Petroleum industry secretaries hosted a 1951 energy education convention at Shamrock Hotel in Houston.
Since the first Desk and Derrick club meeting in 1949 in New Orleans, this national association has “ebbed and flowed with the tides of the energy and allied industries.”
“Greater Knowledge – Greater Service” is the motto of the Association of Desk and Derrick Clubs (ADDC) of North America, which began with a club founded in New Orleans.
Soon, hundreds of the growing number of women working in the petroleum industry – primarily as secretaries – were organizing clubs in other cities.
In 1951, they gathered in New Orleans to share ways to promote energy education in the United States and Canada. ADDC articles of association were signed on July 23 by presidents of the clubs founded in Los Angeles, Houston, Jackson and New Orleans.
“A New Orleans secretary working for Humble Oil & Refining organized the first Desk and Derrick,” noted a January 2012 article in the Permian Basin Petroleum Association magazine PBOil&Gas.
“Inez Awty (later Schaeffer) was tired of writing reports about things she knew little about and believed women working for oil companies wanted to see and know more about a derrick and other aspects of the industry,” the PBOil&Gas article explained.
The article also quoted a 1951 Midland Reporter-Telegram that reported, “Miss Awty thought if men in the oil industry could be organized and know other men outside their own company, then the women could do likewise.”
With a combined membership of 883 women, the charter clubs dedicated themselves to “the education and professional development of individuals employed in or affiliated with the petroleum, energy and allied industries and to educate the general public about these industries.”
The PBOil&Gas article added that in April 1957, a guest speaker was a young Midlander named George H.W. Bush, who reviewed offshore drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Bit of Fun” for Young People
Educating youth about the earth sciences and how the petroleum industry works has remained part of the Desk and Derrick mission. Since 2004, the group has published (in English and Spanish) “Bit of Fun with PetroMolly and PetroMack,” an energy activity book designed for third and fourth graders.
In 1957, the organization’s members adopted a motto, “Greater Knowledge – Greater Service,” according to the nonprofit ADDC website. Membership numbers have fluctuated over the year in close relation to the state of the oil and gas industry – and oil prices. In 2018, about 1,200 women – and men – employed in or affiliated with the energy and allied industries comprised 48 clubs in seven regions.
ADDC today promotes its energy education mission using variety of programs, including seminars, field trips, and individual clubs hosting the annual national convention. “Thousands of hours of education have been provided for members through monthly programs on the many facets of this industry and given by speakers ranging from company CEO’s to oil-well-fire fighters,” explains the website.
Among ADDC’s historic milestones are: 1949 – The first club is founded in New Orleans by Inez Awty Schaeffer.
July 23, 1951 – Articles of association are signed by presidents of the clubs founded earlier in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Houston and Jackson, Mississippi.
December 1-2, 1951 – First Board of Directors meet in New Orleans.
1952 – A newsletter is published (today’s The Desk and Derrick Journal) after Josephine Nolen of Odessa, Texas, wins a contest for its name: The Oil and Gal Journal.
1952 – The first convention is held at the Shamrock Hotel in Houston led by the first association president, Lee Wilson Hoover. Forty member clubs are represented by almost 1,000 registrants.
1957 – “Greater Knowledge – Greater Service” is adopted as a motto.
1977 – “of North America” is deleted from the association’s name and the acronym ADDC becomes common usage.
1987 – The ADDC Foundation is established and the first issue of The Desk and Derrick Journal published, replacing the Oil and Gal Journal.
1988 – Delegates at the annual convention approve equitable membership in the association, opening membership to men.
1996 – The first association website goes online in September.
2001 – Celebration of the association’s 50th anniversary year.
2004 – Publishes the first “Bit of Fun” Energy Activity book.
2010 – Website is revamped; updated and improved.
West Virginia ADDC Convention in 2013
ADDC annual convention field trips have visited offshore drilling rigs, refineries, manufacturing plants, and pipeline facilities. The 2013 convention took place in late September in Charleston, West Virginia. The West Virginia Desk and Derrick Club hosted “Autumn in Appalachia” for the 62nd annual convention, says General Arrangements Chair Melinda Johnson. The club has 95 member companies and meets the third Tuesday of each month at various locations across the state, adds Johnson.
Her convention’s program included education seminars and the choice of five day-long field trips. Among the seminars were Five Traits of Professionalism; Intro to Petroleum Engineering; Hot Oil and Gas Plays in the Appalachian Basin; Formulas and More – Excel Training; and Leadership and Effective Communication.
On one of field trip, service company representatives from Nabors Services provided a seminar and demonstration on fracturing treatments in the Marcellus Shale. Convention attendees learned the steps in performing a hydraulic fracturing treatment and the difference between how a conventional reservoir and an unconventional reservoir is fractured, says Johnson.
Another field trip visited a Halliburton oil field service yard for education on coil tubing – with a “snubbing” unit demonstration. Another trip was to a Baker Hughes center in Clarksburg where visitors learned about directional drilling and viewed down hole motors, rotary steerable subs, and different kinds of drill bits.
The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2021 Bruce A. Wells.
Citation Information – Article Title: “Desk and Derrick Educators.” Author: AOGHS.ORG Editors. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: https://aoghs.org/energy-education-resources/desk-derrick-educators. Last Updated: July 19, 2021. Original Published Date: July 21, 2014.