February 17, 2021
Arguably, one of the most coveted awards to be presented annually by the British Drilling Association’s (BDA) is its Lifetime Achievement Award, and this year, unable to split the recognition the honour was bestowed on Stan Dronsfield of Boode UK and Alan Pardoe of BAM Ritchies.
Stan left the Royal Navy in 1967, having served 3 years on surface ships and 7 years in Submarines in an engineering capacity. All good experience for a career in drilling, from 1967 to the mid 70’s he worked for (Hydraulic Drilling Equipment Ltd) as an engineer involved in building, servicing, repair and commissioning Hydreq Gryphon drilling rigs. He commissioned rigs, other than in the UK, in Bangladesh, Australia, Finland, Nigeria, Jersey, Italy, Yugoslavia and France to name but a few. After roles with Drilling & Geoservices/Demco, Drillsure Ltd, and Boode BV, he joined Houston Well Screens, a US company based in Dronfield and Rotherham, before returning to Boode BV, to set up and establish Boode UK, with whom Stan has been involved with to date.
From being held at gunpoint by the Nigerian Army on arrival at Kano airport, being accused of being a spy, to he and his drillers taking part in a midnight snatch back in France of a Hydreq drilling rig, Stan has had an exciting career! However, hard work and intense training, he adds was more than compensated by great camaraderie and job satisfaction. He notes that the continued support, guidance, and input by the BDA, to the drilling industry, is crucial in maintaining safe drilling practices, NVQ training and improving on-site Health and Safety measures – all areas he has championed throughout his career.
Alan left Honeywell to join Wimpy Drilling in 1992, as a second man on cable percussion rig and worked there for 6 years, during which he progressed to lead driller in 1998. In 2000 he left Wimpy Drilling to join BAM Ritchies as a lead driller on a cable percussion rig, terrier rig and hand rig, he then moved on to become a foreman, which is his current position. Alan has worked on all manner of big projects, including Grangemouth / Borders Rail / HS2 and East Kilbride GISI, and is presently on the M56/M6 project Viking in Shetland.
During Alan’s career he has seen many changes, especially improvements in health and safety with cable percussion and rotary techniques and generally more safer working conditions, along with greater training provided for younger employees and engineers. He would like to see less paperwork involved and more face-to-face talking to people, rather than an email communication, but echoing Stan’s comments, he is full of praise for the new people he meets, as well as the interesting places he has visited through work and the opportunity to learn something new every day.
For those entering the industry he advises a good work attitude and willingness to learn and highlights the support available from everyone throughout their career from people with different experiences and level of expertise.
Whilst Stan has now retired, Alan looks to continue working in his present roles for many years, and both look forward to seeing the drilling sector continue to grow in reputation and quality, with the support of the BDA. The importance of health, safety, training underline each’s experience of the sector, but it is their praise for the support and help of those colleagues they have and continue to work with, that is the real takeaway message and a good ‘lifetime’ message for anyone beginning their career, as well as those contemplating a career in the drilling sector. Well done both on receiving this award.