By Jason McFarland, IADC President
Eighty years ago in 1940, IADC was established to give voice to the collective interests of drilling contractors. The seeds sown by that small group of dedicated industry veterans have allowed IADC to grow into the influential association it is today. Through the massive industry changes and technological innovations of the past eight decades, IADC has remained steadfast in its support of drilling contractor interests.
IADC’s founders outlined 12 association aims, which detailed what IADC stands for and goals for the newly established association. Those aims, whose focus includes advocacy, promoting the safety of our workforce and establishing committees to solve industry issues, remain true today.
We have weathered the cyclical ups and downs that define this industry, but that market volatility has never hampered IADC’s ability to gather the industry together to develop solutions to common problems.
In fact, since 1940, this industry’s safety record has improved tremendously, and technology has allowed drilling contractors to drill faster and more efficiently than ever before. The men who founded IADC in Chicago in 1940 would hardly recognize drilling operations in 2020, the pace of change has been that profound.
In 2020, we are continuing to focus on the work that has sustained IADC for 80 years.
A focus on advocacy, accreditation, safety and training and developing new ways to communicate and engage with the next generation are just some of the projects we will be tackling this year.
In the US, with a presidential election looming, the IADC DRILLERSPAC has kicked into high gear, seeking out candidates who understand the important role energy plays in the economy and supporting those campaigns. Across the US, we are looking at federal regulation, but we are also looking to individual states, working to ensure that regulations are sensible and transparent.
Globally, we have strengthened our international development team, and I believe we have the right expertise in each region to successfully advocate for drilling contractor interests.
IADC’s accreditation programs are industry leading, but we are constantly looking at ways to expand and upgrade our safety training programs to accurately reflect the latest and greatest in industry technology. The Knowledge Retention and Education for our Workforce (KREW) program will be fully available this year. Offering a robust database of training modules, KREW allows employers to tailor training courses to each employee’s specific needs in order to improve retention.
Knowledge decay between training periods is not unique to this industry, and I am proud of our collective effort to bring this program to fruition, particularly as it has been done in a relatively short period of time. IADC’s membership has stepped up to solve an identified critical issue that affects safety performance, as it has done countless times before.
It’s this kind of work that has defined IADC and its members. As we look to the future, we have a renewed focus on the people who define our industry. IADC is looking at how we can better engage with a younger generation, encouraging their support of this industry, while educating them on the role that energy plays in their daily lives.
IADC’s student chapters and Young Professionals Committee were begun with this goal in mind. The University of North Dakota recently joined IADC’s student chapter ranks, and we look forward to welcoming other interested schools, both inside and outside the US, into the fold.
Student chapters offer a unique opportunity for IADC members to serve as mentors to those who are considering joining our industry and making a career with us, and students who have participated have reported high rates of satisfaction with their experiences.
It would be next to impossible to succinctly summarize on this one page all of the work that is happening at the association. Across our committees, at chapter meetings worldwide, at networking events and conferences, in formal and informal discussions with regulators and legislators, the work is varied and ongoing. This goal is always to advance the interests of drilling contractors.
In those same 12 association aims developed at IADC’s founding, Aim No. 12 states, “The association proposes through the cooperative efforts within the oil well drilling contracting industry … to help build a firmer foundation on which we, the drilling contracting industry, may render more effective services to those who employ us to drill their wells, to ourselves and to mankind generally.” I don’t know that I could say it any better today.
An anniversary year is an opportunity to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. IADC’s history is filled with noted accomplishments. Your steadfast support of your industry association is valued and appreciated, and I look forward to working together during IADC’s 80th year and in the years and decades to follow. DC