New beginnings as DC celebrates 75th anniversary

By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher

In 2005, IADC took a chance on an unknown, unproven young woman when they hired me as Associate Editor for this magazine. To be honest, I was surprised they did; I had no prior oil and gas knowledge and zero industry connections.

But Editor and Publisher Mike Killalea brought me on board and took me under his wings. I was welcomed to the magazine, welcomed to the association, welcomed to the industry.

I was grateful for the opportunity, but I have to admit that learning about a business as specialized and complex as oil and gas drilling wasn’t easy at the beginning. There’s a lot of science, for someone who nearly failed physics in high school, and there are a lot of numbers, for someone who muddled her way through calculus class. There is also an abundance of jargon and acronyms (“nipple up the BOP”?) that sound like they were purposely designed to keep outsiders out.

Despite the initial challenges, learning to love this industry wasn’t hard. When you get the chance to stand on the floor of a drilling rig, watching hundreds of thousands of pounds of iron turning and spinning and shaking, and you hear the loud hum of machinery and feel their vibrations – it’s easy to be awed by the work this industry does.

It also doesn’t take long to feel the passion that people have for the business. Every time I interview someone for this magazine – whether about a new rig, a new piece of equipment or a new training program to keep our workers safe – I could feel the intense pride that people take in their work. You can’t help but be drawn to an industry where people have this much love for the work they do.

Learning to tell our stories

On the other hand, writing for a magazine in this industry isn’t always easy. It’s full of can-do people – who want to “do” but not necessarily “tell.”

Yet, we have to learn to better tell our story. We have great stories that are worth telling – about our people, our technologies, our contributions to society. At Drilling Contractor and IADC, we will continue to help our members and the industry tell these stories.

I believe that becoming more open to, and better at, telling our stories will be critical to this industry’s advocacy efforts as we engage with both regulators and the general public. It will also go a long way toward helping us attract a new generation of talent.

Supporting IADC committees

The industry has changed greatly even during the 14 years since I joined. In today’s ultra-competitive market, no longer can drilling companies get by without leveraging the power of automation and data analytics to improve their performance.

Besides serving as Editor and Publisher of Drilling Contractor magazine, another new role I’m taking on at IADC is to support our Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee and Drilling Engineers Committee (DEC). The work of these committees is vital to the continued growth and advancement of the drilling industry.

In the past, ART has put out important documents, such as alarm management guidelines and qualification testing recommendations for control valves. Soon, we’ll begin rolling out the IADC DDR Plus, which replaces the Daily Drilling Report, or tour sheet, that has been used for decades. The DDR Plus aligns with and will facilitate the industry’s move to digitize and automate the well construction process.

And the DEC, whose mission is to advance drilling technologies, will hold several Technology Forums this year on topics such as MPD, drilling automation and the quality and use of drilling data. Check the IADC website for a schedule of events this year.

New beginnings

This year, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of this magazine, I am honored to take on the role of Editor and Publisher. There are many people to thank, but most importantly, I want to thank Mike Killalea for taking a chance on me 14 years ago and for the trust he’s shown in placing this respected publication into my care.

I look forward to new challenges, new beginnings! DC

About the author

Linda Hsieh is a graduate of the journalism program at the University of Texas at Austin, where she also completed the Business Foundations program at the U.T. McCombs School of Business and minored in Asian Studies. She has been writing for Drilling Contractor since 2005.


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