Brian Cothran

Vice President, Global Sales and Commercial,
Baker Hughes a GE company

When GE Oil & Gas broke ground on a $125 million state-of-the-art technology center in Oklahoma City, built to test new technologies and methods of oil and gas production, nobody, not even Cothran, could have predicted that two short years later the industry would suffer one of its worst slumps in U.S. history. To hear it from him, however, the timing was impeccable. “Different businesses inside GE go through cycles,” Cothran told USA Today in 2016, days before the five-story center, replete with 10,000 square feet of laboratories and test wells, opened to a fleet of more than 100 engineers, scientists and technicians. “What we’ve learned through these different cycles is that you need to lean into a downturn and not shy away from it.” If the bottom line is any measure — and often it is — the focus on new technologies has paid off in spades. In the first quarter of 2018, the GE subsidiary, ranked among the top four moneymaking divisions of the parent company, posted profits that beat nearly all of Wall Street’s estimates.