A.T. Kearney partner Vance Scott’s appetite for adapting to change began on his first energy-sector assignment more than two decades ago.
Fresh from the plains of Southeastern Colorado, Scott joined an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana. He had an engineering education but very little kitchen experience—a weakness he soon corrected. “There were a lot of old Cajun guys working the platform, and
every week they held a cooking contest,” Scott recalls. “When it came my turn to cook, I knew peanut butter and jelly wasn’t going to get it done. They decided to teach me how to make Cajun cuisine.”
Since then, Scott, who now heads the firm’s energy practice, has been helping clients in the energy industry, and oil and gas and petrochemicals sectors in particular, cook up success and, more recently, lay the groundwork for unprecedented transformation.
“There are fundamental changes taking place in the energy landscape, and the speed with which those changes are occurring is driving the industry to respond in ways it never has before,” says Scott, who has helped his clients respond to these challenges.
An assignment that Scott’s team of 30 global consultants performed was honored as the firm’s best global engagement last year as part of an annual internal recognition competition. And Scott currently serves as client officer for a major petrochemical company in the Middle East. It is a relationship that Scott initiated and developed into its current form of multiple projects across the company’s value chain.
Scott notes that the challenges this client and the rest of the energy industry confront also have changed the nature of many consulting engagements.
“We used to be brought in to help solve problems the companies had already thought about and struggled with,” he says. “There wasn’t so much work around problem definition. With all of these changes that are occurring … and the need for companies to think about their complete portfolio of business, we’re being asked more frequently to help define the problem on the front end.”