Alumni Spotlight: Scott S. Richards ’77

When I was asked if I would be willing to write about my overseas career for the Alumni Spotlight, I said, “You bet!…but wow, where will I start?” So here I go.

I LOVE my life! Most pointedly, I want to say to this audience that I will always be grateful to Webb for affording me the opportunities and building the confidence to live a life that I could never have dreamed of as a kid growing up in the suburbs of NY.

I spent the first few years after graduation chasing the dream of living on the New England coast, and designing and building fishing boats. I discovered that that might be a great retirement objective, but I had itchy feet. The Trident submarine design project with PERA (SS) at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard got me traveling around the US. It also introduced me to the love of my life, Dana, my bride of 24 years. Her brother Rick and I started out as running buddies on the Trident project.

In the 1980s the oil industry was putting on a full court press for NA/MEs to come work in Houston. I went there and got a job with Zapata Offshore, and my wanderlust got a little traction. The first thing on my “to do list” for Zapata was to get a passport. I was off to Newfoundland, London, Aberdeen, Moray Firth, Stavanger, Oslo, Bergen, Harstad, Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Zapata Offshore sent me to live in Stavanger, Norway, where I secured the first drilling permit from the Norwegian government to drill north of the Arctic Circle in the winter season.

Dana and I took the job with Saudi Aramco and moved to Ras Tanura in May of 1992. Our experience working for Saudi Aramco over the last 20 years has been amazing. We have now travelled through 39 countries and seven protectorates.

During my time with Saudi Aramco, I became the marine safety engineer at Aramco, covering their fleet of approximately 160 vessels. I have developed and implemented safety management systems for Aramco’s Marine Department and several other departments. I also had the opportunity to monitor construction activities on two of the largest oil & gas processing facilities that Aramco has built. After 10 years in the safety business, I took the CSP exam and became a Certified Safety Professional, to complement my technical credentials. Most recently Aramco, as a member of OCIMF, sponsored me to become a certified OVID Offshore Vessel Inspector.

I continue to look back on those four years at Webb with the most sincere appreciation I have ever known. The “honor code” plants a seed, and we alumni are the resulting perennials. Webb truly is the gift that keeps giving. Webb is unique not only in the quality education that it has given each of us but also in the people, places and times that each of us leaves in our wake as the legacy of Webb and its alumni.