In recognizing their contributions to the drilling industry and IADC over the past year, Unit Drilling’s Chris Menefee and Noble’s Ron Lee each received IADC Exemplary Service Awards on 9 November at the 2023 IADC Annual General Meeting in Austin, Texas.
The award recognizes an individual’s outstanding contributions to the drilling industry and to IADC. Recipients have, during their careers, repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to improving the drilling industry and advancing its safety, training or technology.
Mr Menefee, an IADC Director who sits on the Onshore Advisory Panel and is a member of the association’s Executive Committee, was appointed President of Unit Drilling in November 2020. “I remember my first Annual Meeting years ago. Somebody got a service award and I thought, you know, that’d be pretty cool to get one day. So, to be standing here today receiving this award, I’m very honored and very proud,” he said in his acceptance speech at the meeting.
Mr Menefee began his career at Rowan Companies, where he spent 15 years holding various offshore and onshore operational and managerial roles. Getting his start at Rowan, as well as collaborating with Mr Lee and students from the IADC Houston Chapter – of which he served as Chairman for three years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Mississippi as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at SMU..
In his acceptance speech, Mr Menefee stressed the importance of attracting young talent into the industry. He credited the work of IADC’s Student Chapters in helping to develop the next generation of oilfield workers, which he said will be vital to maintaining the industry’s long-term viability.
“We’ve always talked about the great crew change that’s coming, but it never stops,” he said. “We’re still talking about it today. We can’t stop. We have to keep recruiting, bringing young minds into our industry. It’s probably even more important today than ever before because of the negative public perception about our industry. I love our industry. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”
Mr Lee, who serves as VP of Marketing and Contracts (Eastern Hemisphere) for Noble, has amassed over 26 years of offshore oil and gas experience that has taken him to Singapore, London, Eastern Canada and South Korea. He previously served as General Manager of Marketing and Contracts before rising to VP. Upon joining Noble in 2008 as Project Director of the Eastern Hemisphere to lead Noble’s newbuild projects, he soon took on the role of Director of Business Development in August 2011 to lead the Shell Alliance for Noble.
Mr Lee attended Texas A&M University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Civil (Structural) Engineering degree, as well as Rice University, where he’d go on to earn a Master’s degree in Business Administration. In accepting the award, he also focused on IADC’s value in creating opportunities for students to build relationships within the industry.
“I’m so proud to see how IADC has differentiated itself in bringing in students, not just to be part of some pizza club that meets once a month, but to really integrate and get to know our industry. I know that IADC has sponsored many students to travel overseas to our events, and it’s a great opportunity for us to be plugged in to universities across the world. They’re a great vehicle for IADC to focus on its mission, which is advancing drilling,” he said.