Monthly eNewsletter from the IADC

Jacob Bruster, Chairman of IADC Permian Basin, Shares Perspective on Teaching Rig Crews

In the September/October issue of Drilling Contractor, Jacob Bruster of Unit Drilling shares his experience and perspective on teaching in the oil and gas industry. His experience roughnecking during college provided him with mental and physical stamina to get through other challenging times in his personal and professional life.

“It doesn’t matter what it is I’m doing. If I feel like I’m getting tired, I think about how I tripped pipe for 12 hours in the middle of a thunderstorm, and whatever I’m doing is nothing compared to that.”

After college, Bruster left the industry to pursue his dream of being a teacher. He worked at an inner-city school in Oklahoma City for two years before returning to the oil and gas industry. He discovered a position at Unit Drilling that would allow him to combine his love for teaching with his rig experience. In his new role, he developed in-house training courses on a variety of topics ranging from equipment training to leadership and team development training. He quickly discovered that teaching adults — especially rigs crews — was very different from teaching kids. In a school classroom setting, the teacher has all year to build trust and rapport with the students. In regards to professional training, Bruster explains,

“You’ve got about 15 minutes in the class to show them you know what you’re talking about. There’s a finite period of time to get these guys to trust you and listen to you.”

Bruster discovered that helping others to have “aha!” moments in class is equally as rewarding in a professional setting with adults as it is in a classroom setting with children. He continues to teach and give back in other ways as well, one of which is through serving as Chairman of IADC’s Permian Basin Chapter. His recent focus as Chairman has been to increase Chapter awareness and involvement. The Chapter recently sponsored a golf tournament that raised approximately $25,000 for student scholarships. He also helps teachers in Oklahoma to learn about the oil and gas industry through volunteering on the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.

“Just in one teacher tour, we gained industry supporters because they got to meet our people and see how we protect our people and the environment. I think that’s really the biggest thing we can do.”