A great interview with one of the top Oil & Gas resources out there. To learn more about Mary and The Bakken Oil Business Journal click here. 

Mark: Hey, folks let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.

All right. Today, we have a very special guest, but because I couldn’t get there in person, we’re doing this via Skype. So, we have Mary Edwards with the Bakken Business Journal.

How are you doing, Mary?

Mary:  I am doing great. How are you?

Mark: Wonderful. How is the weather up there today?

Mary: Oh, it’s 16 inches of snow and it’s beautiful.

Mark: Yeah, compared here in Houston where it’s 82 degrees and we haven’t seen snow in five years. Yeah, I’m a bit jealous.

So, Mary you have just a fascinating story and it’s interesting because typically in this situation, you, the interviewee would have found me online. In this case, I found you online.

Mary: This is true. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool.

Mark: Yeah. So, I ran across Mary on LinkedIn and I watched her story, I watched what she was doing and it’s like, you know, she would be great guest to the show.

So, Mary before we get into what you’re doing now, you were actually somewhat new to the oil and gas industry, so let’s talk about where you started and then how you got where you are now?

Mary: Well, I started in graphic design and advertising back in the day in Bozeman, Montana. First job I had running an advertising department while I was still doing my senior thesis, so it was, you know, it was an incredible journey from get go transcended from then into running my own marketing business. And then, boom! Oil exploded in my backyard and I was like why am I not a part of this, this looks like so much fun and it’s so exciting, so I delved right in.

Mark: So, let me ask you, so when you get started doing graphic arts, a lot of that was print, right?

Mary: Yeah, initially in my day it was, but I kind of came on the course of when things started going more digital and social media and all that after I got going.

Mark: So, was it a big surprising to you when you stepped into oil and gas and they weren’t there yet that print was still the dominant method of communication?

Mary: Not at all, that’s why I chose it. [Laughs] I love print and I – there’s just something about the tactile quality of things that we lose a little bit via the internet. And some of that is coming back around because people are figuring out how to kind of package it all together. But, yeah, the whole good old boy being I was very, very much intrigued on how the whole business would play out.

Mark: Yeah. And, it’s interesting. So, because you were in that digital world of social media and you came to oil and gas, you’re starting to see it start from scratch again in oil and gas, aren’t you where the oil and gas industry is just now starting adopting stuff that everybody else adopted ten years ago?

Mary: Right. Exactly. And there’s just so much interaction and so much thought sharing and stuff that goes on in oil and gas.

Mark: So, that’s a perfect segue. So, now you’re at the – now you’re publisher of the Bakken Business Journal, what are some of the things you ran across that you didn’t suspect was going to happen in the oil and gas business?

Mary: Well, I didn’t expect crisis [Laughs] go over they did this past year. That’s it, I mean everybody knows it’s a cycle, I was told that from the minute I got in, it’s boom and it’s buzz and then it’s, you know, toss it back up in the air again and it’s boom.

Mark: Yeah. For – this is your first downturn, it could be a bit dramatic to see companies slash revenues, you know, 20%, 30%, or 40% and the layoffs come, but I promise you it will come back and I promise if you’d be sticking long enough it will happen again and you’ll be telling somebody what I’m telling you today, it’s okay, it will come back, I promise you.

Mary: Oh, yeah. Actually, I’m not worried, I don’t like seeing people struggle, I don’t like seeing people lose their jobs or, you know, friends and associates, colleagues, you know, trying to make that tough decision do we stick it out or do we close up shop. That’s kind of, you know, the downside of it all, but I agree with you wholeheartedly, the people that stick it out, you’ll see a whole different ballgame here in a couple of years maybe by the end of this year, who knows?

Mark: Yeah. I hope so. We’re actually forecasting the end of 2016 the price will come back, so I hope I’m right about that. But, yeah, it’s always, I mean you don’t like to see people suffer.

And, you talked a little about this early about the good old boy network. But this industry, you know, it’s a global and it’s ginormous, it’s still about people doing business with people. Do you find that as well?

Mary: That’s what I love about it is that I did have a little bit of preconceived notion about who these people were these mysterious people in oil and gas and I am telling you, I have never met the quality of people to work with. We just – we get out and about quite a bit. You know we go to somewhere around fifteen events a year and the people are phenomenal, they’re what really makes this business so much fun.

Mark: Yeah. So, you’re part of the family and it really is a family. I love that part of the industry and the nice thing is no matter where you go in the world, right? You go some place where there’s oil and gas and you’re part of that family.

Mary: This is true.

Mark:  Yeah. So, let’s talk a little bit about Bakken Business Journal, it looks like to me a semi-publication where you’re half print half online, is that close?

Mary: Yeah. We kind of just package it all together and take advantage of, you know, any network streams we have whether it’d be digital or print, you know, face to face, that whole getting to know our customers, getting to know the people in the industry was one of the first things we set out to do.

Mark: And it looks like you’ve been very successful and you mentioned shows, I’ve seen your presence at quite a few shows in geographic area up there. Is that something that’s in your business plan you’ll do every year?

Mary:  Oh, yeah, absolutely. It’s part of our distribution plan, it’s part of, you know, getting to know our customers, the whole human to human thing that sometimes does get lost when you’re just trying to go straight social media or doing sales calls by internet and e-mail and all that.

Mark:  Yeah. So, I actually had a service company in your neck of the woods reached out to me and they basically said when oil is $100 a barrel, we were making money like crazy, we kind of got away from our core business, actually, the family-run business – about going out and meeting our vendors meeting our buyers getting to know them. And they go, now, that the prices have dropped, we’re struggling out because we didn’t spend the time to make those network connections. Is that something that your publication can help with?

Mary: Well, absolutely. And that, you know, the people that do advertise at our publication I feel like they get to know each other. We all just run into each other out at events and that’s so much fun, share ideas, and that’s where it really is a successful piece for us in our business plan and that we right – right from the get go hit the road, got to know people, got the publication out there. And, we are a family-run business. I employed three of my family members in the business and I’m telling you I never had so much fun working with people that you – you just have this – this company culture that we’ve created.

Mark: Yeah. So, you all have a community in oil and gas, it’s once again it’s that people doing business with people and I love that.

So, if people want to learn more about you and Bakken Business Journal, where should they go?

Mary: We have a website, BakkenOilBiz.com. That’s where obviously the digital edition of the journal is and we supplement that by being connected on LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter. But, yeah, just come to the website or pick up the phone and call us, we’ll like that.

Mark: So, we’re not going to put your phone number in the show notes. People ask me to do that and there are some strange people out there, but we will absolutely put a link to your website.

So, folks especially if you’re doing business in that part of the country if you have an interest in what Mary’s doing or if you just want to meet somebody really cool in the industry, reach out to her and she has a great group of people doing some really great stuff out in the Bakken.

So, Mary, you know, I keep saying Bakken Business Journal, but you are much bigger than just a Bakken, right?

Mary: This is true. We actually started because the Bakken boom right in our backyard, but then we realized we are the Bakken and beyond because right from the get go we’ve mailed nationwide and actually distribute the digital hub by e-mail internationally.

Mark: Yeah. So, what I keep saying people can reach to you you can help them in the Bakken, you can help them anywhere?

Mary:  Yeah, that’s our plan. We are just oil all the way through.

Mark: Yeah. That’s awesome.

Mary: We plan to make it to Texas someday for just a visit.

Mark: You have to make it to Texas. So, Mary thank you so much for your time.

Mary:  Yeah, absolutely.

Mark: So, folks I hope this helped, we will see you next time.