As a good friend is fond of reminding me, “Never forget where you came from!” Likewise, as the Conversation picks up and the Permian Basin forges ahead, it might serve us well to remember why this Conversation got started in the first place; for it has been well said, “If you have a big enough why you will do whatever it takes to figure out the how.”
October 25, 2016, was the date I sent an email out to several community leaders throughout Midland and Odessa and invited them to read a book I had just finished. The name of the book was, “If You Can Keep It” by Eric Metaxas.
The purpose of the group was to read and come together and discuss the challenges that face our nation, and more importantly our region, and what we might do to answer the call of Benjamin Franklin, and steward the Republic we have been given on a local level. In a follow-up email to the first meeting of January 11, 2017, I wrote the following:
“Finally, please keep in mind the purpose of this endeavor. It is not about Eric Metaxas or any subsequent speaker(s); this is all about a group of leaders from both communities (Midland and Odessa) finally coming together to start – or in some cases change – the conversation and challenge and change the attitude of the Permian Basin. A region so important that if it were to cease operating tomorrow – or next year – the American way of life would have to change. We are the Silicon Valley of energy and it is about time we acted like it in every facet from education to government to family life, to the quality of life and every other measurement of the great life you can imagine. The very same Spirit of America that Eric will speak about is the same spirit that built this region and the only spirit that will wake us from bust and boom and apathy and onward into world leader greatness.”
A year has gone by, the Eric Metaxas event took place, conversations are starting and the call to, and for, leadership and action in this region of conversation is upon us. The big “WHY?” is out of the box, and that big “WHY?” is summed up in a phrase we have adopted in the early stages of this conversation:
“We are world renowned for what we do below the ground, but it is time we became world renowned for all that we do above the ground.”
Like so many, we have become tired of our region being referred to as a “tour of duty” for young families. Like so many, we have become tired of hearing about how sub-standard our schools are. Like so many, we are tired of hearing about people leaving the Permian Basin for healthcare in a Metro-Plex. Like so many, we are tired of old ways of thinking and limited vision for our region – our home. Like so many, we are tired of hearing, “That’s just the way it is way out here.” Like so many, we are tired of hearing, “This has been tried before and nothing is going to change.” Like so many, we have grown tired of our challenges being a “Midland Thing” or an “Odessa Thing”; this is our thing, and it is our responsibility.
So much of what we hear seems to be an excuse to settle and quit. I’ll bet we are glad the pioneers of change in the oil and gas industry never gave up when people said limiting things and said it could not be done! Well, now it is our time, and our turn, to make history above ground for today and generations to come. In short, this is the “WHY?” It is time for change in the Permian Basin that catapults us to a region of prominence above ground and below ground.
The question of, “What now?” and even the question of “How?” is real, relevant and fair and is exactly what we will be tackling in future articles.
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