War Stories: Leigh Noda’s Advice that Can’t be Erased
June 7, 2017
by Jessica Loomis
In 1972, young Leigh Noda had just begun his career as a refinery engineer with Atlantic Richfield Company. It would be the beginning of a 28-year long journey with the company, but as a young man just starting out, Leigh felt overwhelmed and in awe of the Operations Supervisor whom he worked for as a processing support engineer. The supervisor was a chemical engineer with years of experience, gruff in demeanor and in charge of a multi-million-dollar operation. After meeting and interacting for a few weeks, Leigh was called into his office one afternoon. They exchanged small talk and got to know one another and discussed their respective jobs a little more. The supervisor directed the conversation to make a point and asked, “what do you think the biggest difference between your job and mine is?” Without hesitation Leigh responded, “well you run everything, and I help you.” The supervisor then reached into his pocket and pulled out his pencil. He held it up, pointed to the eraser and said, “the difference between our two jobs is that yours has one of these.”
Leigh carried this piece of advice with him for the remainder of his career, and still thinks of it today as a Senior Associate for Stillwater Associates. Advising clients from this position is very helpful, because often the people we are helping don’t have an “eraser” either. If a client is investing in a refinery the three biggest issues they need to look at are throughput, production and utilization. The decisions they make regarding these things must be advised from a firm and knowledge point of view, and with the understanding that no “do overs” are allowed. Being able to see the outcome certain decisions might have from this perspective eliminates wasted time, worry and expense for our clients. We look forward to providing this knowledge to you. Call us before you invest, and benefit from our experience in this, and numerous other areas. To this day Leigh is thankful to this man and his advice, which stuck with him through the years, and helped shape his professional perspective.