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Professional Field Engineer

Professional Field Engineer

Name: Steve Thornhill
Company: Schlumberger
Education: Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering, Memorial University
Locations:  Offshore – Drill Rig, and Onshore – Office Building
Hometown: St. John’s, NL
Currently Living In: Torbay, NL


Steve Thornhill feels that the key to success is enjoying the work you do, because it motivates you to work hard and achieve more. That certainly seems to be the case in his career!

Education and Personal Background 

Steve is a graduate of Memorial University’s Bachelor of Engineering program, with a major in mechanical engineering.

“In high school, I was interested in math and science courses, but also architecture, design, and the science behind how things are built.  Engineering seemed to represent a combination of these interests.”

Duties and Work Environment 

Steve manages a crew working offshore.  He sometimes works offshore and sometimes works in an office in Mount Pearl.

“We have a lot of hands-on work. A typical day could involve planning meetings to set up an offshore operation, or working offshore directly with equipment that we run into the oil wells.”

A major part of Steve’s job involves troubleshooting electrical, mechanical, and computer-related issues with expensive, and sophisticated equipment used to drill oil. Troubleshooting is especially challenging, as the problem can be several kilometers into the well, under the ocean floor!

“It’s critical to be able to think quickly and logically to determine the source of a problem, then repair or replace equipment in a timely manner. In our job, operating costs run into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars a day.”

Steve has always been organized and enjoys solving problems. He enjoys that his job offers a good balance of computer work, job planning, meetings, and hands-on work.

Questions and Answers

Why did you choose a career in oil and gas? 

I chose this industry because it offered a dynamic environment with many different employment opportunities, and higher paying opportunities than most industries offer.

What do you enjoy about your job? 

I enjoy the responsibility I am given by my company, with the independence to lead operations and make key decisions. Working an offshore rig schedule also allows me to build up time off and become involved in life outside work.

What is your motto? 

Hard work and a positive attitude will allow you to succeed at just about anything. ‘There’s nothing you can’t do!’ is a great saying.