Member Feature: Jon Hunt
Jon Hunt, Senior Vice President of Operations at Energy Transfer, first began his career in the liquid terminals industry by working in oil refining—an area he stayed in for the first 20 years of his career.
“I’d worked for a refining company when I was in engineering school on a summer internship basis, and they hired me out of school,” Hunt said. “The refining business in the in the U.S. particularly has been a challenging business, as gas production and supply has become a global business. At the time, I was working with Sunoco, and then transitioned to Sunoco’s logistics affiliate, which is how I specifically got into the liquid terminal part of the business.”
Through a series of acquisitions over time, including that of Sunoco, Hunt became part of the Energy Transfer team.
In his daily role, Hunt enjoys working with a diverse team and having the shared goal of meeting people’s needs when it comes to energy.
“A large segment of liquid terminals business, both in the U.S. and abroad, is centered around energy, because those products are so fundamental to our society and economies,” Hunt said. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of working with a team of people with the shared goal of helping meet people's energy needs, whether it's here in the U.S. or across the globe. That’s gratifying; that team work brings people together.”
Though people outside of the industry often aren’t aware of exactly what goes on with liquid terminals or energy logistics, Hunt believes more young people should consider careers in the industry because of how fundamental it is to how our society and economy functions.
“Some people have described the liquid terminals business to be sort of the circulatory system of the economy, and that's true,” he said. “You have these systems in your body that do the things they’re supposed to (most days), until something goes wrong, and you sort of take it for granted. Well, the same is true for the liquid terminals business. It's an absolutely crucial part of how various products, whether it's energy products or food grade products, meet people’s needs.
“Though it may not be something that you hear about every day, and may not be among some of the more glamorous professions, it’s really, really essential,” Hunt explained. “From that standpoint, I think it's a very worthy field for people to consider.”
For those who are just getting started in the liquid terminals industry, Hunt suggests being (and staying) curious.
“Sometimes people just fall into their lane, but I would encourage people to be curious and try to learn as much as you possibly can—not just about what you're dealing with right in front of you, but understanding the breadth of the business as much as you can, which better positions you to add value and grow over time.”
In Hunt’s roughly 30 years in the business, he’s seen plenty of change take place across the industry as a whole. One area in particular that has evolved has been a stronger emphasis on employee health and safety.
“That has improved tremendously over time,” Hunt said, noting that as people's priorities and knowledge have shifted over time, a greater focus on environmental stewardship has also been present. “We operate at a much higher standard of performance around environmental stewardship. Some of that is driven by regulations that have grown and evolved over time. But a lot of it is people's point of view in terms of doing the right thing and how to best operate these kinds of businesses with an appropriate respect for the environment.”
When it comes to the next 5, 10 or even 50 years, Hunt predicts those trends will continue.
“It's more of an evolution than a revolution,” Hunt said, specifically mentioning energy transition and how long it will potentially take in the future. “I don't think energy transition is going to happen nearly as quickly as people think it will, simply because the alternatives are really not there in terms of the ability to fully provide the energy needs of our nation and world. So, I think that's going to happen over time, but it's going to happen more slowly than a lot of people think.”
Hunt, who has served on ILTA’s Board for many years, says the organization has been particularly effective at representing members with external groups, most specifically, the government.
“A big part of why myself and my company is involved in ILTA is because we appreciate that help and support from the organization,” Hunt said, adding the relationships built through his years of involvement have been especially gratifying. “Over that span of time, you build not just professional relationships, but friendships with people that grow over time. There’s a practical aspect of it in terms of how my involvement with ILTA has been helpful to our business and the industry more broadly, but there's also a lot of personal benefits, as well.”
Outside of the workplace, Jon and his wife are heavily involved in their local church, including serving on the regional steering committee for Young Life, an organization focused connecting young people with their faith. They also enjoy outdoor activities and traveling centered around being in nature, with Jon having a particular affinity for hunting. The couple also enjoy spending family time with their three daughters.