Upstream Texas - Fall/Winter 2016 - 18
Executive Director of the Railroad Commission of Texas
AFTER A CAREER THAT spanned more than three
decades and brought her into virtually every segment
of the energy industry, Kimberly Corley said she
thought she had already experienced the highlights
of her professional life. However, when the Railroad
Commission of Texas (RRC) sought her out to replace
retired Executive Director Milton Rister in 2015,
Corley said she became excited about a chance to use
her extensive experience to give back to the public
sector and make a difference at an agency focused on
protecting public safety and the environment.
"I've always liked a challenge, so that was probably the first
thing that attracted me," says Corley. "I have years of industry
experience and leadership in creating new processes and new
organizations, and this was an opportunity to use my retirement
years to give back in a way that was important to the state,
taxpayers, the oil and gas industry and the people who work
at the RRC."
Her multifaceted energy industry experience not only
featured stints at companies, which included pipelines,
refineries and power generation, but also jobs that involved
travel around the world. When she worked for an intrastate
pipeline company in an early part of her career, she had
some interaction with the RRC, Corley says, and her general
impression of the commission was of a firm but fair regulatory
agency that upheld a culture of transparency and readiness to
communicate with not only operators but also with all segments
of the public.
"From the industry side, it always has been clear to me that
the RRC has consistently and successfully managed its mission of
keeping people safe, protecting the environment and providing a
fair but thorough regulatory environment," she explains. "I don't
think that has changed."
Corley assumed her new position as executive director of
the RRC on February 1, 2016. During her first months at the
commission, Corley says she has gained an appreciation for
the quality and dedication of the RRC staff, who day-in and
day-out work to meet the agency's mission of ensuring energy
is developed responsibly while protecting the citizens of Texas
and its natural resources.
"The people here are amazing," she marvels. "They work hard.
They are creative. They want to do the right thing. They love their
jobs. They are glad to be here, and it has been really great to
become a part of this team."
UPSTREAM TEXAS F A L L | W I N T E R 2 0 16 -17
THE POSITIVE CULTURE AT THE
AGENCY SETS A FIRM FOUNDATION
FOR THE COMMISSION'S FUTURE.
CORLEY SAYS SHE INTENDS TO
CONTINUE BUILDING UPON THAT
FOUNDATION BY ENCOURAGING
RRC STAFF TO BE INNOVATIVE,
RESOURCEFUL AND INSPIRED.
That positive culture at the agency sets a firm foundation for
the commission's future. Corley says she intends to continue
building upon that foundation by encouraging RRC staff to be
innovative, resourceful and inspired.
"I really want people to think creatively," she says. "Sometimes
you hear people in both the public and private sectors reject
an idea by saying things like, 'We already tried that and it
didn't work,' or, 'No one will let us do that.' We take a different
view. If there is no good reason not to try a good idea, we are
going to see about making it work. It is exciting when I think
about how much progress we can and will make with this team
That teamwork mentality also makes her confident about
the RRC's ability to integrate potential changes that may result
from the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission's current review
process, Corley says. Many points in the Sunset staff report
identify potential improvements at the RRC, which has already
implemented several of the Sunset Commission recommendations,
"We received high marks from the Sunset Commission staff for
cooperation, openness and bending over backwards to provide
information," she notes.
As the RRC continues its daily role of providing safety and
environmental protection through responsible energy regulation,
Corley says she looks forward to her job that she describes as "a
combination of chief cook, bottle washer, cheerleader, enabler,
guidance counselor and chief operating officer who is charged
with keeping the proverbial trains running on time."
"My job is not policy, but operations," she adds. "My vision is all
around people and systems, which all point to sustainability." ■