In this episode of the Voices of Energy, host Katie Mehnert introduces guest, Senator Sharon Hewitt. Sharon has held seven different positions with Shell Oil, before becoming Deepwater Assets Manager, responsible for all oil and gas activities in the Central Gulf of Mexico. Since 2016, she has served as a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate.
Climbing the ladder as a woman in energy (05:45)
Their conversation begins with Senator Hewitt sharing a story of her first day on an oil rig where the man in charge told her the two things wrong with the oil industry were o-rings and women. While she was definitely put through the paces as she climbed the ladder at Shell, she explained that, eventually, the men who’d given her a hard time came around and some even worked for her.
A pivot to politics (09:28)
After twenty years, Sharon left Shell to spend more time at home with her children. In those years, she worked to bring STEM and technology into the schools. When her children graduated, she began thinking about what she wanted to do next and reflecting on her career and time with her family. Overall, she felt that the most fulfilling times of her life, whether at work or at home, were when she was making a difference. Looking at the state of politics, Sharon thought she could put her problem solving skills as an engineer to use.
The role of tech and fossil fuels in the energy transition (12:21)
Oil and gas companies have been at the cutting edge of technology and Sharon believes that this boundary pushing in tech will be essential in the energy transition. She shares the significant impact oil and gas companies have on not only the national economy but also on her home state of Louisiana’s economy. She explains why executive orders that limit drilling are concerning to her as she thinks about the fate of the industry, our economy, and our energy supply.
Next steps for Hewitt and the Republican Party (26:38)
In the future of politics, Senator Hewitt and Katie both express their hope to see more women in national seats. The Republican Party, Senator Hewitt says, did well in the last election cycle in local races as well as in seating more women and minorities in state seats than ever before. Senator Hewitt is the newly named chairwoman of the RLCC: the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, allowing her to represent the Republican party on a more national scale and promote qualified candidates in upcoming elections. She says she will continue to focus on her state of Louisiana and sharing best practices across the state.