything together, especially when Penny was not teaching and out for summer break. They spent time with family, took the boat out, and, of course, got to go fishing. They enjoyed meals together and took their time because they were not in a hurry anymore. Penny would often say, “Ray, you don’t have to gobble that food down; you don’t have to be anywhere.” Ray says they got to do forty years’ worth of honey-dos during those eight months. “I pretty much got ‘em all caught up.”

When Penny returned to teaching in the fall, Ray spent time alone at home. He says he thinks his body went into work withdrawals. Ray was active but not like his body was used to. He admits his health during that time was not the best. “I think that gets a lot of people when they retire.” At the suggestion of his wife, Ray called Joey Stockton, the VP of Operations at Latshaw and asked if he could help with anything. A few texts later between Ray and Joey, he was back from fishing. He came back as a third-party contractor and currently works with the men at the same Stillwater 80th Street Yard as a project manager. During a monthly check-in with his doctor, Ray was asked what he was doing differently because his health had drastically improved. He said, “I went back to work.”

Ray says it wasn’t until he retired that he realized how much he missed the people. He is back working at the same yard with some of the guys he has known for years. “I watched these guys come up, and they are like my kids.” Just like when Ray received fatherly advice from his dad and mentors; his influence continues with the new generation of roughnecks. One of his sayings is, “If it is the right thing to do, just do it. You’ll be backed one hundred percent when you are doing the right thing.” Ray tells the new guys breaking out that you must like what you are doing. “This is the business you chose. It’s important to be dependable and always show respect to others. Give twelve hours each day and always help each other. Do this, and your crew becomes family.” Who is Ray Ross? He is the man who has spent his entire adult life being fair and treating everyone right.