Oil & Gas Glimpses: A day as a consultant

Cheri Gilbert, a veteran in the oil and gas industry, gives me an inside look at how she handles her day-to-day job as a consultant handling distributions.

Written in neat handwriting, Cheri Gilbert explains the monthly schedule outlined on the calendar above her desk that dictates how she’ll handle the distributions for her consulting business this month. With a big smile, she begins her narrative explaining exactly how she got a foothold in the oil and gas industry nearly 30 years previously.

Cheri, one of our Accounting Manager clients for nearly a decade with Gilbert Energy Services, has agreed to let me observe her for the morning and pick her brain with questions about how she works in the industry as a project idea for this blog.

SherWare Client Cheri Gilbert

As I climb the stairs of the restored farmhouse where she works out of on the top floor, she ushers me into her quaint office. I again explain my purpose for being there – beginning with my interest in the oil and gas industry and desire to learn how some of our clients operate on a day-to-day basis, explaining that I’m really winging this interview, against my typical journalist instincts, in hopes of seeing what comes out of it.

She smiles broadly, a gesture that I notice continues throughout my time with her in the office. No wonder she’s such a pleasure to work with. Cheri handles the distributions for three companies in the northeast Ohio area and tackles everything from data entry and disbursements to researching and reading leases throughout the month – her schedule being date driven by what her clients need and when.

An accidental future

Like many people involved in the oil and gas industry that wasn’t born into it, Cheri stumbled into the industry by accident. She started her career in the investment banking department of Babbitt Myers & Company in Pittsburgh, Pa., – a field that she said is actually similar to oil and gas.

The department eventually picked up a few oil and gas investments to handle and were responsible for raising money necessary to drill wells. It was at that point that the head of the department decided to form Langasco Energy Corporation to handle the oil and gas, taking Cheri along with him to his new company. When the company eventually sold its assets to big names like Range Resources and Atlas, Cheri was hired to integrate their assets – opening the door to her new career as a consultant.

A SherWare Champion

As an oil and gas consultant the in early 1990s, Cheri was using a DOS-based software program to handle her distribution needs or computing them by hand for new clients. She had been receiving postcards in the mail from SherWare about our new accounting product – but with only a few clients, Cheri wasn’t ready to jump into buying new software.

When she was hired to handle a new start-up company and begin working out of her home, she decided to upgrade her system to be Windows based, and try out the software she’d seen so much about in her mailbox.

As an aside, let me explain that Cheri has been one of our champion clients since purchasing our software in 2003. Not only does she love the industry she works in, but she also loves our product – which is an added bonus for us. As a client who’s been with us for a long time, if anyone wants to talk to her about our products and service – please do. She’s a wonderful resource. OK – back to the interview.

Cheri laughs and explains in a conspiratorial voice how she had to convince her husband to let her purchase the product but how she didn’t give up because she knew it would make things easier. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and as she’s telling me about her purchasing experience, I secretly wish I could bottle up her passion and sell it. Honestly, it’s that infectious.

A changing Ohio landscape

Gilbert Energy Services is in Ravenna, Ohio, the northeast corner of the state seeing a lot of action recently from the Marcellus and Utica shale peaks. Typically an area known for its Clinton drilling, the frenzy of large out-of-state companies coming in and buying up all the unleased acreage at exorbitant unheard of amounts are going to destroy Clinton drilling in the area, she says.

Life as we know it for Ohio drilling is really changing – small independent businesses can’t buy leases anywhere, she says. With these out of state companies going literally door to door signing up leases – they’re taking all the property and pitting neighbor against neighbor. Cheri’s husband runs a separate oil and gas business and as a certified professional landman is seeing some negative aspects of the industry coming out with the new shale plays.

Looking to a better future

From talking to other clients of ours in the state, I hear the same sentiment of a rapidly changing industry – that isn’t necessarily all good thanks to some unscrupulous land leasing practices. For Cheri though, the land side doesn’t define the entire industry.

She’s been in the industry a long time doing revenue distributions and she really likes what she does – she says. For her and others in the industry that she knows, her reputation in the close-knit community of Northeast Ohio is something she isn’t willing to jeopardize for anything.

“I’ll be around for awhile to see this shale run through and hopefully will still be doing distributions for clients around the area,” she says.



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