Barbara Johnson Bechthold is the kind of person you want to have breakfast with. Not brunch, not dinner, but breakfast.
Why? Her energy is unmatched. Contagious and motivating, a conversation with her – no matter how brief – will leave you feeling like you can conquer the world just as she did. Any day begun with a word of encouragement from this energetic, educated and dedicated professional will no doubt be a day of accomplishments.
As the Vice President of Administration for Clean Energy, Mrs. Johnson Bechthold has had a long career of rejecting gender roles. Historically, the energy industry has been male dominated, though today, gender is no longer the divider it once was. This is due, in part, to pioneers like Bechthold.
Clean Energy is a natural gas fueling solution that has been established in its industry for decades. Born out of a vision for a better tomorrow by entrepreneur and energy pioneer T. Boone Pickens, it is the culmination of Pickens’ career pursuit of clean energy.
Mrs. Johnson Bechthold has worked with Pickens and his natural gas endeavors for over 27 years now, first starting out at his former business, Mesa Petroleum. At the time, Mesa was one of the most sought-after employers in Texas, and securing a position there was no easy feat for a young woman.
“Mesa Petroleum was a highly respected employer in Amarillo, Texas,” she explains. “Positions did not open often and were in high demand when they did become available.”
Despite the odds against her, Bechthold is the kind of woman who makes things happen. She wanted on the team, and would start at the bottom if that’s what it took. She applied as an executive assistant, knowing that with her foot in the door, she would soon figuratively and literally be climbing the ladder on her way to the top.
How did Mrs. Johnson Bechthold have to adapt as a young, ambitious woman climbing a professional ladder catered towards men? “I learned that 100% was never enough,” she answers. “My contribution had to be significantly more than the basic requirement. Thankfully, I enjoy a challenge.”
A great representation of this 110% work ethic is her willingness and ability to throw on work boots and lead the way up a rig, surely a physical manifestation of her aptitude for all facets of her field and that same commitment to team. In fact, her well-rounded experience and expertise in the energy field has earned her valuable relationships with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Energy Commission.
It can be said that the work she does is of vital importance to not only the health of the planet, but the health of its people and future generations. Was this always a passion of Bechthold’s?
“I always wanted to work for a company that made a difference and the energy business provided an opportunity for me to contribute toward that cause,” she confirms. “I hope that in my role, I demonstrate that being ethical, respectful, faithful and loyal coupled with hard work brings success.”
If this woman in business could give future female leaders a piece of professional advice, what would it be?
“Determine what your talents are and select a career that will enable you to use those talents,” she wisens. “Spend time with other professionals to learn more about the career you are considering. Follow your passion: do what you know you are good at doing, rather than follow someone else’s dream.”