Our expertise and technical strength are key to who we are at Wild Well Control.
As we celebrate 45 years in the industry, we’d like to introduce you to our team and share their insights into the oil and gas industry.
Although this is a meet the team blog, this one’s a little different. Freddy Gebhardt has dedicated almost 40 years to Wild Well Control and has decided that it’s now time to retire from the business.
With his retirement officially kicking in on June 30, 2021, we wanted to highlight his career, his expertise and insights, and how he has helped to build Wild Well Control into what it is today.
Name: Freddy Gebhardt
Role: Senior Advisor, Wild Well Control
Location: Houston, TX
Q: Can you describe your time with Wild Well Control?
A: I still remember my first day with Wild Well - it was June 1983. At that time, Wild Well had approximately 15 employees and the offices were two converted houses and a shop on Gosling Road in Spring, TX.
I was President from 2009 to 2018 and my current role is Senior Advisor. I’ve spent the last two years helping the transition of the current President and advising company executives when called upon.
My first position with Wild Well was as an oil well firefighter which led me to work all over the world for years. I was a Team Leader during the Kuwait fires and worked on some of the most challenging fires in our lifetime. I moved into a management position in 1994 but still worked in the field until I assumed the role of President.
Other roles I have taken on in my time at Wild Well include senior firefighter, general manager, executive vice-president, president and currently Senior Advisor.
As President, I enjoyed upholding Wild Well’s core philosophy and values. The foremost principle of business at Wild Well is that we listen to and work with our clients. The people that work here are truly the heart of the company. Their abilities and strengths mesh to make Wild Well Control the premier well control and engineering company in the world.
Q: Can you describe your industry experience?
A: I have got 48 years of experience in this industry. After graduating from high school, I started in the oilfield as a truck driver for Geer Tank Trucks.”. I then worked for a drilling company moving rigs. In 1976 I joined Otis Engineering in Odessa, Texas as a snubbing, coil tubing, and wireline operator.
In 1979 I was transferred to Friendswood, Texas where I became a snubbing supervisor. In 1980 I joined Cudd Pressure Control at its inception. I initially worked as a snubbing supervisor at Cudd until I took on a management position for Southeast Texas. In 1983 I left to join Wild Well Control.
Growing up in a small north Texas town with only a high school education meant career options were limited. The oilfield was a logical choice as I couldn’t imagine working in an office. As a child, I remember Red Adair being on a job in the Bowie area and I was impressed that anyone could control an oil well fire. In my early 20s, while working at Geer Tank Truck, I hauled water to another fire that Red Adair was working on. From that point, I decided I really wanted to be an oil well firefighter and my work over the next 8 years led me to an opportunity to work for Joe Bowden.
All of my oilfield education came from the field. I’ve been fortunate to be taught by experienced men including Pat Campbell, Joe Bowden, and Bob Cudd.
Q: What is your biggest observation of the industry?
A: From tank truck driver to President of Wild Well Control, my biggest observation is that the oilfield is cyclical. Companies that survive and prosper must understand these cycles and be prepared to change and grow with them.
Q: What differentiates Wild Well Control?
A: Our greatest strength is our people - the vast amount of experience we have globally and the team’s ability to use that to adapt to the changing needs of our customers. Also, the hard work and dedication of our selfless support staff. We support our clients and can adapt to changing environments and technology. Our employees bring fresh ideas and solutions to every job and that’s why we’re the best well control engineering company in the world.
Q: What is your favorite memory while working at Wild Well Control?
A: I have a lot of memories over the years of working at Wild Well Control. While it’s hard to pick a favorite, I really enjoyed the work during the fires of Kuwait. There was a camaraderie among the well control companies that was unique to the time and place. Also, I felt like we were really helping the earth and supporting an effort to mitigate one of the greatest disasters the world had faced.
Q: What are your plans for retirement?
A: It’s funny that you contemplate retirement for years and can still be surprised when it gets here. Patti and I have pretty much the normal plans that most people have. Slow down a little and spend more time with family and grandkids. We hope to travel some, both overseas and here in the US. The main plan is to relax, play more golf, watch as much Aggie Football as possible and stay in touch with friends.
From the team at Wild Well Control, we want to say thank you Freddy for everything you have done - your achievements will live on through Wild Well Control.
We wish you all the best in your retirement – you deserve it!
Learn more about our history and wealth of expertise here.