Meet Clive! He’s our Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Drilling Systems. Starting out as a software programmer in 1990, Clive has spent over three decades with the business climbing the corporate ladder from Software Engineer to Software Manager, to Operations Manager, to his current position as COO. Having supported the core development of Drilling System’s key products and projects over the years, Clive knows the business inside out, making him an invaluable part of our team at 3t Energy Group.
Sharing an insight into the evolution of the business, recent industry developments, and what he believes sets the Group apart from other providers, here’s what he had to say.
> Having over 30 years’ experience at Drilling Systems, how has the business evolved over the years?
Advancements in technology have allowed us to evolve significantly over the years. In the early days of Drilling Systems, we wouldn’t have the tangible product to sell, we would have to have conversations with clients first, gauge interest, write a proposal, and get back to them before developing the product itself. We’ve come a long way since then.
You see, the skill is being able to embrace innovation and technology, listen to the needs of customers, and move with the times. The key is you always need to reinvent yourself and move forward – push the product forward with a good customer and you’ve got a repeat business.
In 2018 when 3t Energy Group was created, it combined the offerings from both Drilling Systems and AIS which has allowed us to work with universities, colleges, service companies, contractors and more to develop and deliver training courses to enhance workforce efficiencies across the industry.
> In light of your background in software engineering, how do you think the industry is impacted by recent developments, e.g. technological advancements?
I think the oil and gas industry is always looking for efficiencies within its processes and procedures and technology typically drives innovation, efficiency, and performance. Over the years the industry has been focused on what’s next, continuously looking at ways to improve safety such as removing personnel from the rig floor and other hazardous situations.
As equipment providers, the needs of the industry have allowed us to factor in the current challenges and requirements into our simulation technology, allowing personnel to train in realistic virtual environments without the added health and safety risks.
Each year, new generations of simulations are being developed and pushing the boundaries is what is ingrained in every engineer. Technological advancements have impacted the industry massively, for example, before the pandemic we provided face-to-face learning, but when COVID hit our drive to be as efficient as possible combined with the varied skillset of the team meant we were able to quickly switch to a cloud-based well control system, iDrillSIM.
Embracing the new opportunity to enhance our products and extend into new areas allowed us to take advantage of the blended learning approach providing both cloud and face-to-face solutions.
> Having been heavily involved in product development for Drilling Systems in your career, what do you think sets the company apart from providers?
It’s all about the different divisions available in the company; Drilling Systems, AIS Survivex, and 3t Transform which each have different offerings that are interlinked with one another.
AIS Survivex delivers training, 3t Transform offers digital learning technologies, and Drilling Systems provides simulator technology. Although they have different offerings, Drilling Systems’ simulator range ties in well with the 3t Transform technology range which is then used by AIS Survivex to help deliver training courses.
We can continuously deliver training through our divisions and material that allows customers to dip in and out at their own convenience whilst maintaining that knowledge and improving competency as they are learning at their own pace, I think that’s what sets us apart.
Excitingly, we’ve also just recently acquired a new training business, UCT, to join the Group too. This business is a leader in an adjacent sector of ours, utilities and construction, and I’m excited to see this exciting new training arm of the business grow.
> How do you hope to see the business develop in the next 3-5 years?
Our main mission to grow and develop in the foreseeable future is through new acquisitions and developing new products and services as well as re-working and improving the current offerings available.
On any journey of growth, it’s inevitable to encounter problems along the way but it’s important that you know how to deal with them, that’s always the challenge in any business. We’ve had some challenging hurdles over the years that made us take a step back and look at where we want to set our standards, what our objectives are and how we’re going to aim for them, and I think that’s an important practice.
> What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
As an engineer, there’s really only one piece of advice that stands out above all and that’s to never give up. Problems are a part of growth and it’s our job to find solutions to them. It all comes down to how you deal with situations, if there’s a wall you can’t smash through then you need to find a new way whether that be up the wall, around the wall, or under it – there’s always a way, and that’s the key.