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Phillips 66® Aviation Employee Spotlight: Dennis Stafford

Here’s the latest installment of the Phillips 66® Aviation Employee Spotlight. This quarter, we’re honored to highlight Dennis Stafford.

Name: Dennis Stafford

Title: Quality Control & Technical Service Rep

Location: Houston, TX

Years with Phillips: 37+

Describe yourself in three words: Dedicated, Patient & Analytical.

Work-Related Questions 

What’s your favorite Phillips 66-related memory?

My favorite memory is signing up a Phillips 66 Branded Aviation customer in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This sales effort took over five years to realize and started with a joint visit at the FBO with me, our Phillips 66 Marketer, and a Phillips 66 Aviation Sales Manager. Our goal for the visit was to share the Phillips 66 branded offering and ultimately brand the FBO as Phillips 66. Unfortunately, we were not successful. However, five years later, when the FBO owner decided to take on a partner and change the ownership of the FBO, the new co-owner wanted to explore the branding opportunity again. I received a call on a Monday and was asked to be in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday and present our Phillips 66 branded offering to both owners. I had roughly 48 hours to pull together a proposal and present it.  Our Phillips 66 Contract Fuels Representative and I made the sales call on Wednesday.  This time, the outcome was much better – within one week, we had a verbal agreement and a signed five-year agreement just over two weeks later. The most memorable part of this story is the trust and friendship built after the first “no.” Taking five years to build the kind of relationship that makes Phillips 66 the first call when the business changes is one of the best memories a Phillips 66 branded Sales Rep could ever hope for.

Briefly describe your professional history and how you arrived at Phillips 66.

I arrived at Phillips 66 through a merger and a split. I started with Conoco in 1983 as a supply clerk in Ponca City, OK.  I spent 10 years working on my bachelor’s degree, attending night school at Northern Oklahoma College and Friends University in Wichita, KS. After graduation, I moved to Houston in 1997 as the Radiant Coordinator to assist our company-owned retail stores. Then, in 2002, Conoco merged with Phillips 66 to create ConocoPhillips. I held various positions within ConocoPhillips, including roles within the Marketing, Executive Services, and Commercial Compliance departments. In 2012, I was working as the Director of Compliance within commercial when Phillips 66 was spun off. I joined Phillips 66 Aviation in 2013 as a Branded National Account Rep, where I remained until my initial retirement in 2021. In October 2023, I rejoined Phillips 66 Aviation as a Quality Control and Technical Service Rep based in Houston, TX.

Do you have a mentor? Describe who it is and how you met.

Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work in the Conoco Graphics Group, which also included several professional photographers. I was reassigned to the photography team to carry out my audio-visual duties and to photograph service awards on occasion. It was there that I met Larry Jones, Supervisor of Conoco Photography. Larry was an outstanding supervisor and managed some of the most talented photographers I had ever met. I learned a great deal about how to work patiently with those in the creative world and how to treat both internal and external customers. In addition, I watched Larry handle contractors and manage the additional responsibilities of working with executive management on various shooting assignments. Larry’s people skills and calm and kind disposition made a lasting impression early in my career.

What’s the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had?

The most interesting job I had was in Executive Support for ConocoPhillips. The role consisted of providing executive audio-visual support for the newly appointed ConocoPhillips Board of Directors, the CEO Jim Mulva and his direct reports. In layman’s terms, I was Mulva’s Audio-visual (A/V) guy. I spent a little over five years assisting with town halls, shareholder meetings, board meetings, quarterly & annual financial analyst meetings, and supporting daily meetings in the board room and executive conference rooms. During my time supporting the Board of Directors, I was fortunate to travel to London and various locations across Canada and the U.S., including Alaska and NYC, which I visited seven times. As a side note, I often got asked if I ever flew with the CEO in the corporate jet.  The answer is yes, but only a couple of times since the executive support team usually arrived early and stayed late to wrap up the meetings.

What’s your background in aviation? 

My career in aviation started in October 2013 as a Branded National Account Rep. I spent over seven years managing branded Phillips 66 Aviation Marketers and Direct Aviation customers. I retired in May of 2021 and rejoined the aviation team in October of 2023 as a Quality Control and Technical Service Rep. I have a lot to learn in my new role, but I look forward to the challenge.

“Just For Fun” Questions

What’s a surprising fact about you? 

After graduating from Blackwell High School in Blackwell, OK, I wanted to be a mechanic. I spent two tri-semesters attending Oklahoma State Tech in Okmulgee, OK studying diesel mechanics. I did not complete the six semesters required to graduate; however, I did tear down and rebuild a diesel engine and study hydraulics and diesel fuel injection systems.

How do you define success?

Success comes in many ways, but I like to look at it in what I call the four F’s: Faith, Family, Finances and Fun. I define success in Faith as having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and striving to be more Christ-like in everyday life. Success within the Family means being the kind of person who focuses on giving time and effort to family and friends to ensure long-lasting relationships. It also means being available to family and friends in challenging times. Financial success for me has always been centered around having the right job with the right company – which is why I’ve spent more than 37 years within Conoco, ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66. Financial success also involves planning and working with a professional financial planner to ensure I do my best to secure a long-term financial future for myself and my family. Fun is where I get to enjoy success along the way, whether it be on a vacation at the lake with my family, a quiet getaway, or a walk in the Cascade Mountains with my wife.  Lastly, it’s also fun to buy a few toys along the way, i.e., boats, jet skis, cars, or RVs.  After all, everyone needs a little retail therapy occasionally.