Not backing down Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010
Finalist
Offshore Marine

Bruce Streeter has never been afraid to take risks, and he has always been OK with staring down the competition and responding to ridicule by doing what he knows is right.

In 2008, Streeter’s company, GulfMark Offshore Inc. — a global provider of marine transportation primarily to the upstream oil and gas industry — acquired a business in the Gulf of Mexico. Shortly after that, the market went into a down cycle and an industrywide panic set in. Most major competitors in the global offshore supply vessel industry began taking their vessels out of service and laying off employees, but Streeter refused to do so.

As a result, he faced significant investor and industry resistance for not following the crowd and for taking a stand for doing what he felt was right. Others were going with kneejerk reactions, and Streeter instead wanted to take a longer-term approach. He pushed forward in the firm belief that the newer, more advanced vessels developed for the Gulf of Mexico would be preferred by customers because of their fuel efficiency and better reliability. He also felt his crews deserved better, so he invested significantly in technical and safety training with the thought that if he looked at his employees as a short-term investment, then he couldn’t expect them to treat customers as long-term investments.

As of February, the boats are all back in operation and the crews are fully employed. And while Streeter’s competitors are now reactivating their vessels and hiring back their crews, GulfMark didn’t lay off any employees and remained profitable through the worst part of the economic downturn. Throughout his career, he has always taken a forward-looking mentality, and it’s proven successful for him as he has quadrupled the size of the company in the last eight years and positioned it to continue to grow well into the future.

How to reach: GulfMark Offshore Inc., (713) 963-9522 or www.gulfmark.com