BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — The leader of Bartlesville’s largest employer praised the city and state of Oklahoma recently for its “rich heritage” and as a source of employee talent it provides to the company.
“Oklahoma is a special place to Phillips 66,” Chairman/CEO Greg Garland told a crowd at the first forum in a series hosted by the Bartlesville Regional Chamber of Commerce held last week. “This is where it all started for us. It became a rich heritage.”
Since the spin-off from ConocoPhillips, Houston-based Phillips 66 is Bartlesville’s largest employer with local workers based at its downtown campus and research center on the city’s west side.
“We have nearly three thousand employees in Oklahoma today — two thousand right here in Bartlesville,” he said. “. It’s where our global services are headquartered out of, and really the service is a machine that runs Phillips 66 each and every day, so it is a very important place.”
The company also operates a large refinery in Ponca City.
Of the company’s 13,500 employees worldwide, Garland said Bartlesville and Houston are the two largest population centers for employees. The headquarters in Houston employs approximately 1,800.
Garland praised Bartlesville and the state of Oklahoma, calling it a “source of great talent,” the Examiner-Enterprise reported.
According to Garland, more Phillips 66 employees have been hired from Oklahoma State University than any other institution in the United States. The University of Oklahoma, he said, ranks sixth.
“The talent we get out of the universities is very good talent and . drives our performance,” he said. “We’re very proud.”
Employees, Garland said, are the most important part of the company.
“Employees are our greatest asset, and you’ve got to invest in them,” he said. “We’re going to spend more on training, mentoring and developing people at Phillips 66.”
Garland explained that the company provides networking opportunities via social media as a way for employees to meet and socialize with one another. The eight employee resource networks available, which were started in 2011, are an “attempt to celebrate the diversity of Phillips 66,” he said.
“There’s really a couple of main goals we’re trying to achieve with these networks,” Garland said. “One, it’s a social networking opportunity for people. It’s a chance to talk and meet and share challenges and to share how they solved those challenges.
“It’s also a place for professional development, where people can meet and help each other get there at the end of the day,” he said. “One of the things I really like about these resource networks — and they do so very well here in Bartlesville — it’s an opportunity for community outreach.”
Out of the 2,000 employees in Bartlesville, 1,500 are participants of an employee resource network, Garland said.
Phillips 66 also plays an active role in the communities it employs, he said. The company made an early move in the aftermath of tornadoes that struck Moore and the central part of Oklahoma earlier this summer with a donation of $1 million. Garland said the company is also the lead corporate sponsor for American Jobs for America’s Heroes, providing jobs for unemployed National Guardsmen.
“I have an expectation that employees are active in the communities where they live and that they give back and participate (in their communities),” said Garland.
In response to a question from the audience about retail stations that carry Phillips 66 gasoline, Garland apologized to the audience for the recent lack of gasoline at some stations in town.
“I was embarrassed when we ran out of gas here in Bartlesville,” he told the crowd. “It was on our stations. The guy (who owns the stations) got into financial difficulty, and we bent over backwards trying to work with him, but clearly that was unacceptable. I apologize to the community. You should have been able to buy (Phillips gasoline) here.”
According to Garland, Phillips 66 has divested itself of retail operations and only owns one gas station in the U.S., located near ConocoPhillips’ Dairy Ashford complex in Houston. That station, he said, will be sold.
“We’re not in retail. We have marketers that represent us — there are commercial agreements with those marketers,” he said.
Currently, Garland said the company is working to raise its standard for gas stations that carry its brand.
“There may be some stations that have the Phillips shield on them today that don’t have the shield on them in the future. If they can’t meet our standards, then we’re going to change them out,” he said. “This company and our reputation, our image, is far too important to us . We want to make sure these (stations) really reflect the image of the company.
“. They (the stations) fly our flag every day, and I want it to reflect the values and the reputation of our company.”
Garland said the reputation and success of the company were built from the “giants” who first created it, and that success continues because of those giants.
“We are standing on the shoulders of giants,” he said. “People like E. W. Marland, who started Marland Oil in 1911, and Frank and L. E. Phillips that started Phillips Petroleum in 1917. I could go on and on and list the giants that have come before us that have so well positioned this company for the success that we envoy today.”