Earned My Wrenches in the Bakken

MHUB - February 13, 2017
Earned My Wrenches in the Bakken;; grey picture of drill in shale.
I never wanted to be a diesel mechanic. I always wanted to be a pilot or the quarterback...the one who got to call the shots. Little did I know how many shots I could actually call as a diesel mechanic.

When first getting started in the repair industry, it can be very daunting to stand up for oneself. A lot like in the locker room, our self-esteem issues might get the best of us. Are we really all that we think we are? Can we actually make the cut?

I’ll let you in on a little secret, no one knows everything.

No one.

This is a lesson I learned all too well in the oilfields of North Dakota.

I left for the oilfield in a 1990 F-150, soon upgraded to a 96 F-250 and then eventually after the oilfield crashed, I drove my 1999 E-450 Ambulance back home to Minnesota.

That’s right! In three short years, I was able to upgrade service trucks twice and also load ‘em down with tools.

Very few people knew I was in my early twenties and to be honest, I don’t think many people cared. I had the tools, I had a degree and I had the time to fix trucks and keep them on the road. As I learned very quickly, my skill set was worth a pretty penny.

Fifteen hundred of them to be exact...per hour. In other words, often times I was making in excess of $150/hour.

Do I recommend a brand new diesel tech to make a swing for the fences and give himself a go in the oilfield? Absolutely. Why? Because in the “real world,” (as I like to call it) what could be considered a liability, in the oilfield is considered a challenge!

A diesel mechanic in the oilfield is usually asked but mostly expected to do things he has never done before. The truck shop down the way, however, wants to know that one has successfully performed any given task a hundred times. (Which is never the case, even for those who will try to convince you it is.)

We never had the time or the resources to do everything “by the book.” It was a fast paced world that required quick thoughts and faster action.

I like to think that my 3 short years in the oilfield gave me close to 10 years of real world experience. Not only because of the diversity of tasks that I have taken on but also the nature of which they were completed.

If you are a new diesel mechanic, want to become a diesel mechanic or even if you have been around for years, I challenge you to take a hack at the Bakken Oilfield in North Dakota. My bet is, you can’t swing it. But my gut says you will grow and that’s the name of the game, growing, learning and expanding.

Author: Author: Sean Klongerbo, "The Diesel Doctor"
diesel mechanic