Staff reflects on leadership, caring
With the passing of Offshore's Editor-in-Chief Leonard LeBlanc, several members of the staff paused to reflect on what this man has meant, not only to the magazine, but also to the lives of its employees. Here are a few of their thoughts.
Leonard LeBlanc hired me in 1997 to follow exploration technology, business, and international developments critical to the offshore oil and gas industry. The insight and understanding he developed in his career by monitoring and reporting on industry develop-ments was invaluable to me, and I will miss him dearly. Our discussions would set off trains of thought and analysis that he always encouraged me to capture in print - crystallizing the thoughts to share with our readers.
Lenny was fascinated by the way the industry continually rises to new challenges, incorporates new materials, and applies cutting-edge techniques to solve the problems of drilling and producing on the world's oceans. This fascination sent him into allied industries seeking tools, materials, and techniques that the readership could consider for potential solutions to evolving problems on the sea, in the sea, and downhole.
On Lenny's office wall is a print of a fisherman and his daughter in a small sailboat. They are sailing on a choppy sea with nets at their feet. The intense expression and forward sight on the fisherman as he mans the tiller epitomizes Lenny's approach to the business:
- Forward sight
- Riding the winds of the industry
- Ready to drop nets and capture the resources needed by the wider community.
Lenny's contributions are many, and the standards he set for himself and for us were very high. May we continue in the example he set for us, for the winds still blow and the fish still swim.
Although Lenny would probably say this mention of him is too personal and would prefer I keep to more neutral ground, I think even he could understand that his grand contribution to the oil and gas industry and commitment to personal relationships will be greatly missed. He often joked about beginning his career writing obituaries and reassured me that I would one day get my chance to shine if I just continued to work hard and continued to make each of my columns better than the last. He opened my eyes to various perspectives and gave me the confidence to believe in my abilities. He had the patience of a loving father. The advice and guidance he so selflessly provided will remain in my memory and heart forever. He once said he would want me to learn all I could while he was around, for he would not feel comfortable believing he had no effect on my career. Lenny you had more than an affect; you were an inspiration. Although I know you'd find ten different ways to make this comment better, it's okay; you've taught me a lifetime's worth.
I met Leonard LeBlanc only a year-and-a-half ago. In terms of professional and personal growth, that 18 months seems like a lifetime.
Leonard gave me the opportunity to succeed in an industry sparsely populated with women. He candidly told me that working in this industry is not for the faint of heart. Then, he challenged me to make the most of it. What I didn't realize as I made my start was that having Leonard behind me would pave the way. It seemed as if everyone I met in my new job knew Leonard LeBlanc. When I introduced myself as an editor for Offshore, people immediately asked about Leonard. And invariably, that inquiry was followed by a compliment - about Leonard's character, ability, insight, or the quality of his work at Offshore.
In the oil and gas industry, Leonard LeBlanc's name has become synonymous with Offshore. He was the backbone of the magazine, the visionary who captured industry trends with startling clarity, the man who brought all of the pieces together month after month to create a publication that, through his dedication and hard work, has become the industry leader.
I will miss many things about Lenny - his warmth, his guidance, his imperturbability, his subtle support. I will miss his ready smile. I will miss the comfortable knowledge that he was in the background gently guiding and encouraging me.
Through his ill health and personal struggle, Leonard was the embodiment of perseverance. His character and strength inspired everyone who worked for him. Through the most momentous struggle of his life, Leonard's courage never wavered. In his fight against cancer, as with everything else he did, Leonard led by example. He set the standards for his own performance very high, and he brought out the best in us by showing us his own best effort every day.
As editors who had the tremendous good fortune of working for Leonard LeBlanc, our greatest and most satisfying tribute to his memory will be to preserve the reputation of the magazine he brought to prominence. In the meantime, no number of accolades will do him justice, and no words will fill the void he left behind.
Imet Lenny for the first time in mid-November, 2000 when he interviewed me for the engineering editor's position. Knowing I was born and reared in New Orleans, he set me at ease by talking about his background in south Louisiana. We discussed the Cajun life style, food, fishing, hunting, crawfishing, and especially his experiences shrimping with his father. After our personal reminiscing, he talked about the history of the company and how this magazine has grown. I told him that I was an engineer and pointed out that most engineers are not writers. He said, "Not a problem." The rest is history.
Lenny gave me the opportunity to see a much broader picture of the industry and to meet a lot of great people. His stong character, encouragement, perseverence, gentleness, and commitment have had a tremendous influence on me.
A great man, and a sad day for all who knew him. He is one of the finest men I have ever known. He will be missed, not only here, but all over the world.