Progression Series: Meet Regan Petterson

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;

Meet Regan Petterson, Field Drilling Supervisor;

Tell us about yourself, where were you born and grew up?

Born in New Zealand but moved to Australia at the age of 5 . I lived in Perth through my childhood but now call Margaret River home.

What were you doing before working in drilling industry?

I had spent some time travelling around Australia after finishing high school before finding myself doing some TA work in Wiluna. We used to always see the drilling companies pass through town so I gave Drillcorp a call. A week later I was on my way out for my first swing in 2002. My first job with Drillcorp was on an RC rig, after realising that they all had to sit down to pee I quickly realised Diamond was the place to be. Since then drilling has taken me around the world having drilled in India, Portugal and Cyprus.

When did you start with McKay Drilling?

Like a lot of guys I came over from Boart Longyear in 2014. We all saw the commitment to technology and safety as well as having a good relationship with the new management team.

How did you get the job and tell us about how you progressed into your role now?

After Aaron dangled some big promises that I’m still waiting on ;), I came on board as a Senior Driller. Once the BHP contract came online I was promoted to Field Supervisor. Looking after the BHP contract with Ray Arnel, Andrew McGrath (Growler) and Clint Della.

What was it like working for McKay Drilling back when you started?

For me, working for McKay’s pushed me outside of my comfort zone. Having spent the majority of my career drilling on Diamond rigs . I had to adjust to looking after RC and Waterwell which had its challenges and a few strong personalities.

Who did you learn from and what valuable lessons have you learnt?

We had a great team back then, I had great support from Aaron Earl, Chad McKay and Jason Walker, operationally though, the onsite support from Ray Arnel, Growler and the Senior guys like Meataxe, Nath and Eric helped me out a heap with the RC side of things. The biggest lesson learnt though has been that there is no compromise for Safety. Unfortunately, having seen rigs shut down for long periods of time has taught me this. But at McKay’s we have the management team in place now that supports this 100%.

What do you love and hate about the job and what keeps you in the industry?

I love the innovation side of the business, seeing the progression in drilling and being part of a company that leads the way is what keeps the future looking good. Unfortunately with the demand from clients wanting Supervisor and Fitter support means crews are losing the vital skills that are critical to becoming a strong all round driller. As supervisors though we need to ensure we are focusing on this and doing what we can to help them gain that knowledge.

What changes have you seen in the company and industry?

As mentioned earlier the push to convert to a handsfree operations has been the biggest change. With the advancement to the Tribe rigs over the next few years there are some exciting times ahead.

What advice would you like to pass on to people starting a career in drilling and also for the people wanting to work towards a Senior Role?

There is no substitute for hard work. Always keep busy and always ask questions. At the end of each shift the Driller should be asking new Offsiders and Trainees what 1 thing did they learn for that shift. For Drillers wanting to progress, put time into your Offsiders. Having someone trained and ready will ensure when opportunities come up, someone is ready to fill your spot and allow you to move forward.

What would you like to see happen in the next 5 years in McKay Drilling?

I think McKay’s are tracking in the right direction innovation wise . I always look forward to seeing the new generation of Drillers come through. Seeing the guys and girls offsiding now, learn the skills and develop into Industry Leading Drillers .

Featured: Regan Petterson receiving his Supervisor of the Year award at the 30 Years of McKay Drilling Christmas Party 2020.

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