How long have you been in the industry and how did you get your start? I have pretty much grown up in this industry since my father has been in it since I was born. I remember visiting him on weekends when he was pushing and we would stay in a motel or trailer on location. The first time I started working on the rigs was when I was 15 years old. It was north of Hinton on a camp job and we were running 24s, working two weeks in and a week out. Roughnecks made $10 per hour at that time and I thought it was great that I could make enough money in the summer to get me through the school year. Many times during Christmas and Easter holidays I would be able to get on a rig to make a few more dollars. I did this throughout high school and college. I liked it a lot better than having to flip burgers throughout the year.
What prompted you to run for the CAODC Board of Directors? The first CAODC committee I was on was the Safety and Technical committee starting in 1993. Over the years I have been on multiple CAODC and industry committees. When I was Chairman of the Service Rig Executive committee I was voted onto the Board of Directors in 2007. My involvement with all the committees is driven by my passion for the industry and to really do my part to make it safe, a great place to work, and keep Canada’s oil and gas industry competitive with the rest of the world.
How have you seen the industry change since your early days? The professionalism of the people who work in the industry has increased immensely. When you look at all the things the righands are trained on now and the multiple things they have to know…it is not just how to pull pipe. There is a far deeper understanding of regulations, being better trainers, better people skills, how multiple services are able to work together while meeting the high safety standards and policies of each contractor. I am
impressed with how people have responded to the increased expectations.
Do you see any challenges in (re)hiring staff when rig activity picks up again? Whenever there is a sudden increase in activity, hiring is difficult. As I mentioned earlier we need people who can do more than turn a pipe wrench. Understanding all the safe operating procedures, being competent in your duties, all the things needed essentially before you start pulling pipe are so much higher now. That doesn’t even include the usual obstacles of finding people who are willing to be away from home, will work in any weather, are able to deal with inconsistent work and lack of routine schedules. Despite these challenges, however, we will find good people. A career in the rig industry is extremely rewarding both personally and financially. There are thousands of people in our industry who wouldn’t dream of a better career.
What is your most memorable moment from your career so far? The first time we won the CAODC award for the safest service rig company in 1994. We were at the CAODC awards banquet in Edmonton with many of our managers, rig managers, drillers, and spouses, when they announced Roll’n as the winner you would have thought we just won the Stanley Cup! The instant feeling of excitement was great but the best part is knowing you kept your guys safe. Since then we have won the award many times but that was still the best one and was the genesis of what our safety program has become.
What’s your favourite movie? We Were Soldiers. It is based on a true story and stars Mel Gibson. There is a lot of deep meaning behind the movie but it is also action packed so I would recommend it for a wide range of interests.
How do you spend your time “off hitch”? Between kids, one grandkid, traveling and golf…that takes up my spare time.