Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to lift the curtain and introduce you to the driving force behind our exceptional services. While we often spotlight the remarkable services we provide, it’s high time we shed some light on the brilliant minds that make it all possible. Allow us to proudly present Alfonso Castillo, our esteemed Lead Inspector, specializing in explosive and hazardous inspections. Alfonso is an expert in this critical area from NEC 500-516 and IEC 60079, dedicating his time and talents to hazardous location assets, where safety and precision are paramount. With a wealth of experience, Alfonso plays a pivotal role in ensuring that our inspections are exceptional and executed promptly and, most importantly, safely. His dedication to maintaining the highest standards is unparalleled, and his commitment to our team’s success at GExS is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
On this note, we asked Alfonso to share a bit about his life.
Let’s start by getting to know you a bit better. Can you share a fun or quirky fact about yourself that people might not know from your professional profile?
I have a super sweet tooth. I’m so weak around chocolates, ice cream, and pastries. Sometimes, when onboard a rig, I want to put a blindfold on while walking by the galley’s dessert section, especially in Israel. The cooks onboard the Chevron rigs are excellent and always make great desserts!
So, how did you end up in your current role? Was it something you always wanted to do, or did you take an unexpected path to get here?
I’ve been in the oil and gas industry for about 16 years, and one of my most vital characteristics in life is my strong leadership qualities. I can work well under stressful conditions and make critical decisions effectively. Fourteen years of experience have allowed me to work from being a green journeyman to a CompEx licensed inspector. I have worked for many contracting companies in almost every corner of the world and made a name for myself. I met Tony Scott, the Owner of Global Ex Solutions (GExS), when we both worked for a different employer. That’s where it all started. Tony has been a great mentor to me even before he founded GExS. Through my experience over the years, I’ve been entrusted to carry out jobs, and I always deliver; because of the results I achieve, Tony has trusted me to lead the field, from our first client BP in Texas, to our current client, Chevron, in Israel.
We all know that behind every successful person is a support system. Tell me about your family and how they’ve influenced your journey?
Well, I grew up fast! I joined the Navy at 17 and moved out of my home. I had to learn to adapt to the stresses of life quickly. I became a father two years ago; after a long, stressful day, I look forward to that video chat with my wife and daughter. My daughter is my pride and joy. She amazes me daily with how much she learns. My wife is my number one fan; she always believes in me, and there’s no job in this world I can’t do.
Your job title sounds fascinating! But could you break down what your job entails in simple terms for someone unfamiliar with it?
As the Lead Inspector, my job consists of facilitating all aspects of the inspection in the field, making decisions on equipment installations, reporting to clientele, managing the daily progress of the review, and consulting and providing the best solution to move forward. Also, it means facilitating my other inspectors in the field with all the necessary tools to carry on daily with their job. Planning is a big part of my job. We are constantly under a time frame to complete the project; it consists of the workforce, daily inspections needed, prioritizing inspection areas, and the look ahead for the next day. This is a day-in and day-out routine while I’m in the field.
We all have those days when things don’t go as planned. What’s your favorite way to de-stress or recharge after a challenging day at work?
Laughter and exercise are my best ways to de-stress. I usually watch videos of my daughter. She always brings a smile to my face. I received a video the other day where she is walking in my work boots. It was funny and adorable. And, of course, exercise is beneficial and healthy. Releasing those endorphins helps keep me happy. You must have some physical ability in the field as you work long hours and walk many steps! You might walk close to 5 miles and climb close to 50 stories total in one shift.
Your journey must have had some memorable milestones. Can you share a particularly proud moment or achievement that made you feel like all your hard work was paying off?
I’ve had many achievements in my career, but this current job ranks amongst the highest points in my life. What started as a one-off job onboard the Tamar rig has grown beyond what I imagined. Chevron has entrusted GExS to perform all their electrical inspections at every significant facility in Israel. I think my skills and leadership had something to do with influencing the continuous number of contracts and work we continue to do. We are currently on the most significant production platform in the Mediterranean, and a person like me from a small town is working for a growing company doing big things. I’m riding high as having a giant corporation such as Chevron giving me the trust to lead a group of inspectors to certify that their platforms and facilities meet safety standards is incredible.
You’re passionate about your work. How do you keep that passion alive even on days when the going gets tough?
My daughter and family, I realize that I have critical people at home who depend on me, giving me a reason to improve myself daily in everything I do. Despite all the odds against me, I always remind myself of my daughter and what she means: failure is not an option.