A Small Difference

A Small Difference

3.4 (5 ratings by Goodreads)
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In the oil and gas industry, there are many exciting tales of wildcat discoveries. This memoir of Raymond Plank's methodical leadership in building Apache Corporation to a $50 billion global oil and gas company tells a more subtle and widely relevant story.
Plank's parents instilled essential values that have served as his lifelong compass, his father urging him to "try to make a very small difference on behalf of others." Steeled as a bomber pilot in the Pacific, Plank graduated from Yale in 1946 and considered his business future. Invited to join his father's printing business, he chose instead to pursue an independent path.
Apache sprang from Plank's successful accounting and tax practice in the Twin Cities. When the 32-year old Plank uncovered fraud in an oil and gas investment, the investors so admired his integrity and diligence that they asked him not only to clean up the program but to expand it. With this mandate, in 1954 Apache was born. It grew by carefully studying opportunities in tax and corporate structuring as well as in geology. Significant discoveries in Wyoming and Oklahoma, and transactions with Shell, Occidental Petroleum, Dow Chemical, and Amoco, augmented by breakthrough exploration initiatives in Australia, Egypt, and China, led to more than 5,000 employees and nearly 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
This book chronicles the innovations Plank brought to bear in the growth of Apache Corporation and his fostering of lifelong learning. It demonstrates that Raymond Plank has made a very meaningful difference in the lives of others.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 335 pages
  • 152 x 230 x 26mm | 771.1g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0533165873
  • 9780533165872

About Raymond Plank

Raymond Plank's life bears witness to the benefits of lifetime learning. Born in 1922, he served as a bomber pilot in the Pacific in World War II before returning to graduate from Yale. Back in his native Minneapolis, he founded an accounting and tax service that was transformed when it took on management of oil and gas investment programs. Under Plank's management, Apache Corporation became one of the world's top independent oil and gas exploration and production companies, with global operations and a market capitalization surpassing $50 billion. Along the way Plank created the legal and tax framework for master limited partnerships, devised new approaches to convertible debentures, and oversaw the computerization of oil-royalty reporting systems.
Apache's success allowed Plank to found significant new philanthropies, including Fund for Teachers, which has awarded summer sabbaticals to more than 5,000 deserving preK-12 teachers who wanted a chance to enhance their skills, stimulate their minds, and bring excitement back into the classroom; Springboard, a landmark program that built 203 one-room schools to provide educational opportunities to underserved Egyptian girls; and Ucross Foundation, which has provided artist residencies leading to five Pulitzer Prizes, three MacArthur 'genius' grants, several Tony Awards, and many other honors.
Now ninety, Plank resides outside Sheridan, Wyoming.
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Review quote

"It has been said that every person on earth is only six steps away from contact with every other person. In Raymond Plank's case, I believe the degree of separation is much closer."

-Rob Johnston, Region Vice President, Apache Corporation
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