David T. Seaton
David Seaton serves as the chairman and chief executive officer of Fluor Corporation, one of the world’s leading and largest engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance services companies. He became CEO and joined Fluor’s board of directors in February 2011, and was elected to the role of chairman of the board in February 2012. Since joining the company in 1985, Mr. Seaton has held numerous positions in both operations and sales globally. Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Seaton served as Fluor’s chief operating officer. He has served as the senior group president over Energy & Chemicals, Government and Power Groups and was responsible for Fluor’s activities in China and the Middle East. He led the company’s global business activities in the upstream, downstream, pipeline, offshore, gas processing, oil and gas production, chemicals, integrated petrochemical and petroleum refining industries including ICA Fluor, the company’s joint venture in Mexico. Mr. Seaton has also served as senior vice president and group executive for Fluor’s global corporate sales function. Active in a variety of professional and business organizations, Mr. Seaton serves on the board of directors of The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) and is a member of the Business Roundtable and the International Business Council. He is a board member of the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council. As chief executive officer, Mr. Seaton is committed to maintaining Fluor’s commitments in the areas of ethics and compliance, integrity and anti-corruption. He is an active leader and board member of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, the co-chair of the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Corruption, and the chairman of the PACI Vanguard initiative. He is also the chairman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Southwest Region. Mr. Seaton holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and received an honorary doctoral degree in 2014. He completed the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of Business and Thunderbird University’s International Management Program.
Fluor Corporation is a global engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance company that designs, builds and maintains capital-efficient facilities for its clients on six continents. For more than a century, Fluor has served clients by delivering innovative and integrated solutions for our clients in the energy, chemicals, government, industrial, infrastructure, mining and metals, and power market sectors. With headquarters in Irving, Texas, Fluor ranks 136 on the FORTUNE 500 list with revenue of $18.1 billion in 2015 and has 59,000 employees worldwide.
According to the U.S. Business Roundtable, 80 percent of our youth are either uninterested in, or non-proficient in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – yet as we all know, the greatest job opportunities in the future are based in these important disciplines. That’s a huge dilemma facing business and society in the United States. Our future, and the future of our children’s children depend on how we address this challenge today, and we are losing the competition on a global stage. Here is a case in point – youth sports. Have you ever been amazed by the enthusiasm some parents have for youth sports? Can you imagine the power and motivation that comes from parents to encourage and support their children to learn and play a sport? Consider these statistics:
-According the the Aspen Institute’s Project Play, 21 million youth in the United States between the ages of six and 17 play team sports on a regular basis; and another five million youth engage in sports on an occasional basis.
-In 2013, the NCAA reported that there were more than 460,000 students playing sports at the collegiate level and fewer than two percent would go on to become professional athletes.
Now consider this: If parents today put a fraction of the emphasis on encouraging and supporting STEM-directed learning as they do on travelling soccer and baseball teams, our discussion would be very different. To be clear, I’m a huge supporter of sports and have benefited throughout my life from the lessons learned through participation in organized sports. But today’s youth have a much better chance of realizing a successful STEM-based career than they do of becoming a professional athlete. We have to make STEM-based learning as essential to every student as is, say, a smart phone. This may sound sound far-fetched, but the smart phone is a very likely technology bridge that leads to a difference. Our youth marvel at its capabilities and effectiveness and intuitively know that without science and technology, it would never have been invented. Yet today, it plays an essential role in their lives – and ours too. But U.S. performance on STEM-related learning is abysmal. In business terms, the value curve is absolutely upside down. And for companies like ours, we are losing time. It’s projected that the number of STEM-related jobs will increase by almost 17 percent over the next decade – but the U.S. pipeline of students to fill this need is missing in action. Where is the motivation, commitment and drive to turn this around? It’s in our hands and our leadership, advocacy and support are essential to help change occur. I’m sure you have seen the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Education – U.S. students ranked 27 th in science and 35 th in math when compared to the rest of the world, with only about 17 percent of high school seniors considered to be proficient in math and/or interested in a STEM career. Worse yet, fewer than 50 percent of college entrants pursuing a STEM major today actually complete a STEM degree. Fluor is a data-driven company. Our global engineering and construction services are steeped in complex and exact technologies – often at the cutting edge of science with a central need for employees who excel in STEM. It’s intrinsic to our future success. Today, like many of my peers, I wonder where the employees of the future will come from to keep our company successful. This is a challenge not just for Fluor, but also for our nation – as the statistics validate. Now is the time for all of us – in business, government and education – to demonstrate leadership and commitment to change the perceptions to make STEM-directed learning a positive pursuit, not a negative one, in the eyes of our youth. Our youth are truly special and we are letting them down. We need to be better mentors and role models who show the way to a future that provides opportunities like we have enjoyed in our lives. And that’s a shared responsibility. Frankly, we need to move with a true sense of urgency to change this for the sake of our youth. Together, let’s build a system that encourages, motivates, measures and promotes a pathway toward STEM-based learning. Success is sustainable if it is informed, knowledge-based and framed by values and beliefs. And we can make a difference. I challenge you to share your successes as a mentor and be a positive role model to help our youth make the right choices and choose STEM as an essential part of their future success.
Say yes to STEM!