INFO TECH TO INDUSTRIAL TURN-AROUNDS
I was a Senior Project Manager at an E-Commerce Firm in Milan, Italy before as "life" would have it, had me relocated and dropped into The Patch (South East Saskatchewan). It felt like the Las Vegas Strip at the time, with great big neon signs saying "Now Hiring, Signing Bonuses, Endless Money!!".
I had never seen anything like it. Nothing but overtime, nothing but money! I quickly got all my safety tickets within 2 weeks and chose CEDA Specialty Services as my first introduction into Energy Maintenance. Armed with a regular class 5 drivers license and zero knowledge of Oil, I was off!
I instantly liked the camaraderie with my crews and the hard nature of the work. It felt good. After a year of getting to know the ropes' I needed more. My boss told me to learn the basics of all the trucks and get my license (3A) as quick as possible. I did exactly that and I moved out of labour, and into support trucks. Vac and Water truck guy.
Still I needed more. More money, more responsibility.
I rolled up my sleeves and took on more rolls. Challenged and got my 1A, Chaired the OH&S committee, Beta tested new CEDA billing software, started shadowing Operators and started to volunteer for out of town jobs....
Things were slowing improving for me. All the while there was one Supervisor that nobody wanted to work for. He was a salty old dog, having spent 1000 years in the Patch already. Old Al Bradley. There was nothing this guy could not solve in the field. Absolutely fearless and 100% competent, but not a sensitive man. My boss said one day "if you really want to move up, learn from Old Al". So I became Al's Pressure Unit Operator. I went everywhere with Al and his 6 Unit Convoy. Hot Oiler Pressure Unit, Support manifold and Iron trailer, Water truck, Vac Trucks and Balker Unit.
The knowledge poured in, "sink or swim style". Old Al would sit on a bench in the middle of the site and "call the shots" over the headset. Temperature, volume, pressure, chemical injection - push, pull - Vac and start again fresh. Day in, day out.
Keeping in mind there are Men inside these vessels (Knock outs, Treaters, Transfer tanks, multiple manifolds, back pressures and a whole lot of surprise "dead ending" without warning. When your fluid flash rate is 80 C - you watc
Three years of working under Al everyday turned me into a whole other person. I could see a mile radius of activity at once. Blend chemicals, combat pressures and never loose my temper or focus. Basically, I became a leader of men.
Old Al ended up getting fired down at The Clean Coal Plant for swinging a "locked out" valve and I took over his entire fleet. Now I was in charge. I was responsible for the million dollar Turn Arounds at Whitecap/Cenovus, Plains Midstream etc. The pressure felt good.
Its funny how life works. I would never imagined driving a truck. Dealing with pumping Oil 2 miles underground at speed. Playing with Acids. But, now I think its routine.
After all that, life has me manufacturing safety apparel to make all that work safer and easier. Based off my experiences in those freezing 18 hours days and nights. The best way to describe it is, wrapping workers in a "force field" looking out onto the work.
It's empowering making improvements after experiencing to work from all the different levels. Work is work, hours are hours, but adding these new technologies really improve comfort in the field. I'm proud to be a part of this major change.