Employee Spotlight December 2020 - Keith Clark
Name: Keith Clark
Title: QC & Technical Support Rep
Location: Bartlesville, OK
Years with Phillips 66: 38+
Describe yourself in three words. Never met a stranger.
What’s one work-related project you’re most proud of and why? The “Save a Life, Verify Fuel Type” campaign is something I’m very proud of because it has the potential to make a big impact on the industry. The idea is simple, and the heart-shaped decals and posters will make people stop and think. If everybody embraces the campaign, it’s a big opportunity to prevent misfueling due to lack of communication between the Pilot and FBO.
Briefly describe your professional history and how you arrived at Phillips 66. I started out working one block from company headquarters, back when we were headquartered in Bartlesville, at the Phillips 66 station on the corner. It was named Frank Phillips 66 – Uncle Frank’s Favorite. I took a gap year to work before going to college. Three months into the job, they wanted to make me Assistant Manager, but with one caveat – they didn’t want me to leave to go to college. I said no way, and they made me Assistant Manager, anyway. So, I left for Miami to attend Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in the fall of 1983, and I commuted back to Bartlesville and worked weekends, holidays and every summer. I ended up working there throughout college and paid my way through school. When I graduated from Oklahoma State, I started working at the station full-time and worked my way up to Manager. After that, I moved out of the stations and into accounting and customer service roles in Lubricants for a few years. Then, I served as District Manager for the company-owned stores in Bartlesville and Houston. Finally, I ended up in the marketing / brand side – at first with the Lubricants brand, then Aviation for the past 12 years.
The funny thing is – I took aviation ground school as an elective at Oklahoma State. I had no interest in being a pilot. I thought it’d be an easy elective. I was wrong, but I did learn a lot in that class. I never thought that 38 years later, I’d end up working in the aviation industry.
What’s the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had? This aviation job. The day-to-day is constantly changing. You never know what’s going to happen. And for me, it’s opened my eyes to an entirely new skillset I never knew I had. When I was growing up, I was very shy. I hated speech classes in high school and college. I hated getting up in front of people and talking. Now, it’s my favorite thing to do. I love teaching and helping people solve issues.
Where are you from? Have you lived anywhere interesting? I was born in Huntsville, Alabama, but I’ve been in Bartlesville all my life. I’ve worked in all of the big Phillips 66 buildings in Bartlesville, and I’ve always been within one block of the old company headquarters. I live just west of town in the Osage Hills. I guess I do have a couple of things in common with Uncle Frank; we both have a love for the Osage Hills, and we both worked in Bartlesville. Just an FYI, my homestead in not quite as impressive as his at Woolaroc. 😊
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy seeing small town America and riding my bicycle and motorcycle. I like to visit ghost towns and take unpaved, back roads while traveling. This past July, I took an 8-day bicycle trip across Iowa. I rode 618 miles with no maps and no plan. I’d say about a third of the journey was on dirt roads. I saw a lot of interesting things, met some good people, and tried to help out the struggling small towns by stopping in for lunch or a night’s stay.
What’s your next vacation? I just bought a new motorcycle and plan to ride it across America in stages, in week-long chunks. My plan is to ride for about a week, then store it and fly back home. Then, I’ll take another week off, to fly back to my bike, ride for another week, then store it again. I want to hit all four corners of the U.S. It’ll probably take me a couple of years to complete my journey around America. Unless I retire… just kidding.
Do you have a hidden talent? I can ride a unicycle. Back when I was 16, I worked for bike shop in Bartlesville. There was one unicycle that never sold, so it provided some good entertainment when we were taking breaks from working. We would challenge each other to see how long we could ride it. Pretty soon, I became very good and would always win. The shop ended up closing its doors, and they owed me money, so I took the unicycle and still have it today.
How do you define success? I define success by the positive impact I can make on somebody. If I can help people change a bad habit to a good habit, I’m successful. That’s one of the opportunities I have with my job, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.
Fun Fact: Keith has been involved with the Big XII Basketball tournament as the “On Court Personality” for the past 11 years. During halftimes throughout the tournament, Phillips 66, a long-time sponsor of the tournament, hosts various contests where contestants do different basketball-inspired games to win Phillips 66 gas cards. Keith is very good at giving away Phillips 66 gas cards; we believe he holds the record on this.