INTERVIEW WITH DR RIVERSON OPPONG
Today being the last Sunday in our month of celebrating mighty men of valour, we’re having a têtê a têtê conversation with an academia. A young man in age, an old man in Wisdom, achievements and success. I’m proud to mention that he’s my brother (yes I am being biased lool). He, together with my sister Phyll used to prey on my baby food. One day, I was having a conversation with him over the phone and he mentioned how proud he was of me, especially with regard to the Phenomenal Woman. He stated “ I am not a phenomenal man so if I have a phenomenal sister then I’m good to go”.
Young men today is your day to take notes. Be inspired with this conversation.
NELIA: It’s pretty weird that I’ll have to address you formally for the sake of this interview. Otherwise I’d have called you “chief” but Dr Riverson, thank you for making the time for this interview. Kindly tell us about yourself?
DR. RIVERSON: Thank you dear Sis. Dr Riverson Oppong holds a Ph.D. in Energy (Oil and Gas, and Renewables) Management – Finance and Economics from Gubkin Russian University of Oil and Gas; Diploma in Earth GeoScience from Stanford University, USA; Masters (with honors) in Petroleum Engineering from Gubkin Russian University of Oil and Gas, with Masters Exchange Program in Arctic Development from Norwegian University of Nordland; a Bachelors degree in Materials (Industrial) Science and Engineering from K.N.U.S.T., Ghana; Diploma in Project Management from Institute of Commercial Management, UK.
I am also the immediate former Chief Editor of SPE TIMES, and currently the Founder and Chief Editor of Global Energy Insight, an online Journal (www.geinsight.com); Organizing Committee Member of World Petroleum Youth Council; a visiting Tutor under the SPE Ambassador Lecturer Program (ALP) in Russia and Europe, and the Chairman of International Leadership Summit (www.ils-moscow.com).
During my Studies, I won several awards including, ‘First Place Winner’ in the International Ph.D. Paper Contest under EMW Conference, 2016 in Poland; Honor of the Best Presentation under SPE-ASEC Scientific Paper Contest, 2016 in Croatia; ‘First Place Winner’ under SPEEMW Poster Contest, 2015 in Poland; ‘First Place Winner’ under SPE-OGH Congress’ Students’ Paper Contest, 2014 in Russia; ‘First Place Winner’ under the 21st World Petroleum Congress’ Oil and Gas Competition; ‘Third Place Winner’ under the EAGE and SPE Oil and Gas Competition, 2013 in Russia.
I loved to teach and share knowledge. As such I have lectured in several universities across Europe and Russia, and I have been a conference panelist on numerous Student Conferences across the globe in the past one year. My immense contribution to international conferences include 17 presentations under ATCE 2016, UAE; IPTC 2016, Thailand; ATC 2016, Canada, WPC 2017, Turkey; among others, with 11 published scientific papers.
NELIA: WOOOOOOOOOOOW! I am in awe of all these achievements Dr. I am really marvelled and I can’t begin to imagine all the hard work that has gone into achieving all these credentials. Lets talk a bit about your childhood. How was growing up like for you?
Dr. RIVERSON: My “growing up” in Ghana was just like that of an average Ghanaian – a run-of-the-mill home (not poor and not rich parents), average in class, went to school because I saw my older brothers doing so, and my insatiable hobby at the age of 12 was playing piano. At the age of 14, I had a strong desire to become an Engineer in the future and hence pursued Science with Geography instead of Biology at St. James Senior High School in Sunyani, B/A. There, I clearly understood what “learning” was. We burnt the midnight candles like “slaves” to gain knowledge. It was then my thirst for knowledge began.
NELIA: Studying and living outside of Ghana for a couple of years, being away from home and family, how did you cope?
DR. RIVERSON : The word cope here means the negative aspect of my being away from home, if I am right. Well, much to say but will keep it succinct. Studying and living in a country like Russia, as you may know wasn’t easy – the language barrier, the extreme cold weather and the racism factor. Truth be told, learning in that language with the aim to complete my masters with “honors” was as tough as all Hercules’ tasks put together. I was warned about the weather before my journey to Moscow, but upon arrival I realized what I had imagined was nowhere near the reality. I personally didn’t face much of racism and “beating” in the street; however I heard about some complains at church. Now how did I cope?.. I made good friends who I practiced the language with, so I picked up after 6 months. I dressed up pretty warm to avoid any accidents. Lastly, I made sure I wasn’t out after 20:00. I really enjoyed my stay in Moscow, and yes at the end of day, I completed my Masters and Ph.D. with honors.
NELIA: You’ve been awesome and amazingly successful in your career and you couldn’t have achieved this feat without some values, principles or even philosophy. On that note, what have been your core values and principles?
DR. RIVERSON: The word “Success” has different meanings to different people. And how you define success determines how what you would need to achieve it. What made me successful, most especially abroad were the following;
1. I stayed in the House of God. Joy isn’t the absence of suffering, rather the presence of God. And proverbs says “A man away from home is like a bird away from its nest”
2. I surrounded myself with the right people. As the saying goes; “show me your friend and I will show you who you are”, the Bible also makes it clear in Psalms “Ps. 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful”. RIGHT NETWORKS WITH PEOPLE MATTER A LOT IN YOUR SUCCESS REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU FIND YOURSELF DOING.
3. I followed the footsteps of masters. I have three mentors in my life – two for career path and one for social life. And I indeed look up to them. Isaac Newton once said, “I saw the future (became who I am today- in other words) because I stood on the shoulders of giants”.
4. I love to set goals and stay focused: Stay focused on whatever you do and never doubt yourself. You will succeed only if you LOVE what you do.
5. I learn to walk in humility: Never think too highly of yourself, because pride comes before a fall. When people compliment you, simply respond by saying ‘thank you’ and then move on. Don’t dwell on your past victories and don’t ever believe your own press. Not looking at the number of awards I have won internationally, I seem to have nothing to boast of. Do not settle for what you have, “Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish”
NELIA: WHEEEWWWW! I can not begin to summarise what you have expounded here. They all matter equally. Finally, Dr before we take leave of you, what advise would you give to your younger self?
DR. RIVERSON: I would like to share 8 MAJOR keys to success and I guess that will be it:
1. Start early
2. Don’t dwell on past achievement
3. Have a mentor(s)
4. Mentor someone
5. Network effectively
6. Secure clean and good environment
7. Learn to sacrifice
8. Avoid procrastination
NELIA: Thank you once again brother for making time to impact on us your principles, wisdom and insight to success. We’re grateful.
DR RIVERSON: I am glad I was able to be an inspiration.
I’ll love to let our readers know of our maiden event coming this Christmas dubbed “JINGLE AND MINGLE ”