Every day, individuals around the world are envisioning ways to improve existing processes or creating entirely new products and systems to make life better for others. When The Buckingham realized that inventive individuals such as these were among their residents, the senior living community decided to recognize their notable achievements and contributions at a special presentation.
At 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 22, The Buckingham will honor resident inventors including Fred Perkins, who received three patents during his career at Humble Oil, now ExxonMobil.
Perkins began his career in Humble Oil’s research department in 1952, focusing on well logging and later moving into developing new methods for the additional recovery of oil. At the time, the company was drilling for oil in Louisiana and needed new ways of extracting the maximum amount of oil from each well. Perkins and his team were charged with testing the viability and economic feasibility of alternate techniques which would benefit not only the company, but the entire nation for years to come.
As a result of his work, Perkins applied for and received three patents from the United States Government. The first invention was created with the intention of designing a directed method for logging wells, and the second and third were developed for recovery of oil located below the structurally lowest well in reservoirs where a natural water drive wasn’t present to push the oil up.
“It was always incredibly exciting to come up with something new and see it out in use,” said Perkins. “Being able to create and develop took a number of hours and more than a little energy, but the payoff was always worth the time spent to get there. From early in life I always wanted to know what it was that made things work, or at least what the thought process was behind something. As time has gone on, I know that many of the techniques we developed are no longer used. Someone has come along and improved on what we made. However, that in itself is incredible, as time doesn’t stop; things change and move forward. There will always be a way to improve on a problem that needs to be solved.”
Today, Perkins’ invention process is different from his days spent with Humble Oil, but is no less creative. He can often be found working in his kitchen mastering recipes or creating new ones which he enjoys sharing with fellow residents and team members at The Buckingham. He enjoys spending time baking and looking at recipes and thinking about how certain flavors and ingredients combinations can make something new. While he admits that baking is one of his favorite aspects of cooking, he particularly enjoys preparing fresh seafood.
“I’ve carried an inventive spirit that’s never really left me, and I’ve found enjoyment in learning how something can be made new,” said Perkins. “I’ve learned that it’s always good to have your eye out for a problem or a need that others have. After all, it’s hard to invent something without a purpose. Inventing anything – whether it’s for drilling oil or creating a new recipe for cooking salmon – comes from an idea and from thinking of new ways to go about something. That’s something that I’ve carried with me and never intend to forget. My advice to anyone who wants to invent something or work to solve a need is to keep going and don’t be afraid to try new things.”
“We are looking forward to hearing the stories of our resident inventors and learning more about their experiences and processes,” said Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. “Everyone is familiar with seeing a new product or hearing of some new idea and thinking ‘I wish I’d thought of that,’ and hearing from individuals like Fred Perkins will give insight into what the inventive process actually entails. Everyday something new comes along that changes our way of life, and it’s individuals like Fred who make that possible.”