Shell SanfordShell Sanford's career journey began in 1983, when he joined an offshore lay barge as a laborer and welder's assistant, constructing pipelines in the North Sea near Norway. Initially planning a summer stint before returning to college, Shell ultimately fell in love with the pipeline industry and never looked back. 

After several years in the North Sea, Shell transitioned into mechanized welding, which is what his father – Bobby Sanford – did for more than 50 years, and where Shell would spend the next 25 years of his career. This career path led Shell to work across five continents, immersing him in diverse cultures and countries. In 1985, he recalls arriving in Saudi Arabia with nothing but a duffel bag, $500 in borrowed money, and no cellphone or credit card. In addition to financial motivation, Shell found deep satisfaction in the challenging work and enjoyed the camaraderie – "Achieving something, reaching a goal as a team."

In the early 1990s, Shell co-founded RMS Welding Systems, where his son Bobby currently works, carrying on his family's industry legacy. 

Several years after returning home to Texas, Shell went to work for Sunbelt Equipment in 2013, "just temporarily," he said. Shell still works there today and says the last ten years with the Gulleys have been a blessing. He has enjoyed working for a family-owned business where honesty and integrity are held to a high standard. 

Shell reflects fondly on the pipeline industry's legacy nature, citing several APCA members like Troy, Castle, MG Dyess, and Sunbelt as examples. Looking forward, he is optimistic about the future: "The pipeline industry is changing every day. I'm in my 4th quarter, but I see the next generation of leaders in this industry, and I see a bright future."

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