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Published in the May / June 2013 issue of print
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NuStar Energy L.P. is one of the largest independent liquids terminal and pipeline operators in the nation. The partnership has 8,573 miles of pipeline; 87 terminal and storage facilities that store and distribute crude oil, refined products, and specialty liquids; and 50 percent ownership in two asphalt refineries. NuStar’s combined system has approximately 97 million barrels of storage capacity.

Corporate headquarters are in San Antonio, and the company has operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. NuStar employs  1,900 people, and generates $6.6 billion in annual revenue.  The company has ranked as one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” for five consecutive years.

NuStar is looking for engineers to help expand its operations. The company continues to participate in veteran career fairs because it has had overwhelmingly positive experiences with the veterans it has hired as a result of previous participation.

The company believes that veterans make great employees because of the experiences they carry over from their time in the military. The veterans NuStar has recruited are loyal and disciplined individuals who inspire their peers with a positive attitude and a good work ethic. They are determined, work extremely well with their peers, and are selfless contributors to NuStar’s volunteer projects. Like the military, NuStar emphasizes the importance of giving back – and it allows employees to use company time to do so through its many volunteer programs.

Before joining NuStar in 1978, Ronnie Slaughter spent six years in the Navy, separating as a petty officer 2nd class. In the Navy, he served as an operations specialist and anti-submarine air controller. At NuStar, he has had a long and successful career and is now a supply base manager. He has also served as the terminal manager of a fuel storage facility and related pipelines in Colorado, an area manager for all facilities in Colorado, a company-wide regulatory compliance manager for all pipelines and terminals, a company-wide environmental manager, and an operations superintendent.

Slaughter still remembers the lessons he learned in the Navy. “In the military, you learn to understand the value of teamwork as in no other organization,” he said. “That includes a real understanding of ‘sacrifice for the greater good’ and why it is so important. Just as important, the military also provides leadership experience that brings with it a certain attitude that is paramount to success in the workplace.”

He recommends that men and women who are still active in the military keep a wide view of whatever they are doing. “Expand your horizons, and strive to see and understand the bigger picture,” he said. “Know that what may be important to you or your unit may not always be the right thing for the success of the business as a whole.”

Slaughter recognizes that human potential comes in many forms. “As a leader in the military, you learn to work with people from all walks of life,” he said. “The same is true in business. You learn that each of us has our own qualities and attributes that, when properly utilized by our leaders, will contribute to the greater good and success of the organization.”

Plus, keeping a positive view helps. “I firmly believe that the key to success in everything you do is attitude,” Slaughter said. “And the key to attitude is moral character. I cannot stress this enough.”

Slaughter knows why the company is successful at hiring and retaining veterans. “NuStar makes it a point to treat their people right,” he said. “Our senior leadership from the top down is dedicated to our guiding principles of safety, integrity, commitment, making a difference, teamwork, respect, communication, excellence, and pride.”

Slaughter said that transitioning servicemembers should look for an organization that has the same values. “Hold true to your values, and find a company that does the same,” he said. “Keep your attitude about teamwork. It will serve you well. Expand your horizons. Educate yourself, and don’t be afraid to learn something new. Your past experiences will serve to enhance everything you do.”

As for working at NuStar, Slaughter said that good things can happen once a veteran gets inside. “Be willing to take whatever positions may be open that you may be qualified for,” he said. “Don’t expect to land a highly paid position in the beginning; you have to earn those. But once you are inside the organization, you will find that there are all sorts of avenues for success that will open up to you. Your experiences in the military will serve you well. If you keep the right attitude, advancement will come easier for you than for most others who did not serve.”


About the Author

This article was written by Lisa Dunster