Ruth C. Ibañez has been fascinated with science and how technology functions from an early age. As a child, she was always excited to get new toys so she could take them apart and figure out how they worked. While her mother saw this as her being destructive, to her, it was a learning process, one that greatly benefited her and led to her pursuing coursework in biology at the Adventist University of the Philippines, formerly Philippine Union College, in 1973. She is also an alumna of the university’s award-winning Ambassadors Chorale Arts Society and has garnered expertise writing and composing music. After graduating with an associate degree, Ms. Ibañez completed coursework in hotel administration at the Philippine Institute of Hotel Administration.
Ms. Ibañez began her career in the Middle East as the public relations director for both the Abu Dhabi InterContinental Hotel and the Sheraton Hotels & Resorts from 1980 to 1984, serving as one of the first women executives in the hospitality industry. During this period, she also spent time as the guest relations officer for the Hyatt Regency in Dubai. In 1984, Ms. Ibañez became the president and chief executive officer of TeleMed International HO, Inc., where she was involved in early coding work for what would eventually become the electronic medical record. She pioneered an early version of the electronic medical record in 1994 and ultimately left TeleMed International in 2005.
Subsequently, Ms. Ibañez brought her love of music to her role as the concert producer and coordinator for the Master Class Concert Series at the Manhattan Seventh-Day Adventist Church from 2005 to 2010. In 2010, she made yet another change in field, joining the Black Gold Technologies Corporation, an oil and gas business management company, as the president and chief executive officer. While she was new to the oil and gas industry at the time, her early interest in the sciences, particularly in fluid dynamics, helped her to make a noticeable impact on the field. Ms. Ibañez received a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the SmartBOP in 2015.
The SmartBOP is a fully automated blow-out preventer and oil spill recovery management system. Ms. Ibañez’s work built on and refined an earlier concept for a blow-out preventer that was first patented in 1926. The SmartBOP is designed to automatically shut off the flow of an oil well to prevent spills and explosions, which is crucial when it comes to the safety of both the environment and the people who work aboard the rigs. Preventing such spills and accidents also goes a long way to keeping operating costs down, which helps foster cost efficiencies within the industry while not cutting corners or prioritizing cost over quality performance.
Ms. Ibañez attributes much of her success to the care that she brings to everything she does. In particular, she notes that caring is vital to invention and creativity, because one cannot create a solution to a problem one does not care about. To that end, she maintains professional affiliation with the Society of Petroleum Engineers in an effort to remain up to date with new developments in her field. As Ms. Ibañez looks toward the future, her goal is to see the SmartBOP implemented in oil and gas rigs worldwide as part of ongoing work to safeguard marine life from the harm caused by oil spills.
Active in her community as well, Ms. Ibañez has been involved with a number of health and wellness advocacy programs in New York City and Ocean City, New Jersey. These involve promoting healthy diets and diet changes to improve wellbeing. In her home country of the Philippines, she was notably involved with the Imelda Marcos Girl Scout Program, where she was appointed the ambassador of goodwill to Southeast Asia. She is also a member of the Asia Society and has received several awards for public speaking. Ms. Ibañez lives her life by the motto, “I challenge visionary leadership to step into the living edge of change and lead.”