Welcome to Drill Talks, conversations that cover the origins, passions and expertise of people across the drilling industry. We talk to professionals working in and serving the geothermal, groundwater and geotechnical spaces, and bring you snapshots behind the scenes of some of the industry’s most trusted companies.

This episode features Derek McGladdery, president of Derex Drill Rigs in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. McGladdery learned drilling from his father starting in the mid-1980s and has experience in many facets of the industry: drilling, training, sales, and rig design and manufacturing. Like many in the industry, he learned to run and mod a rig early. He traveled around the world helping clients solve drilling and fluids issues on groundwater and other vital resource projects. In the process, he saved clients and other students time, money or both.

“That feeling of, ‘Oh, I’m doing something good in this world,’ I want to be able to take that and turn it into training for people. … You see it in people’s faces, the happiness when you show them a few things to save them a whole lot of work. At the end of the day, they shave a day or two off of drilling a water well. It’s life-changing for these people.”

That’s where my heart is,” he adds. “Training, and seeing the things people have been struggling with and being able to show them a better way.”

He returned to Canada flush with experience in the range of drilling methods and techniques deployed globally. Since 2018, he’s applied first-hand knowledge with the best of what he learned traveling into Derex Drilling Rigs. Derex manufactures dual-rotary drill rigs for customers in groundwater, geothermal and mining.

This episode covers:

  • Exploration drilling for mining customers
  • Training drillers around the world
  • Growing a family drilling business
  • Air drilling
  • The basics of dual-rotary drilling
  • Groundwater drilling
  • What goes into developing a drill rig