With a rather unusual start in his oil and gas career, Terry Dickin of Canada began in the human resources field where he designed and delivered training programs. “As I began offering more technical programs for oil and gas engineers, I realized there was a real need for training in this sector,” Terry says.
So, Terry went back to school to get his university degree with a specialization in petroleum engineering. Now, with over 15 years of experience working as an oil and gas professional, his passion has been to continue learning and developing his understanding of the technical field.
“I wouldn’t consider myself to be the greatest oil and gas professional in the world,” he says humbly. “It’s not about one person being a success. A good team is what makes you successful. I’ve been fortunate to spend a good part of my career with good mentors and then surround myself with a good team interested in being mentored,” Terry continues. His secret to success has been to listen to senior people, his mentors, and get good training from them.
Finding good people for the projects has been the most challenging part of the job over the years. He explains: “The work we did building projects at Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, was particularly demanding, especially when it came to the Canadian provincial and federal safety regulations. Finding good trades people was difficult, and we needed to bring them in from other parts of the world to finish the project in a timely manner.” The projects at Fort McMurray were as much of a mining job as it was an engineering accomplishment. Issues with languages and technical expertise made the project even more challenging in his opinion.
Terry believes being bold enough to make a career switch from human resources to engineering has been his biggest achievement. Today, he’s enjoying the fact that he can combine both the soft skills that he has with technical understanding. “Studying educational psychology gave me a really good background for counseling and mentoring technical people in geosciences and physics,” he says. “Young guys don’t get enough of that.”
The desire to do what you want is what helped Terry set off to find his dream job. “And then you need to gain the required skill set, which you must update constantly,” he says. “You need to find a location where you want to live – and for me, no place is better than Alberta, which is the center of the universe for oil and gas,” he laughs. “What’s better than waking up to a job you really enjoy – with a smile on your face?”