For a Career of Achievement, “Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Get Involved”

Published: 01/02/2020

schematic line drawings of valves and pipelines on a blue background
Rick Faircloth receiving framed API Citation of Achievement award.
Rick Faircloth, left, receives the API Citation of Appreciation award from Erik Milito, API Director of Upstream, during the 2019 E&P Standards Conference on Oilfield Equipment and Materials on June 26, 2019.

Just one accolade of many in a 53-year career: Rick Faircloth was awarded a Citation of Appreciation from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on June 26, 2019. This commendation is API’s version of a lifetime achievement award. We wanted to know more about his career, his outlook, and his words of advice for the next generation of industry professionals.

Congratulations on receiving the API Citation of Appreciation. What does this award mean to you?

It was a tremendous acknowledgement to me personally on my 40 years of contributing to API standards development. For the past 53 years in this industry, my goal has been to help develop global industry standards for the companies I’ve worked for. Earning this award validates for me that hard work, leadership, and respect by your colleagues means something.

How did you learn about receiving the award?

It was a total surprise. I received an e-mail from the API upstream director, David Miller, that there would be an awards luncheon for people who have served in API standards development. The lunch would be given during the 2019 E&P Standards Conference on Oilfield Equipment and Materials in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Because I've been working in standards development since 1979, 2019 is my 40th year of service. During the awards presentation, I received my 40-year service award and was asked not to leave because a few other presentations would be made. After several other awards were issued to colleagues, they announced I won the API Citation, and I was presented with the award, which was signed by API President and CEO Mike Sommers.

How did you start working with API?

I started back in January 1979. At the time, I was employed by Camco as quality assurance manager. The US Minerals Management Service had regulation equipment installed in federal offshore US waters. I joined a small task group working on the revision of API Spec 14A for subsurface safety valves. This industry regulation was SPPE-1, Safety and Pollution Prevention Equipment.

It has allowed me to advance within many technical groups at every company I've worked for in the oil and gas industry—from manufacturing and engineering to quality, materials, and project management. I enjoy working to help my colleagues and customers have a better understanding of the importance of API and industry standards. These standards provide guidance to operators around the world on the safety, quality, and interchangeability of products in petroleum and natural gas applications.

"Never stop asking questions. Step out of your comfort zone and learn as much as you can."

Rick Faircloth

Tell us about a mentor that left a considerable impact on your career.

My first mentor, A.J. Morris. He was the chief engineer and vice president of engineering at Camco in Houston. We traveled together to many parts of the world to customer and company facilities. A.J., as we all called him, told me that staying in close contact with your customers would always support your career path. If you are there to help them solve problems or provide equipment for solutions, they will remember that for years to come and repeatedly ask you to be part of their many projects. He also told us that our friends and colleagues will always be there for guidance.

What words of wisdom do you have for new industry professionals that would like to follow in your footsteps?

Never stop asking questions. Step out of your comfort zone and learn as much as you can about the equipment your company provides. Get involved at any level to support the development of industry standards that govern the equipment's control. I still enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience in many fields with the new generation of employees joining this wonderful industry.


Rick has more than 50 years' experience in the field of steel melting, castings, forgings, heat treatment, materials, nondestructive examination, QA/QC, welding, and technical standards development. He has spent more than 40 years in API Upstream Standards development and currently serves as Chairperson of API Specs 6D, 6DSS, 6FA, SC6 TG1, and SC20. He holds a diploma from Metals Engineering Institute and is involved in volunteering for the City of Jersey Village, Texas.

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Valves Domain Expertise