In Memory

Walter Benjamin Reinhold - Class Of 1943

Walter Benjamin Reinhold

Walter Benjamin Reinhold, 85, passed away August 2, 2010.  Beni, as he was known by his many friends around the world, was born of Swiss and German immigrants on December 29, 1924 in Los Angeles.

After graduation from high school, Beni went to serve in World War II in the Army Air Corps.  He attended USC and, after the war, received a degree from Stanford and joined his father's company, Abegg and Rehinhold, full time.  The privately owned company was founded by his father and his father's partner, Walter Abegg, in 1908.  It manufactured a few oil well drilling tools that were considered the best in the world.  Beni started out in the machine shop as a helper, and eventually rose to the position of worldwide sales manager.  In the fall of 1969, Beni took over the company from his father, bought out the Abeggs, and changed the company name to Varco.

In 1975 Beni took Varco public on the NASDAQ with the First Boston Corp.  Varco grew to over 1,000 employees by the end of the decade and in 1981 became a member of the NYSE.  By 1980, Varco had expanded from California and Texas to Louisiana, Singapore, Scotland, England, and Germany.  Beni continued to lead Varco into new areas during the 1980s.  Always an optimist, he encouraged his engineers to introduce a revolutionary new drilling method called a Top Drive Drilling System.  By the end of the 80s, almost all offshore drilling rigs in the world had been converted to Top Drive Drilling Rigs and Varco prospered.  Beni had built his father's company from less than 100 employees to over 3,000 employees, all whom will be forever grateful for the opportunity to work in a company built around his dream of "a people culture."

Upon his retirement, because of his lifelong love of surfing, Beni moved to the North Shore of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands.  There he built his home overlooking Sunset Beach and where his ashes were scattered.

Oil and Gas Financial Journal, October 1, 2010