Employee Spotlight: Caleb Voison

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Caleb Voison was born and raised in Houma, Louisiana, a place he still considers home. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 2012. At the time, offshore oil and gas was rebounding from the downturn in the Gulf of Mexico, so Caleb set his sights on a career in the industry.

He started as a product design engineer working for Cameron, where he was part of a team working to resolve issues related to Blowout Preventer (BOP) stacks. His boss at the time had been directly involved in the efforts to contain the oil from a major spill incident, including the drilling of several relief wells. From this work, Caleb learned a lot about engineering pressure vessels, as well as the risks associated with any kind of failure.

From Cameron he moved to ASAP Industries, where he and a few other engineers helped to establish the company’s in-house engineering group. The experience helped him better understand how engineering fit into the broader system of a company, and how important it was to have good communication with other teams.

Caleb wanted to set up his own engineering firm, so in 2017 he left ASAP and spent several months working full-time to get his company, V&S Engineering, up and running. He continues to help clients through V&S when they need help with a specific project, but it’s something he does in his personal time.

After getting V&S started, by June of 2017 Caleb was ready for a new challenge. He had heard about Danos while growing up in Houma. He knew the company did offshore work and had a reputation for integrity, so when he saw an opening he decided to apply. He probably didn’t fully realize how the industry had shifted in the prior years, with the decline in offshore projects and the rise of midstream production in places like the Permian Basin. When he was hired as a project coordinator for construction, he realized he was headed in a different direction.

He was overqualified for the position in some ways. Many project coordinators are recent graduates, whereas he had five years of work experience. But he was new to the world of construction, so he was glad to get a foot in the door and begin learning the business.

It didn’t take long for him to rise through the ranks. He was soon promoted to project manager, and as of September 2019, he was promoted to senior project manager, based in Midland, Texas. He's one of three project managers working in construction for Danos in the Permian. He’s supported by a team of project coordinators and work crews that he manages on worksites throughout west Texas.

Though he came to construction later than some others, his engineering background and problem-solving abilities were obvious to supervisors like Cory Lecompte, now general manager of construction. Whereas Cory came up through field work, Caleb had technical and even digital know-how, making the pair a good team when it came to innovating and improving Danos’ projects in the region.

“Caleb has already proven himself to be a diligent worker in the field. He is always looking for better, safer, faster ways to complete projects for our customers,” says Lecompte.

Every project manager is different, but Caleb has always been hands-on. He spends most days out on job sites making sure work is being done correctly and looking for ways to be more efficient. He is relentless sometimes, unable to leave issues alone until he has found a solution. He was instrumental in leading a number of new approaches to construction fabrication that saved Danos’ clients millions of dollars on their projects. For example, he introduced a new method for on-site measurement on a recent construction job that required less manpower and time and thus improved measurement margin of error from 1/4 to 1/16 inch.

Being on-site during his projects is also important to Caleb when it comes to client relationships. He knows the work inside and out, so when a change or expense needs to be presented to a client, he can do so with confidence. He doesn’t want to rely on someone else’s judgment when it comes to getting things right. If that also means acting as a sort of construction manager as well, so be it. What is important to him is making sure the work is done properly.

It helps that Caleb is a quick learner, good at teaching himself new skills or technologies when needed. He’s had to diversify his knowledge quickly, but he takes great pride in how he’s been able to develop new approaches that have made Danos’ Permian projects more effective. Like many younger workers, Caleb is excited about the potential opportunities technology offers for improving accuracy and efficiency.

Because of this attitude, he especially appreciates the support he’s received so far from his supervisors and company leadership. He points to the company’s open mindedness about new technologies and ideas as the key.

“At Danos, they don’t just talk about innovation,” he says. “They invest in it. They’re willing to take calculated risks in order to continue improving.”