Petroleum Technolog Co-Chair has cartoons published in magazine

by Pamela VanHook | Jan 03, 2014 <p> </p>

BOWIE - North Central Texas College Petroleum Technology department co-chairman Steve Burnett is proving that oil is more than crude - it's downright funny.

Burnett, who also owns Crude Oil Calendars, is lending his artistic talents to Texas Eagle Ford Shale magazine. The CRUDE cartoons drawn by Burnett will appear in the magazine each month.

Burnett got his start working in the oilfields of West Texas at the age of 16. That work continued through college as he received an Associate's degree in commercial art. He then moved to Dallas and found work in the art field, but also found that the pay was nothing like it was in the oil industry.

So he headed to work in the Gulf of Mexico. He worked for the next 16 years for Pennzoil in the Gulf while doing freelance commercial art on his off weeks. In 1991, his oilfield and art experiences came together as he started publishing calendars with his original oilfield cartoons.

Later, he returned to college and received a Bachelor's degree from the University of North Texas in education. He then taught art classes at both Weatherford and Granbury High Schools. He later obtained a Master's degree in education from Tarleton State University and got his principal certification in 2005.

He enjoyed teaching, but when the Barnett shale started booming, he decided to get back into the petroleum industry.

"I should have realized that at age 48 I was too old to be working around drilling rigs," Burnett said. "I fell on location outside of Beaumont and ruptured three discs."

He then went back into education and spent three years as the assistant principal and behavior modification specialist at the Denton County Special Education Co-op.

But in 2011, his oilfield and education experience made him the perfect choice to become the coordinator of the Petroleum Technology program on the NCTC Bowie campus.

"The greatest thing about the job is the highly-motivated students who always work above and beyond anything I ask them to do," Burnett said. "In trying to prepare them to go into the industry, I have often found myself telling them stories about my oilfield days. The stories reminded me how much I respect the people who work in the industry, and that made me start thinking again about Crude Oil Calendars. I still believe a sense of humor is one of a fieldhand's most important assets, and I still believe oilfield cartoons bring honor to the industry."

Burnett estimates that he has drawn around 2,000 oilfield cartoons and had more than 800 published. In addition to his works being featured in Texas Eagle Ford Shale magazine, his cartoons have also been published in the Oil and Gas Monthly magazine in Abilene and the OGM in Alberta, Canada.

"I am still somewhat taken back by the success it is having," Burnett said. "I am very pleased to see that the CRUDE cartoons will have such a large audience base in 2014. It will give me the opportunity to keep in touch with the field employees and allow me to bring respect through humor to the field hand."

One of Steve Burnett's CRUDE cartoons