Progression Series: Meet David Kite

Welcome to our Progression Series, if you are keen to explore and progress within McKay Drilling then we hope this series assists you pave the path to success. Here we learn and share experiences from our employees;

Pictured: David Kite (2007)

Meet David Kite, Operations Superintendent;

With over 19 years in the drilling industry, David who is fondly known as ‘Kitey’ found himself all those years ago with $400 to his name after returning from a 3 year backpacking hiatus after University. Fortunately or unfortunately his plane landed in Perth instead of Sydney due to the Rugby World Cup. A jobless Kitey was in the right State to find a job real quick to top up that bank account and Western Australia is where his journey into the drilling industry began.

In 2004, Kitey started with Grimwood Davies out of Kalgoorlie, WA as an Offsider working on RAB rigs. Kitey started on a 4:2 roster travelling to Tanami in the Northern Territory, he had a plan to make some cash to get back over east.

After 6 months Kitey moved onto RC rigs with a 3:1 roster, working in exploration jobs all over Australia which was a lot of fun with time spent between caravan’s and swags. He would get paid $80 a day plus bonus which after being a broke backpacker he thought it was great. Especially the ‘free’ food and accommodation. For 2 years, he worked hard and absorbed the knowledge from those around him which provided an opportunity to begin relief drilling. Within 6 months he got lucky when his Driller quit and he was handed the rig. The rig was GD8 (KWL) and it remained his rig the whole time he was drilling. At the time the industry was booming and the rig was contracted to BHP on a 2:1 roster.

One day a Geologist came out to the drill pad, not an uncommon daily occurrence on a rig but this particular Geo who was also a German backpacker would later become Kitey’s wife. It was a 40+ degree day and Kitey was in charge of rig inductions. This was her first rig induction on an RC rig and Kitey could not help but think that she wasn’t going to last long working in the conditions.

Fast forward to 2010, Grimwood Davies was part of Boart Longyear. Kitey and his wife were expecting their first child and he was offered a Supervisor role. At the time, seeking a bit more stability he decided to accept the challenge which saw him supervising for up to 9 years everywhere around Australia – the Goldfields, Pilbara, Koolan Island to Groote Island and also spending time on Diamond and Water well rigs which he enjoyed learning a bit about.

An opportunity came knocking in 2019 to join McKay Drilling as a Superintendent. By then there were 4 kids at home so it was a good opportunity for him to be home a bit more to help out.

The job has provided plenty of new challenges for him and the transition from field to residential was difficult at first, mainly due to meeting his wife FIFO and they never known life where they lived full time together. He admits he ‘stuffed up all her routine in the first year’ which many fellow FIFO workers can relate to when they return home on RnR to their families. His wife being very familiar with working FIFO helped make it work well for all the years he did work away.

Approaching his 5 Years of Service with McKay’s in April 2024, Kitey thoroughly enjoys the challenges that come with the job and having good people to work with has helped. Kitey has experienced McKay’s having a good culture and more personal touch than the larger companies even despite McKay’s size now.

He enjoys seeing people develop in their career like him. The industry has moved forward a great deal in the last 20 years in terms of safety and culture, he has always been thankful for the job as it has provided him with a lot over the years.

From the unemployed backpacker to Superintendent, it’s definitely worth giving it a go to see where it takes you.  

1 Comment

  1. LisaDecember 20, 2023

    Love this!!…really enjoyed reading Kiteys story. What an adventure!


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