June Ressler’s Journey to Entrepreneurship
By Cenergy International Services on September 22, 2021, at 1:00 PM
Starting Cenergy wasn’t a part of my plans. I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, back in the ’90s from Pennsylvania. I was already a lawyer in Pennsylvania, so I intended to do the same when I moved to Louisiana. When I first started working, I volunteered pro bono to help women receive child support. After some time, I realized that I was not too fond of the Louisiana Napoleonic Code or the New Orleans court system. I decided to look around for what I might do instead. Starting a “consulting” company for the oil and gas industry interested me since oil and gas was the main industry in New Orleans at the time. We were a “consulting” company because all the contractors were Rig consultants offshore in the beginning. The home base for Cenergy was my kitchen. At the start, it was only one consultant and me, but I kept adding more consultants. Eventually, we had the opportunity to offer Helicopter support, and it continued to grow from there. I wanted to do something that would allow me the freedom to be with my young kids and work on my own time. It was great for a while still working out of my house, until we started growing- and by then, my kids were grown, so I moved into a real office downtown- it all worked out! Within 15 years, we developed the company into over 1500 consultants around the world. We opened offices in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma LA, Pittsburgh, PA, Denver, CO, Bakersfield, Anaheim, and Richmond, CA, Anchorage, AK, the Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, Canada, and Scotland.
Since then, we have scaled back, but Cenergy has and continues to accomplish so much. We placed in the top 500 of America’s private companies in 2005 (Inc.500), and for the following nine years in a row, we were in the top 5000 (inc.5000). There are many other awards that we have won. However, I think the most significant accomplishment has been the ability to put so many people to work, especially our internal staff. During tough times like these, when we are dealing with the global Covid-19 pandemic and a downturn in our industry, it is a tremendous accomplishment that everyone at Cenergy has contributed to help us thrive.
Guiding and directing Cenergy to the outstanding company it is today brings me much joy. As an entrepreneur, there isn’t much time for hobbies. Cenergy is such a massive part of my life, so you could say it became my only hobby. When you pour your life into your work, it is all-consuming. Though that to be true, I have made time to give back to others. I am involved in different organizations and charities. Currently, I am a member of the National Petroleum Council, an entity that advises the President and WBENC, the Woman Business Enterprise National Council. Of course, I continue to be a member of the Bar in Pennsylvania and Louisiana. Since I moved to Napa, I have been on the board of NEWS. This entity aids survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. I am also a member of the Oak Knoll AVA, which governs us grape growers in Napa located in the Oak Knoll locations. I have always mentored young women. I used to be a member of WIPP (Women Impacting Public Policy) and the WPO (Women Presidents Organization). Through these organizations, I could help many young female entrepreneurs. Through WIPP’s peace through a business program, I welcomed two lovely women from Afghanistan and Rwanda into my home whom I was able to assist in their professional endeavors. The time they spent with my children and staff brought enlightenment to see and understand other cultures.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but I think it’s in my DNA! I grew up with a mother who ran my dad’s dental office, and he was very successful because of her. It can be difficult for me to relax, so I always took the opportunity to do crazy travel for business. I was always on my email until past midnight, ensuring that we met our client’s needs. I never wanted to let my clients down, and I LOVE our team. I am fond of everyone who has worked at Cenergy and see them as family.
Now, in my mid 60’s, eventually, my goal is to retire slowly, but when is the question! Owning my own company for all these years has been rewarding and fulfilling, but it has its challenges. My advice for those who might want to become an entrepreneur: When you are an entrepreneur, you work way more than 40 hours a week. If you enjoy your off time, being an entrepreneur won’t work out for you. You need to be available 24/7. One missed call and those potential clients are going to your competitors. Don’t quit your day job and hope things work out to have a new source of income immediately. The best way to do it is to start small with no expectations and LOVE what you are doing! If you do, it will grow naturally. A lot of people believe that they need a business plan first. A business plan can be effective if you are trying to obtain financing or outside money. I started Cenergy with just my savings and didn’t want any funding or external capital. By doing this, I could own 100% of the company and make my own decisions, which worked best for me. Owning a large company was never my ultimate dream. I simply wanted to work and get extra income.
As a result, I had no business plan. I just started doing business, one consultant at a time. Cenergy’s growth occurred because we were always available to our clients to work through whatever problems they had. We always said “Yes.” Our team has always been successfully able to accommodate any request through research and preparation. Once your company starts to grow, it is essential to read as much as possible on management, company growth and join business mentoring groups. Reading and improving your management skills will help you tremendously. It can be lonely at the top, but in the end, with team effort, you can be a success!