SISTERSVILLE - Much has changed in the 51 years John Simonton has worked in the oil and gas industry.
From his beginnings as a roustabout to his current position as an account supervisor, Simonton recapped all five decades Sept. 15 after being selected as the 2012 West Virginia Oil and Gas Man of the Year during a banquet coinciding with the 44th annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Expo.
Simonton has worked for companies like Columbia Carbon, Halliburton Services and Nowsco Well Service/BJ Services/Baker Hughes in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.
After being introduced by master of ceremonies Roger Romine, Simonton recounted his career and spoke of the many great friendships he has made over the years and how they have made the experiences more enjoyable.
"We've seen a lot of ups and downs, but no matter what, as a team, we always get through it safely," he said.
Simonton said he was thankful and honored to be chosen as the man of the year, a distinction he said he believes is only given to the most important people in the industry.
"What an elite list," he said. "In looking at the past winners, I've been associated with or know of more than 30 of these guys. It truly is an honor to join them."
Simonton was joined at the banquet by his wife of 47 years, Janet, his son, daughter and grandchildren. He took a moment in his speech to thank them for their support over the years.
"I thank them for all they've done that I've missed out on," he said. "I'm proud to be a West Virginian, proud to have lived here all my life and proud to have been in the business for 51 years."