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Ed Brodow Interviews Gary Ford, President of Wood Group ESP

Ed Brodow interviews Gary FordGary Ford is President of Wood Group ESP, one of the world's largest electric submersible pump manufacturers and service companies, offering a comprehensive range of solutions to the world-wide oil production industry. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company operates in 20 countries around the world. Mr. Ford attended one of Ed Brodow's presentations in 1994. Ed Brodow interviewed Mr. Ford on December 18, 2007.

Ed Brodow: I'm flattered that you still remember the presentation almost fourteen years later.

Gary Ford: It was the best presentation I ever attended. It really set me up for my negotiating career. I'm not blowing smoke. It has been instrumental in getting where I am now.

Ed Brodow: What was your position when you attended the presentation in 1994?

Gary Ford: I was Business Development Manager for another company in our industry.

Ed Brodow: What do you remember most about the presentation?

Gary Ford: What stands out most is a story you told about negotiating the dues at your golf club. The light came on that everything is negotiable. It's getting over the embarrassment, the self-consciousness, and the insecurities of doing it. In the Western world, as you go west of the Persian Gulf, it's not a negotiating arena as it is in the East, where everything is the subject of negotiation.

Ed Brodow: How has this knowledge contributed to your career advancement?

Gary Ford: Up until then, my background was in marketing and engineering. Your negotiating seminar was definitely a turning point for me. What it did, it put back in what nature takes out, where people are embarrassed to negotiate. I now treat negotiating as fun. There are regions in the world where you are expected to negotiate, so you had better learn to enjoy it. My new skills especially have contributed to success in negotiating contracts. You taught me that we have to be strategic in our thoughts. I began to understand the strategic thought processes that you need. I began to look for avenues to exploit from a negotiating perspective.

Ed Brodow: Has it affected you personally?

Gary Ford: Certainly. I have carried it to all aspects of my life. Recently, I took a taxi from Oklahoma City airport and the fare was $67. I said to the driver, "Let's call it $60." He said, "Let's call it $70. Nobody negotiates a taxi ride." But the fact that I was willing to do it took him by surprise and he agreed to accept $60. It's not the money, it's the principle, and the willingness to challenge everything. It's a game of chess. Make a move, look at countermoves, try to think ahead. You need a flexible mind to think through a given situation.

Ed Brodow: Any final thoughts?

Gary Ford: If people get half of what I got from your program, they will succeed. It was the catalyst that started me off thinking, "Hey, we can negotiate this!"

Ed Brodow is a keynote speaker and negotiation guru on PBS, ABC News, Fox News, and Inside Edition. He is the author of Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals. For more information on his keynotes and seminars, call 831-372-7270, e-mail, and visit

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