Spotlight: Mr. Doug Hanson - Xpress Natural Gas_

“Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” - Confucius

On March 31, during a periodic examination of the ROV, members of the MUREX team met with Mr. Doug Hanson, chief technology officer of Xpress Natural Gas (XNG). Mr. Hanson has served as a mentor for MUREX for about two years, rendering technical and emotional support for the team as he regularly attends ROV tests at the Roger Nekton Championship Pool.


Mr. Hanson graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering. “A career in engineering? I’ve always loved it,” he commented, “I liked math and the sciences for a long time, and I knew it was always my area of expertise.” After finishing college, Mr. Hanson immediately undertook a post in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot, platoon leader, and staff officer. After more than eight years of military service, Mr. Hanson transitioned to a career in natural gas engineering.

“I was looking for a job back in 2001. I wanted a career in something that I enjoyed, which was engineering,” Mr. Hanson recalled, “However, what I started engineering with was liquid natural gas, and I’ve stayed in the natural gas industry since.” Soon after Mr. Hanson took his leave from the military, he joined an engineering startup company in Monroe, Washington that specialized in liquid natural gas. Eventually the LNG industry led Mr. Hanson to CHI Engineering, before eventually going on to co-found XNG in 2011, joining a growing industry centered upon transforming the transportation of natural gas.

Xpress Natural Gas

Xpress Natural Gas is a company that supplies natural gas to locations in New England where the main pipeline is unable to reach and provide service. “Basically what our company does is bring natural gas to people that are not on the pipeline,” Mr. Hanson explained, “We provide natural gas to hospitals, institutions, and industries such as Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Plymouth State University, essentially allowing them to be more emission friendly.” Diesel, which is used by many unconnected companies, releases thousands of particles into the air when it is burned. Natural gas emits nearly 30% less carbon dioxide than air, and the introduction of gas into isolated companies promotes an environmentally friendly ambience.

In comparison to liquid natural gas, the method harnessed by the previous company Mr. Hanson had worked at, XNG utilizes compressed gas (CNG) to efficiently transport natural gas. “We transitioned to CNG when we realized it became technologically beneficial to use. The arrival of large, composite-material, high-pressure cylinders that could transport natural gas solved the inefficiency of the heavy steel tanks used to transport gas,” Mr. Hanson stated. Given the economic insensibility of the usage of these massive tanks for transportation, XNG chose CNG in 2012 as their main use of transportation for natural gas. Thus, XNG manages to provide outlying institutions a sustainable, emission-friendly solution through an economical, efficient transportation method.


“Would I have thought I would end up in the natural gas industry?” Mr. Hanson reflected, “No. I didn’t know where I was going to end up. But it made sense when I got into it, when I started to enjoy it. The best thing one can ever do is to do something that they actually enjoy.” Indeed, Mr. Hanson is correct, enjoying the career becomes a deciding factor of one’s happiness and purpose in life. Without finding enjoyment or lasting pleasure from the work of a person’s life, they ultimately become the “rat racer”, who lives in hopes of the future instead of experiencing the present. As Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar writes in his book Happier, “our usual models for happiness – the hedonist who lives only for pleasure in the moment and the rat racer who postpones gratification for the purpose of attaining some future goal – do not work for most people, because they ignore our basic need for a sense of both present and future benefit.”

Socrates, Plato’s celebrated teacher, echoes a similar sentiment, “Since all of us desire to be happy, and since we evidently become so on account of our use—that is our good use—of other things, and since knowledge is what provides this goodness of use and also good fortune, every man must, as seems plausible, prepare himself by every means for this: to be as wise as possible.” Both men argue the same thesis: happiness cannot be fulfilled with materialistic desires or temporary benefit. In the period of the modern world, an adult may derive true, or “ultimate” as Ben-Shahar describes it, happiness from their selection of a gratifying career, upon which most people spend nearly half of their entire day.

Mr. Hanson finds himself quite fortunate to have realized an enjoyable career and leaves a word of advice for high school students, “I still like it. I still have a plethora of tools in my car, even though I’m the head engineer. I’m always willing, despite my position, to blend in and lend a hand. Once you find the thing that you love, you’ll never want to let it go. If [high school students] keep pulling on threads that they pick up at school, they will eventually be able to focus upon their interests.” With this notion in mind, MUREX thanks Mr. Hanson for all of his assistance as mentor throughout the year and sets out to perform with passion and commitment.

‘If enough people recognize the true nature of happiness as the ultimate currency, we will witness society-wide abundance not only of happiness but also of goodness.” - Tal Ben-Shahar