Alumni & Friends

Recognition Awards

Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award


Al Sehsuvarohlu
Class of 1976

Al Sehsuvarohlu If Al Sehsuvaroglu hadn’t been so fluent in multiple languages, he may be living a quiet, unassuming existence in the United States.

But as a man who can speak five languages and can read and write a few more, Sehsuvaroglu’s employer needed him where he could do the company the most good: Europe. And what that meant was living with two body guards, 30 special forces and 120 Algerian troops. The mission? To protect wells.


Sehsuvaroglu, Cowley’s Outstanding Tiger Alum for 1998, is in business development for Halliburton Energy Services, a division of Halliburton. The company works for oil and gas companies worldwide, basically doing what’s necessary to get the crude from the well to the pump.


The 1976 graduate of Cowley and native of Turkey has been afforded enormous opportunities through his work with Halliburton, opportunities people have died for.


“I had a trying experience leading our operation in Algeria, North Africa, with all that was going on there,” Sehsuvaroglu said. “We lived in Algiers, the capital, with two body guards, 30 special forces people and 120 Algerian troops in desert camps to protect the wells. It was a $5-6 million cost to the bottom line.


“Five years of that was about my limit. I threw in the towel and went back to London.”


Now, Sehsuvaroglu heads Halliburton’s new business venture in the Caspian region where huge, unexplored natural resources lie in wait. He has seen places where civilization as we know it does not exist. “A lot of time there is no hot water, no toilet paper, no towels or blankets,” he said. “You try to stay in motels and hotels, but we had one person murdered. It’s an adventure.”


Sehsuvaroglu’s travels with Halliburton have been as much educational as risky. “I’ve spent a lot of time in Moscow, and the misery is unimaginable,” Sehsuvaroglu said. “The rich are extremely rich. The poor are just that. They sell snakes, kittens and homemade sweaters on street corners. Sixty-year-old women are selling these things to make a ruble.” And the saddest story involves parents actually selling their children for food. “The gap between the rich and poor is incredible,” he said. “In the nearby independent states, life is much better than in Moscow. People are better fed and clothed.”


Sehsuvaroglu lives in London with his wife, Rose, and sons Douglas 15 and Chris 6. Severine, his daughter, lives and works in Los Angeles as a technical assistant for one of Halliburton’s subsidiaries.


Sehsuvaroglu arrived in Arkansas City in 1972 through the American Field Service. It is the program that allows foreign students to complete part of their high school education in the United States. He adjusted well to American culture, enjoyed living with his adopted parents, Ed and Margaret Gilliland, and graduated from Cowley in 1976. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Kansas State University. He joined Halliburton in December 1978. “I started out in Enid (Oklahoma) and drove a truck for a year,” he recalls. “Then I got transferred to Algeria and became lead engineer for the country.”


After five years there, Sehsuvaroglu was moved to Holland, then transferred to Houston for two years. From there it was on to Aberdeen in the North Sea, and a year later, Sehsuvaroglu was in London as area agent for 110 engineers. In 1993, he became country manager of Algeria, a position he held until 1998. Back in London, Sehsuvaroglu is responsible for the development of new business.

Currently, he’s overseeing four operations discovered in the Caspian region that are expected to exceed $250 million in revenues for the company during the next few years. “We believe there is $32 billion in operating expenditures and capital expenditures in the northern Caspian,” Sehsuvaroglu said. “We think there’s $20 billion available over the next 10 years to Halliburton. People take big gambles when you think there’s oil.” Halliburton uses a lot of space-age technology in the field to determine the location and quantity of oil and gas. During the last four years, Sehsuvaroglu said he’s spent more time in Washington, D.C., and New York putting deals together than he has in the field. “I need to convince Halliburton that it’s worth the investment,” he said. “I spend half my time on internal sales. Selling us to external customers is not difficult. I’ve been doing it for 20 years.”


Sehsuvaroglu said he’s certain he’ll retire with Halliburton. He’s got 21 years left, by his calculations. “I have never, ever regretted working for Halliburton,” he said. “The nice thing is that you can be what you want to be and nobody is going to hold you back.”


The Sehsuvaroglus recently purchased a house in the South of France where “the climate is fantastic. And Italian and Greek people are more friendly than northern Europeans.” As time permits, the Sehsuvaroglus travel extensively. There are few places in the world he hasn’t seen. Even though he doesn’t get to Kansas very often, Arkansas City holds a special place in his heart.


“I fondly remember Phil Buechner, Mike Watters, and Jeffery Braun,” he said. “I was always hot on chemistry.”