Shawn is Principal Consultant for Katalyst Data Management, responsible for implementation and growth of their U.S. consulting practice. He has over 24 years’ experience as a Data Management Professional for Marathon, Shell, Chevron, Maersk, BHP, and BP, in roles of increasing complexity from individual contributor to building and leading experienced teams and developing corporate data strategy. His work history includes projects to streamline data operations, improve data quality, build and integrate subsurface data systems of record, and design geoscience technical computing environments.
As current Chair of the SEG Technical Standards Committee, Shawn coordinates revisions to the geophysical data standards and engages operators, vendors and other standards groups to promote proper use and broader industry adoption.
Shawn achieved his CPDA certification in June of 2018, is a former member of the PPDM Certification Committee and current Co-chair of the PPDM Rules Committee.
Tell us about your data management professional journey. What did you aspire to be when you started your career?
In 1997 I had every intention of finishing my music degree, but once my son was born I needed a job that could pay the bills! My former youth pastor was onsite at Marathon for a few years on a contract that was supposed to only last a few months. He was ready to get back to running his company, saw potential in me and convinced them I’d be a good hire. So when I started I had no idea what to expect, and certainly no idea that I’d still be doing it today!
Tell us why taking the CPDA exam became a priority.
My team at BHP was an experienced bunch – most had 10+ years in the industry. It was important to me that their skills and experience were recognized by the company. I figured the CPDA certification was a good way to provide an objective measure of their knowledge of core data management competencies, so I encouraged them to sit for the exam. And if I was going to ask them to do it I decided I should too.
What tangible and intangible benefits have you gained from being a CPDA?
Well, since I’ve added “CPDA” to my signature line I sometimes get asked what it means. So it’s a great way to talk about our profession and promote the certification. And because the CPDA credential requires Professional Development Units, I am much more deliberate with my continuing education and volunteerism.
You are an active volunteering member of the PPDM Association. Tell us how serving on a committee has elevated your level of knowledge in the data management profession.
Volunteering has connected me with some really smart people who share my passion for Data Management. Many are from different backgrounds, some have been doing this longer than me, and some are early career, so I am exposed to diverse ideas. And that challenges my thinking. Plus, being tasked to deliver something specific – data rules for example – means I get to go deeper into the subject matter than I might have time for during my ‘day job.’
If you could be the CEO for a day in an E&P company, what advice you would communicate to your leadership about data management?
Data Management (and more broadly Data Strategy) should be business-driven, period. It is important to engage people who are working to deliver on the business strategies and KPIs to gain an understanding of their work processes, data and standards requirements to deliver the right solutions.