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| A Quick Reminder of the Past

A Quick Reminder of the Past

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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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6 thoughts on “A Quick Reminder of the Past

  1. If you haven’t watched this Ted Talk from Simon Sinek then I would recommend a few minutes of your time on this subject. The talk is built around business and Apple’s “think differently” mentality, but is just as good and applicable to this article.

    I was raised in Midland and will never forget a number of my closest friends that also care for and understand this community saying they wouldn’t move back to Midland after college until they had their “ducks in a row”. This casually meant a spouse and career (not a job) and all the other things that they didn’t think they could find in Midland. I have my own kids now and desperately want them to have a place to come back to if they choose that doesn’t lack those things by the time they are grown.

    1. Great talk by Simon Sinek; Start With Why and the Golden Circle are two of my favorites. Indeed, we must press into a bigger why than just “a place to work” and on into the bigger Why of a great place for family and life that exceeds just a place to come get a job.
      We have the potential to be one the greatest regions in Texas, and even the country (yes, even in the desert – look at Phoenix and Scottsdale!).
      One thing we must change first, is the way we talk about ourselves and our place.
      Thanks for tuning in and thanks for getting in on the conversation.

  2. Great article and I’ll be looking into the Ted Talk Roy mentioned.

    Having grown up here, I too would love to see Midland live up to the potential it’s been given. We have an abundance of wealth and opportunity to grow our area. It takes individuals who want to change a community. Take for instance Chip and Joanna Gaines. Waco is having a huge resurgence because they chose to invest in the community. The Silos are a beautiful, community-used area.

    I would love for Midland/Odessa to have more community options that appeal to young families. As our age median continues to drop we need more appealing offerings. Better education for the entire community not just those with means, healthier lifestyle options (more parks with “fitness options” like Faskin Park, appealing to healthier restaurants, community events centered around or partially encouraging health), obviously better roads, optimizing the young single influx our community has (they are easily forgotten in our area over young and older families) and I’m sure I’m leaving out lots of other great avenues to pursue.
    However, I am incredibly encouraged by knowing conversations are being had in more than just my fellow moms at the park. I know we have our part to play too and we want to!

  3. Amory,
    Great to hear from you! One voice at a time combined with more voices and then necessary action and we will become the next great place to live.


  4. Thank you for taking the lead, and following up, Patrick. Keep talking, and we will, too! We need everyone; new to Midland or Native Midlander, young/mature single, young/mature married and young/mature families to consider a shared vision of success for our community and what that looks like. From education to business, to collaboration amongst neighboring cities, it is important for all of us to get involved and be willing to have conversations in our circles of influence. I, too, want my children to want to return to this area and be proud of where they grew up!

  5. Christine,
    So appreciate your connection on this web page and blog! Indeed, I think we are moving in the right direction and we will someday soon hear our kids say, “Midland/Odessa is one of the best places to live!”
    Not many believe this to be true or possible but it is!


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