Production, Passion and Pride

By Luke Geiver | May 24, 2013

When was the last time a complete stranger started crying in front of you within the first five minutes of conversation? For me, it was a few weeks ago at the 21st Annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. I was standing at a booth, recorder in hand, listening to a product development team explain the merits of their technology. A polished piece of equipment was on display in the booth for interested parties to touch. The aisle behind me was crowded with passing attendees, and as the conversation progressed, the person speaking about the product began shifting his glance from me to the equipment and then back to me, again and again. Eventually, his eyes stopped on the equipment piece, he raised his hand to touch its shiny exterior, he paused, and two small tears leaked down his cheeks.

I didn’t say a word, but kept recording. After a swipe across his cheeks with his shirt sleeve, he smiled, looked up at us, and started talking again. Thankfully, for my colleague and me, he assured us that it wasn’t us. His brief bout of emotion was, instead, linked to the time, effort and personal experience he had invested in designing and implementing the product into the Bakken play. Talking about the history of the product reminded him of that. Believe it or not, that wasn’t the only conversation I had during the event in which a company owner broke down.

The takeaway from those conversations may be one of many things, but I would argue it is as simple as this: a lot goes into the Bakken. It’s not just about production; it’s about passion and pride, and because of that, development of the region will successfully continue for the long-term in all areas, from production to well site prep to housing construction.

For the June issue, we highlighted several companies that have put a lot into the play and are reaping the economic and career achievement benefits created by executing in the Bakken. Jame Todd, a principal engineer for a Bismarck-based engineering firm is a perfect example. Although Todd never shed any tears in front of me during our face-to-face talk about his efforts to streamline the crude oil pipeline construction process, he did explain the approach his team has successfully used to staff, house and more importantly, adapt to the needs of the energy industry and its time-sensitive demands. As Todd says, “With energy companies, today everything is yesterday.”

The fast pace and demand by the energy industry for services aren't only seen in the engineering sector. And the engineers in the play aren’t the only service providers adapting and thriving. Fairlight Medical Center of Williston, N.D., has found a way to manage a growing business while supplying services to a market the medical staff might never be able to keep up with. A South Dakota-based development group is doing its part to meet the housing demands as well. The team intends to build a city, complete with everything a small city might have, on the site of a prairie field. The best part is, the team has already done it elsewhere. Chances are, most of us have never built a city, but I would imagine a lot goes into it, a lot to be proud of.

Luke Geiver
The Bakken magazine