Starting this month, I have graduated from guest columnist to staff columnist. The goal continues to be relaying things I have learned during my time in the drilling industry. If you have read my previous columns, some relate to drill rods and others to business management. It believe that we can all learn from each other.

Putting out a magazine like National Driller every month is quite the task. I do not envy Jeremy’s job here. It is a tough mission to keep it interesting and relevant. Let me tell you a quick story to illustrate.

I used to hunt deer here in Pennsylvania. At first, it was with friends, and hunting deer included a couple of days at hunting camp. I was not a student of the hunt; I just hunted.

I think it was at the dentist that I first picked up a hunting magazine. I read an article about his new way to hunt deer. No posting by a tree or in a stand. No moving stealthily through the brush. This guy hunted deer by running through the woods. When deer saw him, they were intrigued and did not run away.

First, if I hunted like this, it would be mighty short. After about 5 minutes, I would be tired of running. Secondly, I do not think running with a loaded weapon falls under “best practice.” Reading that article, I thought to myself, this is what happens when you need to fill a magazine every month, year after year.

I do not want my columns to be “running after deer with a loaded gun” columns. I want them to be real. I want to inspire thought. I want to help people through relaying my experiences.

I am not an expert on drilling, business or the engineering aspects of drill pipe. What makes a person an expert? Someone once told me what separates an expert from a novice is the amount of time it takes to solve the problem. An expert mechanic can diagnose a problem and fix it in a much shorter time than a novice.

For example, I took my lawn tractor to the dealer for a tune-up because it was running poorly. When I picked it up, it cost me over $600. Why? Because it took their mechanic a long time to find the problem. A mouse had built a nest in my engine. First of all, people keep mowers in garages, sheds and barns. Mice live in those places. This has to happen with some type of frequency. Perhaps a more experienced mechanic would have known to check, diagnosing the issue more quickly. 

Just as this story about a mouse in my mower might pop into your mind the next time your mower starts to stutter or cough, I hope my columns give you some ideas in case you experience problems with drill pipe (or other issues facing those in the industry).

So why did I name by column “Pipeline”? It relates to the writing I do on drill pipe. That is my “line” — as in that 1950-1967 TV show “What’s My Line” with Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf and others. Drill pipe has been part of my livelihood nearly my entire working years.

A pipeline also carries product. It carries groundwater from the well to the home. It carries crude to the refineries that then use pipelines to ship the finished product. It carries natural gas from production fields to your home. It carries our waste from our homes to our septic system or sewage treatment plants. 

The word “pipeline” also refers to a channel for information. Many people turn to the internet as their pipeline, some the television and/or radio, and some newspapers. A pipeline for information more concentrated for our businesses would be a trade journal like National Driller. In a way, attending a tradeshow is like visiting the confluence of many pipelines. 

Information is important. As contractors, we want the information required to have successful completions for our projects. We want the information needed for a successful business. We can choose what pipelines we use to seek out this information. 

You want your customers and potential customers to have the information they need to consider your company. How do we get them to choose your pipeline? In the past, if I wanted a well drilled, I’d check out that phonebook and turn to the yellow pages. Today, thanks (I think) to the internet, we have many options. Your website and/or Facebook page can be a powerful pipeline just waiting to be opened by those who need your services. Maybe an ad in the local paper, on a billboard or on a place mat at the local greasy spoon is the answer. Customers, just like other “consumers” of information, have plenty of pipelines to choose from.

So this is my pipeline. I send words down my pipeline in hopes you tap in and find that experience worthwhile. Thanks for choosing to read this and thanks for reading National Driller.