We all have a list of “nevers,” a checklist of things that we refuse to let happen in our lives. These things can be as large as cities we think we will never live in to as small as foods we will never eat, but we all have a list.
Steve Ledbetter had two “nevers” after graduating from college. One, he would never live in Houston, Texas, and two, he would never work for an energy company. But, as most of us can agree, the one “never” that we can consistently depend on is that life never turns out the way we expect it to, and no one can attest to that more than Ledbetter himself.
After graduating from Texas A&M University, Ledbetter took a job with United States Gypsum Company in the finance department before joining Shell in 1999.
“Coming out of school, I was hesitant,” he said. “At the time, the energy industry was not that great, but the future was always very clear. It was a valuable part of our economy and it was going to be around for quite some time.”
It also offered the opportunity for Ledbetter to be located in the southeast part of the United States where he grew up.
“Sometimes I look back, scratch my head and think, ‘How in the world did I get here?’” he said. “But, it was a logical fit. I made the decision and I have been very happy with it.”
Despite his initial reservations, Ledbetter found himself drawn to this industry, and to Shell.
“This is a large industry. It had a lot of challenges to it but also a lot of opportunity to have a long, sustainable career as well as room for true innovation and development,” Ledbetter said.
A long, sustainable career it has been. Now an industry veteran, Ledbetter has taken on a new role: president of Jiffy Lube International, Inc.
Over the years, Ledbetter has served in a variety of leadership positions, including finance, business strategy and sales, acquiring extensive knowledge of the downstream business from lubricants to pipeline distribution and manufacturing.
“I think the culmination of seeing both the totalities of the downstream and how the value chain works together in various capacities within the financial and commercial organizations, as well as the leadership positions and the strategy aspects of roles I’ve taken on, has prepared me to deal with situations on a large level,” Ledbetter said. “It’s allowed me to understand the implications of strategic decisions on the larger whole. I would say that’s what has prepared me for this.”
Throughout his career, Ledbetter has managed and led teams ranging anywhere from 15 to 50 people while implementing strategies and organizational elements.
“When you do that, it helps prepare you for setting a vision and a strategy effectively. Shell is good about providing a diverse background of experience prior to entrusting a role such as this to someone,” Ledbetter said.
In his new role as president, Ledbetter is responsible for the management and growth of the Jiffy Lube franchise, including oversight of more than 2,000 independently owned Jiffy Lube service centers in the U.S. and more than 100 operated in Canada.
Ledbetter’s prior roles have been in lubricants and he’s experienced firsthand the issues and customers within the industry.