This is a story about reinvention. A couple of years back things were a bit slow in the oil and gas business. We were on vacation in Florida and I was struggling to discern what I could do to use what I know and build up my business. My wife and I took a tour boat ride of Cumberland Island Georgia and along the way the tour guide told us how Fernandina Beach Florida used to be the shrimping capital of the East Coast. But due to foreign competition, the price of shrimp dropped dramatically (sounds like what happened to oil, doesn’t it?). Anyway, the Burbank family had been making shrimping nets for about a hundred years and with the drop in shrimp prices, the number of shrimpers and demand for their nets fell dramatically. The owner of the net company liked baseball and started to talk with various SEC teams about where they get their nets for practice cages, etc. He told them that he could provide them with nets, since that was his specialty. Since then, the company has been handed down a generation or so in the family. But now Burbank Sport Nets is the leader in installation and fabrication of backstop, batting cage, barrier and overhead netting. (

For the rest of our vacation I started to formulate a plan to use my knowledge of petroleum engineering and underground gas storage, along with my love of teaching to start the Brock Engineering Storage School. As soon as I got back I recruited my good friend Doug Elenbaas to join me in preparing the school. We now have the only school in in underground gas storage in the world. As they say, the rest is history.

Reinvention does not require throwing out the past, but rather using it to improve your future.

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