Veteran Spotlight: Tony Howdeshell

November 15, 2018

Conducting an Orchestra: Building Leaders and Teams

As part of our ongoing commitment to our servicemen and women, BJ Services continues to work with military installations and veterans groups in support of our ongoing recruiting efforts. Today, we spotlight one of our own team members and share how his military experience, skills and leadership abilities are transitioned into a new career.


U.S. Navy Veteran: Tony Howdeshell 

  • Father was in the Marine Corps
  • Battleship Sailor – USS Missouri BB-63 during Desert Shield/Desert Storm
  • U.S. Navy SWCC (Special Warfare Combat Crewman)
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Retired Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Chief Warrant Officer 4
  • Orchestra Conductor

The items listed above are a sampling of what Tony did during his 30-year naval career before he joined the Oil & Gas industry. One of them illustrates how his military experience and leadership skills aids him in building teams and leaders.

Tony, who today is BJ’s Regional Reliability Manager for the U.S. North region, is an intriguing team member to sit down with and listen to. For example, during the last 12 years of his naval career he was assigned to NSW’s Special Reconnaissance Teams conducting sensitive activities and targeting operations against terrorist networks globally.

When Tony decided to retire from the Navy, he knew he needed to access a couple of veteran programs – Honor Foundation and Elite Meet – to help him with the transition from the military and get ready for civilian life, in addition to putting him in front of hiring managers of companies.

BJ Services caught Tony’s eye because of the company’s commitment to hiring veterans and helping them leverage and transition existing skills into the energy industry.

He was recruited specifically for his current role but also works on district reactivation projects and recruiting other experienced leaders whose skills can be adapted to BJ.

States Tony, “My special operations leadership background helps me develop leaders that will shape the organization’s future. In addition, I enjoy working to hire other veterans who can apply their military experience to help build BJ into a high reliability organization.”

The most rewarding part of his position is when he observes leaders in the organization using the HRO principles and CRM system effectively to make positive changes. “A good leader,” Tony says, “will mentor and train leaders of all levels they interact with, which in the end creates an effective team. Leaders building leaders.” 

Veteran Resource Group

In addition to his daily responsibilities, Tony is currently working with a team to begin setting up a Veteran Resource Group (VRG) here at BJ. The initial plans for building a VRG is to identify team members who are former military and have a passion for helping veterans as well as an interest in developing the group.  Only veterans who are willing to identify as former military members will be included as we will not assume that every veteran team member wants to be part of the VRG.

Orchestra Conductor?

At first glance ‘orchestra conductor’ is the odd term out, however, it belongs because of reviews Tony has received.

“Tony is like an orchestra conductor at team building, he has the ability to take multiple instruments (people) and bring them together in such a way that beautiful music (team cohesion) is the result every time.”

To that Tony responds, “I never considered what I do intuitively to be special. I simply believe that every person has inherent value, strengths and abilities. I enjoy discovering these traits in others and helping them grow and contribute to the success of an organization.”


In recognition of Veterans Day in the U.S and Remembrance Day in Canada, BJ Services would like to express our deepest appreciation to those who have served, or are currently serving, in the military. We would also like to acknowledge the service and sacrifices of their family members while they are away on active deployment.