When he was only 14 years old, Cory LeCompte moved from his hometown of Houma to Freeport, a suburb of Houston. Instead of attending a small public school of about 800 students, he was now enrolled in a Texas public high school with 5,000 other teenagers. He and his brothers had moved there to live with their father who worked in the oil and gas industry. He tried to adjust to the new environment, but not long after arriving, his father was laid off from his job.
To help with household expenses, Cory started working part-time building beach houses. The money was good, and soon he found himself far more interested in working than going to school. He was hired part-time to erect broadcast towers, a job that required him to climb over 2,000 feet daily to perform his duties within this organization— a three-hour climb up and then down again. It was hard, grueling work, but he was impatient to do more. At 16 he left high school, earning his GED later that year. By the time he was 18 he was working full-time in a plant, hanging iron as a connector. Always a hard worker and a fast learner, he was soon working on small teams that traveled around the country doing industrial construction.
For the next decade, Cory lived a peripatetic lifestyle, going from one job to another, making great money with all his expenses paid for. During this time, Cory moved up through the ranks, holding positions like raising gang foreman, crane and rigging foreman, piping superintendent and general foreman. He was young and got paid well to travel, and he enjoyed it. But eventually the grind of constant travel began to wear on him.
During a visit with his family back in Houma in 2008, he began to consider looking for work in the area. He knew several people who worked at Danos, and they did everything they could to talk Cory into applying with the company. However, at the time Danos was known for offshore, and that wasn’t Cory’s area of expertise. But as sometimes happens, circumstances intervened; Cory met the woman he would eventually marry and decided he might as well check Danos out.
He clicked immediately with Dwain “Hog” Carrell, a construction project manager for Danos. But Cory was shocked at how much less money he was being offered — his previous work had been so different, and expenses were included. As Dwayne explained, offshore work was a different animal. Yes, the starting pay was lower, but you also had everything taken care of for you while you were offshore. Dwayne offered him the chance to try it for a month, and Cory agreed. It was different — the pace of work, the downtime of rig life — yet it was the same camaraderie and a good job for someone looking to settle down and start a family.
After learning the offshore trade, he was moved up to project coordinator in 2012. Thanks to his background in industrial construction, he was able to help Danos manage and bid land-based work in the onshore/midstream market. For about six years he lived in Houma and helped the company secure work in south Louisiana and east Texas. He was often sent to project job sites where his construction expertise was helpful, which gave him a better sense for the operational requirements of that work.
He and his family relocated to Midland for a year, where he served as operations manager in 2018. After some internal reshuffling, he moved back to Danos headquarters in Gray to become general manager of projects. The promotion was a significant move up the leadership chain, making him responsible for fabrication, scaffolding, rope access (offshore), domestic construction (offshore), project logistics and project controls.
It is a shift he’s still adjusting to after so many years spent working in the field. He’s got great working relationships with the operations managers that report to him, and he still gets out into the field often. He is now also part of a team that helps manage the company, offering insight and ideas to Danos’ executive team. In this role he is able to act as an intermediary, translating high-level decisions into real-world strategies and tactics and ensuring that employees up and down the chain are engaged and supported. “It’s about building trust,” he says. “I think that’s something I’m able to do more of now, which is great.”
“The Danos family is what makes this company what it is,” he says. “They truly care about their employees and are invested in each person’s success.” He notes that unlike his younger self, who was just looking to earn as much money possible, with Danos he finds himself pitching in for the good of the team, working extra hours to get the job done, regardless of compensation. “That’s just the culture here, and it’s a really good one,” he says. “It makes a difference when everyone is determined to get the job done right.”
Though he had many friends who took different paths — going to college, earning engineering degrees before taking an oil and gas industry job — because of his unorthodox early start he has leapfrogged his peers in terms of salary and titles. But he acknowledges that what worked for him as a young man wouldn’t work for everyone. Today, he says he’s happy to be where he is: “For a long time, I was always moving from one project to another, rushing around. These days I’m really excited to see what I can help build for the long-term here with Danos.”